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The Sex Workers Champion

Low literacy levels among women _according to Central Intelligence Agency,literacy levels for women above 15 yrs who can read and write in Kenya is only 79.7%.Education is the pillar to development, but contrary to this, sex workers that am currently working with have attained very little education.

Workplace exploitation-most sex workers in the MARPs project work as bar hostesses and casual laborers in tea plantations and flower estates. Challenges range from meager wages, overworking, sexual harassment in pubs from bar patrons and unintended pregnancies, with majority engaging in transactional sex to boost income.

Family planning; majority of Sex Workers are ignorant of Family Planning while some are sexually abused by their clients .Some clients also refuse to use condoms. Kenya is currently facing acute shortage of both male, female condoms and water based lubricants. Government initiatives have been neglected e.g. provision of supplies/commodities, laying off of VCT counselors who had been employed by NASCOP.

Under developed talent; in Central Province, Kenya most women are talented in music and artwork. The lucky ones who get opportunities to produce music, their dreams are cut short by music piracy which is very rampant in the country .In art work, there exists so many middlemen who buy the produce at throw away prices while they make a kill both locally and internationally.

HIV burden; most women especially sex workers are infected or affected, this denies the country the most of productive generation through death/terminally ill, while family’s income is directed towards HIV treatment and precious time towards Home Based Care.

Present solutions;
In pursuit to improve the SW literacy levels, liaison with Ministry of Education, in the provision of adult education, aimed at provision of education to adult individuals

To curb workplace exploitation, offering social entrepreneurship and business management courses for those SW with IGAs for capacity building to competitive business managers, also linking them with microfinance institutions for business loans.

Family planning, HIV burden, PSSG formation and HBC- mounting of condom dispensers in hotspots, also sourcing, distribution and demonstration of condoms use and water based lubricants.

Formalization of partnerships with local partners offering MARPs friendly services for provision of STIs screening and treatment, referrals for sexual and reproductive health services

Peer education and outreach the goal is to provide target populations with education/skills to reduce HIV/STI risk and increase access to clinical services.

Possibilities in Pulse Wire;
Enrolment of SW in to the Pulse Wire community-to represent the voice of the voiceless in the voices rising and YWLI.

Global events-obtain information on relevant international foras the SW can attend the foras/events

Action Alert-use Pulse Wire to whistle blow on music piracy to Music Society of Kenya exploitation from bar owners and sexual harassment from the police and clients

Sharing of solutions-by exchanging views with experts and like-minded members in fighting HIV scourge

Resource exchange-this could be used in getting local and international market for the SW products, sourcing for financial support a national SW choir, and sourcing of volunteers and HBC kits.


carsongitau's picture


MARPs-Most At Risk Populations

NASCOP-National AIDs & STI Control Programme

VCT-Voluntary Counseling and Testing

HIV-Human Immunodeficiency Virus

PSSG-Pysho-Social Support Group

HBC-Home Based Care

STI-Sexually Transmitted Infections

IGA-Income Generating Activities

SW-Sex Workers

YWLI-Young Women Leadership Institute

Empowered Woman

cbenkov's picture

So much

Thanks so much for this very informative post! There are so many factors involved in this challenge, it is overwhelming.

I'm interested to know how the women feel about doing this work? If the conditions were better, would it be considered a good job?

carsongitau's picture

The Factors

As you say,there are many factors that contribute to the Sex Workers sticking in the business,the conditions are not any better.If they only had responsible husbands,more stable and well paying jobs,an education which would secure them jobs,i strongly believe that lesser and lesser women would be involved in the business.We need to join efforts and work on the cited challenges so we can empower the Sex Workers,they sure have a voice but the life challenges suppress them not to be heard.Thanks for your comment,looking forward to hearing from you.

Empowered Woman

carsongitau's picture

Ever Wondered?

Ever wondered what are the driving factors behind most women engaging in sex for money(Sex Work)?As it has been noted in Kenya according to the Draft Kenya Sex Workers Guidelines April 2010,entry into sex work is driven by:
• Poverty and limited economic/employment opportunities
• Economic support for the family (parents, children, spouse, etc)
• Gender inequality
• Low levels of education
• Breakdown or abuse by family members
• History of stigma and marginalization (especially for self-identified men who have sex with men)
• Substance use, abuse and addiction
• Humanitarian emergencies and post conflict situations

There is need therefore to make deliberate efforts targeting the Most At Risk Populations,and i believe we have solutions right within us,what do you think could be done?

Empowered Woman

Christine L's picture

Helping the helpless

Hello Carsongitau,

There are so many issues but you have an excellent idea of them and you offer solid solutions. I like how you could incorporate Web 2.0 in your work. Good luck in your empowering and inspirational work and continue being a voice for the helpless and unheard.


“Be the change you want to see in the world.”- Mahatma Gandhi

tallybery's picture

I am here as a listener to

I am here as a listener to congratulate you on your ressarch. It shows a very complete data of Kenyas situation. I find it really interesting to see such well-founded arguments, nevertheless they would have been more comprehensible if they made part of a real text. I wish I could know, through your text, a little bit of your story and your relation to this topics. Your text would have fitted well on a power point presentation, but it needs a little more of your personal touch to reach the audience. You are in a good path though, I find it really important to search for data to prove our points, it gives consistency to what we are saying. I am from Brazil and here we also have issues with piracy on our cultural "products", but that affects only the major artists. Actually, the "little" ones benefit from that, because they take advantage from it to promote themselves, becomming more popular so they can sell their gigs. Piracy is a reallity, we can look at it through diferent points of views, being harassed by it, or taking advantage from it, there are many artists using it as an alternative to reach for a bigger audience, since they can not get the support of the mass midia. I look forward to read your future text, I am sure they will improve more and more :-)

carsongitau's picture

Listener's Comments

Hello Tallybery,

As i go through the above comments,i cannot help but admire your candidness and even the examples of your beloved country Brazil.I agree with you that this journal is more or less a power point presentation,i had so much to feature and limited wording,personal touch is relevant in even showing my owning up.

Thanks for the compliment on being on the good path,i am catching up quite fast and striving to remain in the right track.On piracy,i was categorical on the few Sex Workers who are lucky,but i do not refute your point that the practice affects adversely the big and renown musicians,this will be my take-home assignment just to found out the percentage of Sex Workers affected versus the renown artistes.

It will be such an honour to do a journal on my relations with Sex Workers,this shall be following soon.

Thanks once again Tallybery for being my listener!!!

Empowered Woman

carsongitau's picture

Thanks Christine

Habari gani?(my national language Kiswahili for "How are you?)

Reading your comment is such an inspiration,i am also quite impressed by your signing off comment,its sure we are the change we want to see......

Empowered Woman

carsongitau's picture

MY Relations with Sex Workers

Hi Tallybery,

I am back again,this time to let you know of my relations with Sex Workers,for sometime now i have been contemplating on coming with this as promised,but after revisiting my journal entry on Greatest Gift to Humanity,i felt that it captures most of it.Kindly refer to it as it sheds more light on my day to day interactions with Sex Workers.I am available for any clarifications.Lets meet online.

Empowered Woman

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