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Archive for November, 2014


Break The Rules, Face the Consequences

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An interesting story where by a sex worker locked a client in a room after he had refused to pay for services. Here is the story.

After the incident, she took the condoms used and went to talk to the security guard who had connected her to the client. The security guard had not been trained by the organization and therefore he was rude to the sex worker and refused to compel the client to pay. What happened is that the sex worker called a paralegal that came and tried talking to the client asking him to pay but he refused. They went to the police with the condoms, reported and were given an appointment to go back at 7.00pm. All this time the client was still locked in the room where they had slept. He stayed locked till 6.00pm when the security guard came and opened the door for him since they were friends.

The sex worker had also reported the incidence to the manager who was on her side and was very mad with the security guard when he learnt he had opened the door. Being a weekend, I was not in the office but they managed to inform me of the progress of the case and in the evening I called more paralegals and we went to solve the issue.

Upon reaching the guest house, the security guard was very hostile to us but when the manager so us, he came to our rescue. The client was called and we asked him why he refused to pay the sex worker. Upon hearing that the matter was at the police station, he was shocked and was very remorseful. The manager did not spare him as he was commanding him to pay or he will go as a witness to the matter at the police station. The client confessed to us that he did not pay because he did not have money on him since he had not been paid for the goods he had delivered. He confessed that they had agreed on Kenya shillings eight hundred but since he has delayed with the payment he will pay one thousand Kenyan shillings to the sex worker the following day at the same time. He also told us he had not paid the room he was sleeping in and we confirmed we with the manager it is true and therefore he will clear all the bills at the same time. We took his number and made the manager promise not to let him leave till he pays.

The next day he called us, paid the sex worker and since he had money, he both us beer and negotiated for business with another sex worker and this time he paid cash. He became our friend and confessed he had learnt his lesson!!!

 

Becky Otieno’s Story

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Becky Otieno is a paralegal and a very dedicated member of Survivors organization. Here is her story.

“I am Becky Otieno, single with two children, a boy and a girl. I have passed through ups and downs of difficulty with my children to an extent of spending a night on a verandah, that’s when I met a friend of mine who picked me and took me to her place. I stayed there for a period of time, where she introduced me to sex work which I did in a span of one month then got my own place.

Valarie who is the friend am talking about used to tell me about an Organization called Survivors which she was in but by then I had no interest. One night my son got sick and I did not have any cash with me. I woke up and decided to go out and look for money. At the entrance to the club, I met a young man of about 27 years of age who told me that he was a track driver, we went to the club and we started negotiating, we got to an agreement of him giving me 1500ksh for the night. We left after some time and went to a guest house called Alfa house where I did my business. Very early in the morning I asked for the money, he dipped his hands into his pockets and brought out 300ksh,I was very surprised and felt like dying because I had left a sick child at home, when I tried to ask him what happened with our agreement, he said to me ‘Do you think I can give you all that amount of money just because I had sex with you?”,I told him it was okay and I pretended to walk away picked the rooms padlock which was just next to where I was standing and quickly locked him up in the room. I didn’t know what to do by that time and, after some 10 minutes I remembered about survivors and it was just opposite where i was, I ran to the office and mate a lady who really showed me hospitality, she made a call, I dint know who she was calling, it was the co coordinator and an advocate that she was calling, we went with the office secretary to the hotel while waiting for the advocate. Finally she {advocate} and the co coordinator arrived plus a young man with them, they really handled the matter very well that surprised me, the man paid the money in full with no compromise.

I came to note that I should take money before doing anything. I had no knowledge about condom use, there is nothing else that scares me like HIV/AIDS in my life though that night I used condom, I didn’t check the expiry date or anything, thanks to survivors that at this moment I can proudly say that no one can challenge me on condom use. On that day I automatically joined survivors.

My family was not aware that I had joined a sex worker group I was very scared, I didn’t want my mother to know about it, because of the stigma I was already getting from my community. Before I was given a brochure by the co coordinator which I kept very far and dint want my mum to see it, one morning by mistake my mother came across it, and she never asked me about it, two days after she had gathered some information from an outsider that really annoyed her. She decided to go to our office they discussed with members who were at the office and she left, she had made a conclusion that I quit the group which I stood and said I will never live survivors for anything. I tried my best to talk to my mother which took a very long period of time for her to accept. The training and workshops that I attend and the training manuals I had at home convinced her and now she even encourages me to go to the office.

Survivors helped me 70% basically in my life together with my family. I have continued to attend meetings seminars, workshops and trainings which I never imagined that I would with my level of education and also as a sex worker. I always sit with teachers, people with degrees and can explain or express my self and answer question they ask me.

One day we were arguing about condom expiry date with a client, he was saying that condoms do not expire! With the knowledge I had about condoms from Survivors as a peer educator, I had to go and buy a pair of condom and show the expiry date written on it. This client did not have knowledge about that, I was very proud of myself that I had taught the client something about condom!

Two months after joining the group I was taking my friends through what I had just learnt in the work shop, I didn’t make it I was very shy and scared because I had no experience in peer education, and never knew that I had to go for a peer education training before that, this came to pass this year in march when I was taken through peer education training and now am very good facilitator in disseminating information about reproductive health and Human Rights after going through a paralegal training! I can hold a meeting with more than 10 peers in my community and open up to them in everything they should know and also help them with the questions they ask. Fear, shyness and the stigma that I once had have varnished.

One day on my way to club Changes I dropped in a hotel called international, I met this man who demanded that I share with him what I had learnt in Survivors, I had no option but to do what he asked for because at the same time I was doing risk assessment. I talked to him about condom demonstration, HIV/AIDS, about how married couples are at high risk of being infected with HIV and STIs since most of them lack knowledge on condom use and they have a perception that condoms are for sex workers! The man was so impressed that he took me to a place called holiday inn, where I was to meet his friends and talk to them of which I did. All that happened because I was trained on leadership and full peer education training for 5 days and this made me strong, confident and courageous to carryout the task

I attended training on documentation and life skills empowerment which was conducted by Mr. Tomato who was sent by Jessica Kilonzo our consultant, and after getting the knowledge on how to set up other business to earn income when sex work is down, I started poultry farming which am hopping to benefit from in December by selling them.

I used to get very upset often before I was taught on behavior change. I was not taught this in a seminar or training but my second mother the (coordinator). She said to me “Becky try and cool down your temper always be humble and focus in everything you do”.

“If I can express myself and share the knowledge that I got from survivors with more than 50 people, then I hope that the benefits yet to come will even lead me to foreign countries and that will happen because of my hard work and as long as I am with the Survivors group!

Am really grateful for Miss Caroline Kemunto the coordinator for her support and also how she cares and gives us support.

Without survivors I don’t know where I would be today, I know that God will help us reach and achieve our goals!!!!!

MY DREAM IS TO SEE SURVIVORS GROW TO A LARGE ORGANIZATION IN THE NEXT 4YEARS.

 

Sex workers’ rights are just workers’ rights

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Sex workers’ rights are workers’ rights and human rights — because sex workers are human beings doing work. That’s why the debate over sex work shouldn’t focus, as it usually does, on whether sex workers are “criminals” or “victims.” Instead, sex workers themselves should have agency and a say in the policies that govern their practices.