07
May

Access, Equity, Rights for Sex Workers Now!

I was once arrested by night police during a Musako [meaning police raid in kikamba]. While in remand one day we were summoned outside the room by two prison officers. One of the officers said he will assist me if only I do what he wants. I had no choice but to agree and he made me swear not to disclose. He came for me that night and took me to his house. He told me ‘Now that you are a prostitute I am going to sleep with you unconditionally’ He ordered me not to ask for money nor ask him to use a condom. I kept quiet because I had no choice. He took me to bed and did the sexual act. When he finished he took some drugs, dressed up and said he was leaving for work but his other colleagues would come to take me out of his compound. I went all alone crying because I knew all was not well. I didn’t go to hospital immediately. Much later during a visit to the clinic I learnt that I was infected with HIV.”

– Personal story from a 37 year-old sex worker in Machakos county whose clients are mostly truck drivers.

Every day, sex workers around the world experience violence and criminalization just like this. These assaults limit their ability to access HIV treatment and prevention services. Transgender sex workers and sex workers living with HIV are especially vulnerable to human rights violations.

Today in Kenya sex workers are taking to the streets for International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. They demand their rights citing mistreatment in health care services and by law enforcement agencies. Using the Human Rights Count, a research tool by the Global Network of People living with HIV (GNP+), Kenyan sex workers recently documented such experiences of their peers.http://www.aids2016.org/Media-Centre/The-Latest/Blog/ArticleID/24/Access-Equity-Rights-for-Sex-Workers-Now