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Sex workers under their umbrella body Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) are raising concerns over safety of their work after reports emerged of missing condoms donated by the Global Fund to Kenya, that were under the custody of Kenya Medical Supplies Authority (KEMSA).   

Some over 1000 000 condoms, 908 000 mosquito nets and tuberculosis drugs worth Sh10 million ($87 000) are reported missing from a warehouse operated by Kemsa.

Tuesday, 01 March 2022 12:31

JUICY TALK WITH BETTY

Every Tuesday at BHESP Kimathi is Juice Tuesday where sex workers come together at a safe space and share their work experiences while receiving free condoms, contraceptives, ARVs, Prep pills and most important free advice from Betty who hosts them. They do this while enjoying a glass of free juice. Without revealing her identity, Betty shares a story of a young sex worker who has just been introduced to BHESP by one of her colleagues. We will call her lady X

Wednesday, 19 January 2022 11:41

MIXED REACTIONS FOR SEX WORKERS AS 2022 SETS IN

BY BHESP TEAM. 12TH JANUARY 2022……The onset of the global coronavirus pandemic in 2019 disrupted economies across the world disproportionately, threatening the livelihoods of people working in the informal sector with low-wage jobs. These include sex workers, who are further marginalized due to the criminalization of sex work. Reports from diverse regions suggest sex workers continue to work despite restrictions to survive but struggle to find clients and experience increased vulnerability to stigma, violence, and police harassment.

It’s been two years since the pandemic struck and sex workers are the section of the population left with no money to sustain themselves and their family members. Globally, sex workers have lost their work due to lockdowns and curfew and have limited job opportunities to engage in other formal occupations.

But the year 2020 looks promising, since October 20th, 2021, Kenya has eased tremendously some of the restrictions that had been put in place to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Bars, restaurants, and entertainment joints are now fully in operation thus providing sex workers with hotspots for getting their clients. The 10 pm to 4 am curfew has also been withdrawn.

Annett Njeri (not her real name) is a sex worker who lives in the Kasarani area of Nairobi but operates mainly in Westlands, several kilometers from where she resides. For her the lifting of the curfew was long overdue. “imagine I am in Westlands and I get a client at 9 pm, I have to think about the client and the same time think about how I will get to Kasarani before 10 pm, it was crazy” explains Annett. I hope this year will bring more tidings because we are now operating without restrictions.

DECEMBER 7TH 2021. BY BHESP TEAM.

BHESP, a sex worker-led organization has been at the forefront of advocating for the rights of sex workers since 1998. The organization working with other partners has witnessed different trends and development as well as challenges as it works to supports key population that are at the highest risk of contracting and spreading HIV.

According to the 2009 Modes of Transmission Study done by the National AIDS Council, UNAIDS and the World Bank, 14% of new HIV infections in Kenya occur among female sex workers and their clients. Data from BHESP shows an estimated HIV prevalence of 30% among female sex workers and their partners.

Daisy Kwala is a Care Manager with BHESP and she admits that it hasn’t been smooth sailing when it comes to providing care for HIV positive sex workers. “We currently have a cohort of 18,802 out of which 2151 are living with HIV, some of the major challenges around sex workers living with HIV are adherence to ART, most of them don't keep appointment mostly influenced by alcohol and substance abuse, some don’t have shelter and operate from the hotspots so having them keep the ART at the hotspots is challenging” said Ms Kwala.

Tuesday, 07 September 2021 12:32

WHAT NEW RULES MEAN TO SEX WORKERS IN NAIROBI

 

 

BY BHESP TEAM, 1ST SEPTEMBER 2021....

Nairobi Deputy Governor Ann Kananu recently signed into law the Nairobi City County Public Nuisance Bill 2020 passed by the county assembly.

The raft of regulations has already taken effect.

Prostitution is not criminalized under national law, however, municipal by-laws prohibit it.

It therefore means should County askaris arrest someone for engaging in "prostitution", the offender will be arrested and charged in court and if found guilty, will be jailed for 6 months or fined Ksh 10000.

BY BHESP TEAM, 27TH JULY 2021 – (……. Below is an excerpt is taken from an interview with a sex worker who operates in an upmarket brothel in Nairobi. She tries to demystify some myths that are associated with sex work, not only in Kenya but almost everywhere globally……...)

I've been working in a Nairobi brothel for almost a year and a half now. In this time, I've learned a lot about sexuality, psychology, and relationships. My job is a mix of customer service and fantasy fulfillment, and I love it. It suits my needs and allows me financial stability I never had access to before. However, what I've noticed since starting this career is that there is a lot that the general public doesn't seem to get about sex work. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions.

Picture of Monica (not her real name) showing the eye injury while admitted at the Mama Lucy Hospital

JULY 13TH 2021. BY BHESP TEAM. 38-Year-Old-Monica (not her real name) started her day normally with hope that it would be a productive day having not received any money the previous day. And so it showed all the signs as one of her regular clients called to check on her availability.

Monica is sex worker based in Kayole in Nairobi. Depending on her clients’ preference, she either invites them to her single roomed house or goes to the clients preferred location which could be a lodging or in some rare cases the clients house.

Sunday 27th June 2021, a client named Nahashon Adeya calls Monica and asks for a convenient time to show up, they strike a deal and Samuel makes his way to Monica’s house.

On arrival, Nahashon makes a different demand and now wants to go out with Monica to a different location. Monica is now confused and refuses to comply with the surprise turn of event because she is also expecting other clients after finishing with Nahashon. He walks out disappointed and Monica thinks Nahashon is gone for the day and hopes the other clients she is expecting will not disappoint her.

Mercy Akinyi, a 27-year-old mother-of-three is a bartender in a Kondele bar on the outskirts of Kisumu town at the same time a sex worker. Her bartending job starts in the afternoon, leaving the whole morning to engage in her sex work. Most of her clients are those that she serves alcohol and seduce her during their drinking hours - she directs them to her one-bedroomed house a few meters from the bar to show up when she is not working.

On a good morning, she makes approximately Ksh 3,000 if she is lucky to get three clients before going to her regular job. Her salary at the bar is a paltry Ksh 10,000. She says she has been on this same routine since she was 16 years of age.

Thursday, 03 June 2021 07:50

INTERNATIONAL SEX WORKERS’ DAY 2021

SEX WORKERS REAL STRUGGLE IN THE MIDDLE OF A PANDEMIC

BY BHESP TEAM – 2nd JUNE 2021…….

International Sex Workers' Day takes place annually on June 2nd. The day is celebratory, which remembers the discrimination of sex workers and their often exploitative living and working conditions. The starting point of the International Sex Workers’ Day as a memorial was June 2nd, 1975 in which more than 100 sex workers occupied the Church Saint-Nizier in Lyon in order to get attention to their situation.

 In many places in Africa, sex for money is readily available, cheap, risky, and often illegal. For many sex workers, work is often dangerous.

The Kenyan coastal strip is normally a beehive of tourism activities. Local and international holidaymakers find their way to Mombasa, Malindi plus other towns in the area that shores the Indian ocean, popular for sandy beaches. Bars and nightclubs line up here; many European and American tourists stroll through the coastal metropolis in regular times. Sex workers also earn their money here.

One of them is Hawa (name changed). Like many other young women, she has been working as a sex worker for several years. "If I don't engage in sex work, I will have no money to pay my bills, buy clothes and lead a good life," Hawa told BHESP.

BY BHESP TEAM. 21ST MAY 21, 2021


“I want to talk about female candidates who sat for the examinations while in hospitals either after giving birth or while expecting. As I celebrate you I also want to castigate our today parents in the most severe terms possible………”
These were the words of Professor George Magoha, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for education when he presented the results of the 2020 form four examinations results on May 10th, 2021.
The Professor’s comments diminished what was otherwise a positive statement acknowledging the right to education for all children. His words included a later comment implying that girls of his or earlier generation were “better behaved” due to better parenting that prevented teenage pregnancies, castigating pregnant girls as ‘moral failures’.
This perception is common in Kenya, often shared publicly not knowing that it contributes to shaming, stigmatization, and isolation of adolescent girls who have early pregnancies. Such an attitude undermines girls’ rights to education.

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        Email: info@ bhesp.org

Mirema Stone Groove

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