FEWER CLIENTS

Sh49,000 to help sex workers buy food, pay rent, legal fees during pandemic

Fund was started by Kenya Sex Workers Alliance in April and is to run until next month

In Summary

• The fund has raised Sh49,490 from 16 supporters.

• Clients of sex workers avoid visiting brothels or hotspot areas during the day lowering their earnings.  Brothel business down given curfew and social distancing regulations.

Commercial sex workers demonstrating in Mombasa in April 4th 2017./
Commercial sex workers demonstrating in Mombasa in April 4th 2017./
Image: FILE

Well-wishers have donated almost Sh50,000 to help sex workers buy food, pay rent and legal fees for those arrested during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sixteen people have contributed Sh49,490.

The fund was set up in April by the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (Keswa) that promotes human rights and humane treatment for all sex workers.

The curfew and social distancing regulations since March have slashed sex workers’ earnings.

"Most clients shy from entering brothels and hotspots for fear of being seen during the day,” Keswa said.

“The transport industry has hiked fares making it costly reach to sex worker-friendly clinics and other general health facilities, some of them distant,” it said in updates on its website.

As their income has been slashed during the Covid-19 pandemic, sex workers are unable to afford HIV-Aids medication, some are evicted and go hungry.

The alliance said sex workers rely on the informal economy, lack access to social services, have no political influence and have difficulty adapting to technology.

"Adding gender onto these vulnerabilities brings into sharp focus how women’s roles related to reproductive, productive and community managing tasks places them at considerably higher risk of infection,” the alliance said.

Lack of money leads to poor adherence to HIV-Aids treatment and prevention, exposing them to infection and reinfection.

 

Sex work is illegal in Kenya and sex workers suffer violence and other human rights violations, including illegal arrests and detention and extortion.

They need access to social services and financial resources during difficult times, the alliance said.

(Edited by V. Graham)