Prostitutes demand State protection from violent customers

Chuka town sex workers have raised alarm over rampant assault by their customers during the night and called for protection.

Addressing media in Chuka town on Thursday, the women said in the last two months, two of them had been killed and several others seriously injured by men who pretend to be genuine customers only to turn against them after sleeping with them.

Ms Betty Mukami, their chairlady said they had formed a group dubbed ‘#OkoleaKahabanaMtoto’ whose objectives are to fight for their security and to lobby government and well-wishers to help them start other businesses that do not pose risk to their lives and health.

Ms Mukami said whenever they report to police they are dismissed as prostitutes and no action is ever taken.

‘RAPED AND KILLED’

“One of us was electrocuted and the other one raped and killed and the only big thing that police did was to take the bodies to Chuka County Referral Hospital mortuary where they still are today,” said Ms Mukami.

She said bodaboda and matatu operators pick them up at their respective points where they wait for customers during the night and take them to their rooms only to throw them out without any pay in the middle of the night.

She said most of them found themselves in the business after their parents died or they were chased from their homes.

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PHOTO | ALEX NJERU

Irene Muthoni, 60, said she started working as sex worker in Moi Girls slum in the town in 1994 after she was chased away by her relatives when she was diagonised with HIV.

She said her daughter who is mentally challenged has three children who are in secondary school and entirely rely on her for school fees and feeding.

“I am one of the oldest sex workers in this town and I am ready to change to another work because men have become animals,” said Ms Muthoni.

POLICE PATROLS

Ms Catherine Hawa who has been doing the work for 15 years said last week she was arrested by police conducting patrols in the town and taken to police station only for one of them to force her to his room where he slept with her and later thrown her out.

“I had to go away because if I insisted on payment, he could rock me again and accuse me of selling bhang,” said Ms Hawa.

They urged the county woman representative Beatrice Nkatha to consider funding their group using National Government Affirmative Action Fund (NGAAF) so that they could start other businesses.

Ms Wanja Karuku, a pharmacist and matatu business lady in the town, promised to support them register the group and also start other businesses such as salon.

“I have seen these women beaten up by men who sleep with them and decline paying and I am ready to support them come out of this bad business,” said Ms Wanja.

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