Commercial sex workers in Busia County on Sunday, December 17 held peaceful protests in Busia Town to pressurize the county government to legalise their trade.
Led by their orgainising secretary Carolyne Kemunto, the commercial sex workers urged the county government to list their trade as a legal venture, just like other mainstream businesses.
“We’re fighting for the decriminalization of sex work. Once the trade is decriminalized, we will be able to access our rights everywhere without being treated as a criminal community,” said Ms Kemunto.
“When going about our business, we do not cause harm to anyone. We are just fending for our families in the same way people in other careers or businesses do,” said another commercial sex worker.
The prostitutes had earlier Sunday celebrated the International Day to End Violence against Sex Workers by taking part in a clean-up exercise at the Busia Police Post.
The commercial sex workers said they are going through depressing experiences in the course of their work, ranging from being stigmatized by society to being beaten up or even killed by clients. The prostitutes further claim some clients force them into engaging in unprotected sex.
The commercial sex workers also claim they are prone to harassment by police officers, who regularly crack down on them.
Busia County has around 3, 500 commercial sex workers – 3, 000 are female and 500 are male.