Unemployment and poverty is the core cause of the rising rates of commercial sex work in the country, a Thika-based psychologist has said.
Gladys Chania said commercial sex work has been a thorn in the flesh in society for many years and the only way to eliminate it is by empowering those in the trade.
She said concerted efforts by the national, the county governments and leaders will end commercial sex work.
Chania spoke in Thika town on Saturday.
She said a fund should be created by both levels of government to provide capital for those in the trade and give them an alternative means of making money.
“Before fighting the commercial sex workers, we have to offer them an alternative source of income. Most of them are in the streets not because they want to, but because of frustrations due to unemployment and poverty. These people have children and families to look after,” Chania said.
Chania, also an anti-alcohol and drug abuse ambassador, said empowering commercial sex workers will in the long-run reduce new cases and spread of HIV- Aids.
She said most cases of HIV infections emanate from commercial sex trade.
“We cannot claim to be fighting HIV-Aids while most people are languishing in poverty, making them end up in prostitution where the malady is spreading like bush fire,” Chania said.
Thika town MP Patrick Wainaina said he has started a programme through his Jungle Nut Foundation to empower residents.
The programme is called Economic Empowerment Programme.
He urged other legislators in the region to follow suit to effectively end commercial sex work.
Resident Cess Blessed said, “If a woman has a source of income, she’s empowered to make healthy choices about how she engages in sex and her sexual partners. We must also effect a ban on commercial sex at the county level. However, such a ban and rehabilitation of existing sex workers must be complimented by alternative source of income.”