Sex Workers and HIV/AIDS

Sex workers, along with other key affected populations (KAPs) such as men who have sex with men (MSM) and people who inject drugs (PWID), are often considered at risk of HIV. UNAIDS defines sex workers as: Female, male and transgender adults and young people who receive money or goods in exchange for sexual services, either regularly or occasionally. Sex work varies between and within countries and communities. Sex work may vary in the degree to which it is more or less “formal” or organized, and in the degree to which it is distinct from other social and sexual relationships and types of sexual-economic exchange. 1 Although sex workers are one of the groups most affected by HIV, they are also one of the groups most likely to respond well to HIV prevention campaigns. Proof of this can be seen in countries such as Cambodia, the Dominican Republic, India and Thailand, where reductions in national HIV prevalence have been helped by initiatives targeting sex workers and their clients. – See more at: http://www.avert.org/sex-workers-and-hivaids.htm#sthash.qA4pe8Al.dpuf

Social and legal factors

Sex workers are often stigmatised, marginalised and criminalised by the societies in which they live, and in various ways, these factors can contribute to their vulnerability to HIV.

Even though sex work is at least partially legal in many countries, the law rarely protects sex workers. Around the world, there is a severe lack of legislation and policies protecting sex workers who may be at risk of violence from both state and non-state actors such as law enforcement, partners, family members and their clients. 11

For example, a sex worker who is raped will generally have little hope of bringing charges against their attacker. The lack of protection in such cases leaves sex workers open to abuse, violence and rape, creating an environment, which can facilitate HIV transmission. 12

Non-governmental organisations report that almost two thirds of the countries they work in have laws that make it difficult for them to work with sex workers. 13 In some countries, police use the possession of condoms as evidence that somebody is involved in sex work, further impeding sex workers’ efforts to protect themselves.

– See more at: http://www.avert.org/sex-workers-and-hivaids.htm#sthash.qA4pe8Al.dpuf

Protecting and Promoting the Rights of Sex Workers in Busia County

Sex workers are some of the most marginalized people in Kenya often harassed by police and clients and forced to put them at enormous risk in order to earn a living for themselves and their families. We at Survivors Organization in Busia County believe that sex workers rights are human rights and act accordingly.
In partnership with Open Society Institute Foundation and American Jewish World Service, Survivors is working to reduce harassment and discrimination against sex workers. We work directly with sex workers to educate them on how human rights laws as well as Kenyan laws apply to them and support them to mobilize and act on issues of concern, aiming to create a more productive and less antagonistic relationship between themselves and both police.

Documenting human rights Violations of sex workers in Kenya: a study conducted in Nairobi, Kisumu, Busia, Nanyuki, Mombasa and Malindi

Description:
This study investigates the human rights violations experienced by women sex workers in Kenya. This research found that these women have no way to claim their individual human rights under the current operating laws and policy framework. They are unable to keep themselves safe as they seek to support themselves and their families because they are relentlessly subject to police harassment, arrest and abuse. Furthermore, because sex work is viewed as an ‘immoral activity’ rather than as a form of labour, many in society believe that sex workers deserve to be punished for what they do. The information and recommendations contained in this report provide ways for the Kenya Government and state institutions to address the human rights concerns of sex workers. Similarly human and women’s rights organisations in Kenya will find many strategies in this report that can be used to advocate for the protection of sex workers’ rights.

  1. Policy analysis and advocacy decision model for services for key populations in Kenya

    From 2010–2012, the global Health Policy Project (funded by the United States Agency for International Development), in partnership with African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), developed Policy Analysis and Advocacy Decision Model for HIV-Related Services: Males Who Have Sex with Males, Transgender People, and Sex Workers (Beardsley K., 2013), hereafter referred to as the Decision Model. …

  2. The global HIV epidemics among sex workers

    Since the beginning of the epidemic sex workers have experienced a heightened burden of HIV across settings, despite their higher levels of HIV protective behaviors (UNAIDS, 2009). By gaining a deeper understanding of the epidemiologic and broader policy and social context within which sex work is set one begins to quickly gain a sense of the complex backdrop for increased risk to HIV among sex workers. …

  3. Integrated biological and behavioural surveillance survey among migrant female sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya

    Kenya is currently experiencing both a generalized and a concentrated HIV epidemic. It has a national HIV prevalence of 6.3 per cent and 1.3 million people between the ages of 15 to 64 across the country are living with HIV. According to the Kenya National AIDS Control Council (NACC), female sex workers (FSW) and their clients account for 14.1% of new infections. The Kenyan national response has recently started targeting research and programming efforts towards key population groups, and specifically FSW. However, migrants have not been targeted as a distinct category. …

  4. Documenting human rights Violations of sex workers in Kenya: a study conducted in Nairobi, Kisumu, Busia, Nanyuki, Mombasa and Malindi

    This study investigates the human rights violations experienced by women sex workers in Kenya. This research found that these women have no way to claim their individual human rights under the current operating laws and policy framework. They are unable to keep themselves safe as they seek to support themselves and their families because they are relentlessly subject to police harassment, arrest and abuse. Furthermore, because sex work is viewed as an ‘immoral activity’ rather than as a form of labour, many in society believe that sex workers deserve to be punished for what they do. …

  5. I expect to be abused and I have fear: Sex workers’ experiences of human rights violations and barriers to accessing healthcare in four African countries

    This report documents human rights violations experienced by female, male and transgender sex workers in four African countries (Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Zimbabwe), and describes barriers they face to accessing health services. Through cross-country comparison and documenting sub-regional trends, the study moves beyond previous often-localised descriptions of violations against sex workers in Africa. The study also fills information gaps about violations in male and transgender sex workers in this setting.

  6. Impact of five years of peer-mediated interventions on sexual behavior and sexually transmitted infections among female sex workers in Mombasa, Kenya

    Background: Since 2000, peer-mediated interventions among female sex workers (FSW) in Mombasa Kenya have promoted behavioural change through improving knowledge, attitudes and awareness of HIV serostatus, and aimed to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted infection (STI) by facilitating early STI treatment. Impact of these interventions was evaluated among those who attended peer education and at the FSW population level. Methods: A pre-intervention survey in 2000, recruited 503 FSW using snowball sampling. …

    1. The global HIV epidemics among sex workers

      Since the beginning of the epidemic sex workers have experienced a heightened burden of HIV across settings, despite their higher levels of HIV protective behaviors (UNAIDS, 2009). By gaining a deeper understanding of the epidemiologic and broader policy and social context within which sex work is set one begins to quickly gain a sense of the complex backdrop for increased risk to HIV among sex workers. …

Discrimination and stigmatization

In most countries, even those where sex work is legal, sex workers of all kinds feel that they are stigmatized and marginalized, and that this prevents them from seeking legal redress for discrimination (for e.g., racial discrimination by a strip club owner, dismissal from a teaching position because of involvement in the sex industry), non-payment by a client, assault or rape. Activists also believe that clients of sex workers may also be stigmatized and marginalized, in some cases even more so than sex workers themselves. For instance, in Sweden, Norway and Iceland, it is illegal to buy sexual services, but not to sell them (the client commits a crime, but not the prostitute)

A female sex worker and rights activist has passed on after a short illness

Snenhlanhla_Dube

Snenhlanhla Dube (1984-2015)
Snenhlanhla Dube was a sex worker rights activist from Zimbabwe who was one of the graduands at the Africa Sex Workers Academy that is hosted in Nairobi by the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance (KESWA).
At the time of her passing, she was involved in setting up a sex worker group.
She is reported to have been sick for some few days before she passed on on the night of March 14.
Sex work rights activists from across Africa have been sending condolences to her family and the sex work community in Zimbabwe following the announcement.
She was born in 1984.
She will be laid to rest on Wednesday, March 18.

Ten reasons for the decriminalization of sex work in Kenya

1. Criminalization fuels and fosters violence against women, men and trans sex workers Sex work being criminalized makes it illegal for sex workers to work in their own homes or in establishments – the very places where they are safest because they can have security measures in place (i.e. cameras, neighbors, known exits). Also, in order to avoid coming to the attention of the police, street-based sex workers often abandon safety strategies such as working in pairs, soliciting in well-lit populated areas, and taking the time to carefully assess a client prior to entering a vehicle.

2. Criminalization undermines sex workers’ access to justice                                                Criminalization creates an adversarial relationship between police and sex workers. As a result, sex workers do not feel comfortable turning to the police when they are in need. Also sex workers are over-policed but under-protected. As a result, they are hyper-vulnerable to violence and predators target them with virtual impunity.

sex_workers_court_nairobi
sex_workers_court_nairobi

3. Criminalization hinders the ability to maintain physical and sexual health                                                      Social judgment of sex work is a significant barrier to sex workers’ access to health services. Not only do sex workers face abusive and disrespectful attitudes from healthcare providers, but these prejudices taint the ability of health professionals to adequately assess the situation and respond appropriately. As a result, sex workers may not receive the health services they require and do not feel that they can be forthright without being the object of discrimination. The police’s informal use of condoms as proof of ‘prostitution’ or to pressure sex workers to self-incriminate creates a powerful disincentive to carrying, and therefore using, the most effective protection available against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections

4. Criminalization denies sex workers the protection of labor laws
Sex workers do not have medical aid, parental leave, retirement plans or vacation pay. Nor do they have recourse when they are wrongfully dismissed or discriminated against at work. Sex workers cannot organize into labor unions through which they could address labor exploitation, bargain for better working conditions, or collectively negotiate wages.

5. Criminalization takes away the right to sexual autonomy
Adult women, men and trans persons freely consent to exchange sex for many different reasons including physical satisfaction, emotional reward, self-validation and financial benefit. There exists a continuum of socioeconomic sexual exchanges from donation to payment. The commercial aspect does not justify a criminal justice response. Also all persons have the right to choose what they do with their bodies – they have the right to have a baby or to have sex for pleasure or for profit or for both. In the 21st century, criminalizing consensual sex between adults is outdated. Laws should reflect the mores and values of the society.

8. Criminalization marginalizes and isolates sex workers
Sex workers are members of our communities. They are our mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, neighbors and friends. Criminalization undermines the ability of these citizens to be fully integrated into society. Street-based workers are particularly vulnerable to being alienated, ostracized and excluded from the communities in which they live and work. At times these workers are the objects of concerted efforts by vigilante community groups to displace them. It is difficult for sex workers to provide proof of their income. Without an institutionally recognized record of earnings it is very challenging to get credit for things like a mortgage or a car loan; even renting an apartment can be problematic.

 9. Criminalization is unnecessary to address harms  sex_workers_mai_mahiu
The prostitution laws are redundant. There are ample provisions in the penal code to sanction those who harm, abuse or exploit sex workers. There are laws to protect all citizens from criminal acts, including the prohibition of trafficking in persons and forcible confinement organized crime, physical assault, sexual assault, intimidation, extortion, theft and harassment. Ironically laws ostensibly put in place to protect sex workers criminalize the very people deemed vulnerable and in need of protection.

10. Criminalization legitimates discrimination – Criminalizing clients is equally, not the solution
The very existence of ‘prostitution’ laws positions sex workers (and their partners, employers etc.) as inherently different from ‘normal’ citizens and in the process reaffirms and legitimates that perceived difference. Discrimination against sex workers appears justified. In current legal discourse, the identity of people who work in the sex industry is confused with the work they do. All other aspects of those individuals are negated and all their behaviors and relationships are evaluated through the lens of this one activity. This is precisely what stigmatization is. The idea that sex workers are powerless victims in need of salvation is often used to justify criminalization. This delegitimizes and silences sex workers at the same time as it renders their diversity, engagement and agency invisible. When clients are targeted, sex workers’ customer base is eroded and they are more likely to take risks with new or unknown clients and/or provide services they would not otherwise be prepared to offer. They may also reduce the fees they charge which in turn means they must work longer and more often to generate the same income.

ALERT! PHONE numbers used currently by gay blackmailers

The FOLLOWING numbers are used by blackmailers in Nairobi.

Kindly take note of them and if you have been in communication with any of them, kindly report to us ASAP!

0763163093 – not registered

0726163093 – Johnson Mwangi (Truecaller ID: Jalex Gatt)/johnsonmwangi48@gmail.com

0723960664 – Mwanyumba Kim (used by Joseph Makau and Evans Manyara)

0753955006 – Trucaller ID: Owner Experia

0711952126 – calls himself GODFREY (Trucaller ID: Mumuta)

FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING: IMPACT ON WOMEN`S HEALTH

Survivors is an organization that fights for the rights of sex workers, promotes health awareness to its members and sex workers community at large

Founded in the year 1999, the organization has been empowering female sex workers,( F.S.W) on behavior change concept, providing eloquent knowledge on importance of Voluntarily Counseling and Testing Center (V.C.T),HIV/AIDS Information ,Information on how to prevent themselves from contacting Sexually Transmitted Diseases   S.T.I/S.T.Ds.

Survivors empower sex workers by teaching them about their rights and how to claim them when threatened. These tools enable sex workers to challenge physical sexual abuse by clients and police officers, and in some cases even prevent it.

Not only has Survivors observed a decline in the risks to these women`s health, but sex workers now have improved access to health care services.”At the time (of the detention), I didn’t know my rights. Thanks to Survivors Organization for training me as a paralegal .I am now able to stop the same situation from happening again. We simply tell the officers that we know our rights and that if they arrest us, we should be taken to the police station. If they demand bribe from us we refuse” says Eunice who is a member and also a trained paralegal.”It is a great privilege to be able to help others as a paralegal. Many sex workers who had never known that our constitution has a Bill of Rights now exercise those rights because of their experience.”

By ensuring the direct and central involvement of sex workers in the design and implementation of its projects, Survivors has remained attuned to the needs of the sex workers community and is better able to advance their rights and health in tandem.

REMEMBER ONLY RIGHTS CAN STOP WRONG

Survivors Organization members protesting marking.END VIOLENCE AGAINST SEX WORKERS RIGHTS.
Survivors Organization members protesting marking.END VIOLENCE AGAINST SEX WORKERS RIGHTS.