, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 – A new report shows that prostitution is rampant in Nairobi, but calls for better handling of commercial sex workers by the City Council.
The report indicates that commercial sex work, although illegal, is a rampant daily occurrence in Nairobi.
“Approximately 7,000 sex workers operate in Nairobi per night with each having an average of 3-4 clients, which translates to between 21,000 and 28,000 sexual activities a night,” it reads.
The audit by a taskforce set up by the mayor, further revealed that some entrepreneurs were circumventing the law by using licensed massage parlours as brothels.
“Some of the registered licensed massage parlours are actually operating as sex dens and brothels with both owners and patrons aware of the same hence increasing the popularity of sex work in Kenya,” the report found.
The report proposed that police and council askaris need to make arrests of suspected female sex workers in the company of female officers.
Mayor George Aladwa stressed that the city fathers had not commissioned the probe as a way of tolerating prostitution in Nairobi.
“There is nothing that we have legalised. Things remain as they are and the law must be followed. We have given the City Council askaris power to perform their duties in the Central Business District in Nairobi,” he said.
He also directed the officers to heed to the taskforce’s recommendation which included using humane methods to conduct arrests.
“The condom should not be used as an indicator that someone under arrest is a sex worker. Condom is a prerequisite for safety in case of carjacking and rape cases prevalent these days,” the report cautioned.
The mayor said the report would be discussed by the council.
“We will have a full council meeting today (Thursday) so that we can scrutinise the contents of the report and even pass it as a resolution,” he explained.
The report in the meantime elicited sharp reaction from the Bunge la Wananchi civil society organisation.
According to the organization, the report fell short of addressing the rights and freedoms of sex workers.
“What we are warning the mayor and the council askaris is that the by-laws of the city do not allow them to beat up, maim or harass hawkers, touts and sex workers,” he stated.
“We are here because the council askaris were breaking the laws so if the mayor is telling us that things will go on as usual, is he telling us that the askaris will continue beating up people?” he posed.
Commercial sex workers representative Diana Ogutu also rubbished the report, saying it had not addressed their concerns.
“Nothing has changed! That was his key word so does it mean that if a sex worker is found out in the street, she will be raped by a city council askari, she will be harassed and that they will demand bribes from her?” she wondered.