A lobby group advocating for the rights of sex workers in Mombasa County has faulted the government on claims of criminalising sex work throughout the country.
Nkoko Iju Africa, Executive director Maryline Laini while speaking to Jumuiya News in Mombasa on Thursday said it is ironical that the same government criminalising sex work is the same government charging taxes to all Kenyans.
She wants the government to decriminalise sex work adding that sex workers are not exempted from paying taxes.
“There exists a perception in the general public that sex work is a crime. The government should decriminalise sex work. Yes it should not be legalised but I insist it should not be a crime,” said Laini.
Laini notes that sex workers are entitled to equality before the law urging them to adhere to the Covid-19 health protocols.
At the same time, Nkoko Iju Africa outreach officer, Everlyne Nabwire says most of the sex workers have become a burden to their guardians due to the economic strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Nabwire adds that most sex workers evicted from Bombolulu area are between the ages of 24 to 50 years.
On Monday, the lobby donated relief food to the forcefully evicted sex workers to last those families for the next 30 days.
The foodstuffs include maize flour, sugar, cooking oil, wheat flour and soap.
Earlier, the director had expressed fear after receiving what she termed as ‘threats’ from a senior administrator on claims of advocating for the rights of sex workers.
She notes that due to the threats hurled by the administrator she has never slept a wink.
“He (administrator) has vowed to close down organisations championing for the rights of sex workers. He has threatened me and I have never found peace since then,” she said.
She said the administrator while speaking during a public gathering had ordered for the closure of all guests houses located in residential areas.
Crime surge after the eviction of sex workers
The lobbyist adds that crime has increased in the area after the eviction order of the administrator.
“There are no clients anymore. Crime in the area has shot up,” she noted.
She says sex workers were left out of the Covid-19 emergency relief food by the county government.
“No sex worker received relief food from the county government. They only depended on the organisation for their livelihood,” said the director.
In a leaked video footage, the administrator vowed to close out all the sex dens in the area.
“Is it our resolution that sex workers should be evicted from this area? The public has said yes and that is what we shall do.
Nkoko Iju Africa is a not for profit organisation that champions for the rights of sex workers, respond to violence against sex workers and economic empowerment.