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.
She urged Nairobi residents to familiarize themselves with the new regulations to avoid being caught.
The Bill’s sponsor, Riruta MCA James Kiriba, said the new laws replace the Nairobi City Council by-laws overtaken by events following devolution.
“The objective is to control public nuisances and empower the county to take all lawful necessary and reasonable measures to abate and prevent nuisances,” the Act reads.
A thin line however lies on how the offenders will be identified.
On August 19th 2021, over 100 commercial sex workers were arrested during a crackdown in Nairobi town.
The deadly operation was conducted by police officers attached to Central police station and those from the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).
The crackdown was launched following continuous concerns raised by traders who accused the Commercial Sex Workers of being a nuisance within the city.
The traders said that the workers have been operating even during the day outside their shops hence affecting business.
The traders had also threatened to quit paying taxes if the matter would not be dealt with.
“The traders filed several complaints against the group particularly sex workers who have been operating on broad daylight,” Augustine Nthumbi the Nairobi Police boss said.
It is also alleged that the workers have been openly enticing men who walk on the streets.
So harsh are the workers that they pull men into dark corridors to negotiate for the services.
Most likely the workers have been operating as hawkers due to the Coronavirus pandemic which also saw the introduction of curfew hours which start from 10 pm and end at 4 am.
In their complaints, the traders accused the sex workers of using foul language near their shops which made most of the customers very mad.
Some of the most affected areas include; Kirinyaga road, River road, Duruma road and areas near Odeon cinema.
William Kangogo who is the NMS officer leading the operation said that a local nursery school within the city wrote a complaint saying that the workers were hanging outside the institution.
“The operation will last for exactly one month and we shall ensure that we deal with the twilight girls and muggers from the city,” he said.
However Bar Hostess Empowerment and Support Programme (BHESP) was able to pay cash bail for the sex workers who were arrested and guarantee their release. Through the organization’s paralegal team led by Mary Mugure, BHESP urged the county government to reconsider the new regulations saying it is prone to abuse by the law enforcers.
“The sex workers are trying to earn a living in this harsh economic times, they have very hours to do so since curfew starts at 10pm and bars close at 7pm.