NAIROBI, December 1 – Due to the nature of their ‘job’ no one would expect commercial sex workers to say they are victims of gender violence.
Usually there is an assumption that gender violence only happens to young girls or married women.
Capital News recently visited Mombasa one of the hot spots for commercial sex work.
Being the focal point of Kenya’s tourism industry, Mombasa is a town where a very thin line, if at all, separates ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. Here temptations of illicit sex and fun are daily happenings.
A good number of young girls believe that commercial sex is an option for joblessness and poverty and in some cases, parents encourage their daughters to join commercial sex work to maintain themselves and their families.
Sex with dogs
Despite earning a living from commercial sex work, many workers say: “We have been to hell and back, but with problems and lack of money what can we do?”
In their daily lives, they meet men and beasts.
They are raped, beaten up and unpaid for their services. But most touching is the death of one girl about four months ago who fell sick after being made to have sex with a dog.
Her friends say she got infections after the act with the beast and despite attempts to cure it with antibiotics, it took its toll on her.
One of her friends told Capital News: “The man who forced her to do it with the dog was deported but he is now back in town. He even has property here; I don’t know how he found his way back to the country after doing such an immoral act.”
Sex with dogs out of deceit, especially by foreigners, is slowly getting its way among the female commercial workers.
A sex worker in Likoni confessed to Capital News that she was forced to have sex with a foreigner’s dog.
“I was just looking for a client in Ukunda when this foreigner came to me, we went to his Villa near town,” she narrates. “After we agreed, I undressed completely; he then tied my legs apart and blindfolded me. After a while, the service felt weird, I began screaming, he opened my eyes and warned me to keep quiet, it was a dog that I was offering the service to,” she says.
Almost breaking into tears, the twenty-odd year-old woman recounts the thorough beating she got from her client.
“He then began slapping me shouting, ‘All you wanted is money, relax, I will pay you after this’.”
The man even offered to double the agreed amount of Sh5,000, all to ensure that his dog got ‘satisfied’.
This is not the only woman who has been forced into sex with a dog. Most of them are too embarrassed to say it happened to them.
A reliable authority confirmed that several women have been victims of bestiality.
Doti, a female sex worker in Mombasa wants prostitution to be legalised in Kenya, arguing that criminalizing it is a major cause of silent deaths.
Deputy Country Director of the International Centre for Reproductive Health-Kenya Nzioka Kingola blames poverty and lack of employment for the rising number of prostitutes in Kenya.
He says, despite the nasty experiences, women still get back on the streets, not because they enjoy or miss it, but because they have to earn some money to put a plate of food on the table.
Many are the times when they are arrested and to free themselves from the cells they have to ‘sleep’ their way out with the policemen.
The women will continue to face challenges of rape, gender violence and other animal acts, since commercial sex work remains illegal.
“I don’t know whether human rights issues apply to them since they are involved in an unlawful practice,” another source says.