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Citizen Weekly

Sunday, 22 March 2015

How drought in Ukambani drives women into prostitution

A biting drought that threatens millions with starvation across Ukambani is forcing alarming numbers of poor girls into prostitution.
As the dry season persists, parents are unable to provide for their families, children cannot go to school because some parents have lost their source of livelihood.
Leaders and the youth in Machakos have also raised the alarm over increased cases of conning by twilight girls in the busy town.
Many admit to have lost their money in some of the entertainment joints and lodgings were the twilight girls pitch tent during night hours.
 One of the youths reveals that most of them are introduced or enticed into commercial sex work as teenagers by older relatives, friends of their parents or other persons who are in positions of relative trust or authority to them.
 Child prostitution and other forms of child exploitation is known to exist in the major cities. Investigations by Weekly Citizen show the twilight girls are mostly from Kiima Kimwe, Misakwani, Mutituni, Mua and Kyumbi.
 In Machakos, there are those who are in the business more in rebellion against their families than to make money.
According to Samauel Kilonzi, some girls get involved in the trade under pressure from their peers and find it hard to get out.
“It is believed that the girls who target high income-earners are more discerning about whom they have as their clients and are more health conscious,” he said.
Last year, matatu and bodaboda operators in Mwingi town of Kitui county raised the red flag over the increase of twilight girls who accompany them at the close business only to rob them.
 They now want police to stage a major crackdown to stem the habit of prostitution in the town
It has been noted that young girls from several parts of the country including Mutito, Kitui and Mutomo are flocking to the busy Mwingi to have their share of what they did not work for.
 Speaking to Weekly Citizen, the operators said the prostitutes are offering their bodies for petty favours like free rides and even chips worth Sh50.
 They further claimed that some primary teachers have lost thousands of money at some of the pubs and lodgings were the twilight girls pitch tent during night hours.
The sex workers are frequently stigmatised in ways that predispose them to economically marginal living conditions that make continued sex work necessary in order to maintain household income.
 When they have no alternative source of income, they are less likely to resist clients who obviously have a sexually transmitted infection or insist on condom use.
  Prostitution as a trade creates so many social problems largely because governments and its citizens tend to approach it with a puritan rather than pragmatic approach.
 Some countries outlaw it without looking into the reasons for which it exists.
In Kenya, prostitution is outlawed in three ways: The Penal Code which criminalises solicitation (asking for money in exchange for sex) and running of brothels (those earning a living off the earnings of prostitution).
The Sexual Offences Act 2006 outlaws child prostitution, trafficking for the purposes of prostitution and pimping.