INSECURITY IN BUSIA COUNTY

Busia have been terrorized by a two man gang in full police gear stealing from patrons in bars and shops, bringing fear to residents of busia county.

On Wednesday 26th of November 2014, it was just a normal day as any other , business was usual until 8.30pm when the power went off the whole town and it was raining heavily , the patrons at Sultana pub were enjoying their drinks and slow music when all of a sudden two men in police uniforms entered the pub, the patrons thought it was a normal routine patrol of the officer on duty, only to be told down! Down! And remove anything in you pockets. The patrons were robbed of any available thing they had including their phones and money ,the smart phones were smashed and left on the tables, the other old fashioned phones were taken away, they took almost one and half hours in the pub.

After Sultana , they marched to the nearest pub “cheers” they entered through the back door the cheers security guard saw them and ran , took a motor bike to the police station , but the police on duty, told him to go and look for the police officers on duty(on patrol) , the thugs ordered the patrons to lie down , one of the patrons tried to hold the leg of the man who had a panga , but the one with the gun told him to try , he will see a long day, they had to cooperate , and like in Sultana they robbed them of all valuable , they took two hours , leaving Cheers , they entered the neighboring shops and took all the money the man had sold during the day ,air time, the M-Pesa money and the M-Pesa phone.

At around 2.30am ,they went to another club called Changes , it was a ladies night so the club was parked , it was hard for them to enter the club , when they were still standing outside , one of the lady who parks at changes went greeted them asked if they are new in town because she didn’t know them and yet she knows all the police at the police station , they didn’t answer her , she went on with her business , the manager of changes came out and saw them and he went to them , he asked the same question the lady had asked , they sensed that they have been noticed , they ordered every body to lie down, the manager thought it was a joke and refused to lie down , the gun man shot him on the thigh ,they walked off pushing a motor bike which they left a few meters away and went on foot using the yuonear guest house route.

Something hurting is that all this was going on and the police had been alerted but they didn’t act, now the big question is WHO WILL PROTECT US IF THE POLICE CAN’T?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

WHEN GOVERNMENT OFFICERS ABUSE OFFICE

Its such a shame how some people abuse their office….

I met this gentle man one night when out on my daily hustles as a sex worker, when he called me I knew had found a potential client who would pay well. I was not wrong indeed we agreed on using a condom and the price, we got to the room and got down to the agenda of the day, we used a condom but after the act I realized the condom had busted.

on seeing this I was shocked how this had happened because I made sure the condom was worn correctly while still pondering on this, the man took me by surprise telling me that he wanted to marry me and that he loves me very much but first we have to go for a HIV test, I told him I will think about it and get back to him being that I had his phone number.

We went back to the car and to my surprise he had the test kits in his car, I inquired where had got it the kits from and told me that he works at local hospital in busia county ,as a lab technician. I Refused but he locked the car and I had no option but to do the test, after the first test he said that he did not believe my result so he wanted to redo the test and I refused ,he started beating me up.

I struggled with him and managed to get out of his car, then I called for help from my fellow sex workers who are paralegals, I was shocked to know that he is a senior lab tech at a local hospital. I came to find out from my friends that this client is fond of doing that to sex workers and that he not only forces one to have a HIV test but also tears the condom knowingly.

Am meant to understand that only senior personnel are in the position of getting complete test kits with out being questioned and am just wondering how many more sex workers are going through what I went through.

My question is how many senior personnel are abusing their office out there???????

 

SURVIVORS ORGANIZATION TO HOLD AN EVENT ON “END VIOLENCE AGAINST SEX WORKERS”

On 17 December survivors will hold a peaceful Demonstration which will be marked by sex worker in Busia, the procession start from Busia weighbridge to Busia customs and then back to the office premises where they will read out a speech.

Stigma and discrimination has been a big issue and also sexual harassment from our clients, police officers, health providers.DSC04542

To end violence and other negative attitudes, we shall let the community be aware that sex workers have their right like any other human being and is a profession like any other profession elsewhere. Despite our vulnerability, this is where we get our daily bread and assist our families and we are comfortable with it.

Our theme shall be red and black with the message end violence against sex workers and sex workers right are human rights. They will be music and dances with a banner my body my business.

You are all welcomed to join us mark and celebrate our day as sex workers.

Come one come all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A POLICE OFFICER IN TROUBLE

One notorious police officer in Busia town with a habit of not paying sex workers after business was forced to pay the sex worker at the station before his colleagues.

One night he came at one of the HOT SPOT and he took a lady, They bargained and he agreed to pay KSH 1300/= for overnight . Upon arriving in his house he forced her into sex without a condom. After one shot he chased her out of his house threatening to beat her with a rubber whip commonly known as “nyaunyo ”without paying her. She left the house and went direct to the police station and reported since the officer’s house is at the police line. The officer s at the OB were happy that she had reported the case since the officer is known for that habit of not paying sex workers after sex. They booked her and asked her to come the next day at 10.00am and see OCS (Officer Commanding Station).

After that she came back to the hot spot and narrated the incident to the paralegal who counseled her and advice her to come to the office the next day. She asked her to come to the office since the next day the paralegals were meeting and therefore could find the proper way of handling the situation.

The paralegal narrated the story to the rest of the team and since they knew the police officer in question, they decided that they will call the officer for a drink or lunch and talk over the issue. At the same time they called a friendly police officer who happens to be working in the same department as the officer. She told us that the officer was out of the office for a back up raid in Eldoret. She also advised us to take the lady for PEP since no condom was used.

She was taken to the hospital for PEP and she went home. The next day she went with one paralegal at the station since they had been told the officer was back. Upon seeing the paralegal and the sex worker that he violated, he was so shocked but asked them to go in one of the office’s house so that they can talk over the issue. He did not want other officers to listen to what they were talking about but unfortunately the story had leaked out to the rest of the officers and they all came to the room and they were condemning him telling him that was not right. He should stop that habit of his and be paying for the services. He was so furious that at a point he threatened to shot his colleagues.

He eventually calmed down and apologized saying he did not know the lady was from Survivors and also he was drunk. He accepted to pay the lady one thousand shillings since that was what he had at the moment and promised never to repeat such behavior again. At a point he sobbed saying he does not understand what normally happens to him.

For sure, some sex workers rights are violated because people feel they have nowhere to turn to. But Busia sex workers have Survivors that are always ready to stand out for them and demand for their rights even if it is a police officer or police station they do not fear!!!!

Break The Rules, Face the Consequences

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

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.

 

The MSMS PEER EDUCATORS MONTHLY REPORT SUBMISSION

The Msm, s monthly P/E meeting is always held at Busia survivor’s office through the collaboration of survivor and APHIAplus western. The peer educators bring their reports and share the challenges they faced in the field during the month.

The 29th of October meeting we had visitors from NASCOP and OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE OF EAST AFRICA, thus we did not have the normal meeting procedure

NASCOP

The visitor from NASCOP introduced herself and shared with us new tools which were introduced in the new project in which reporting will be conduced monthly. Also Msm, s shared their challenges, achievements faced during the month.

OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE OF EAST AFRICA

Also at our meeting, Msm, s shared their challenges with the team from OSIEA who have been in the office from Monday 27th The visitors introduced themselves and said that they came to our organization so as to build and help on what we have to make our work easy. They have much to share with us until on Friday 31st. October.

Submission

Report submission was done as usual where by the entire peer educators submitted their report in which it was rectified by the programs manager who is also the supervisor. The meeting ended with the word of prayer from one of the peer educators

The P/E monthly report submission

The monthly P/E meeting is always held at Busia survivor’s office through the collaboration of survivor and APHIAplus western . The peer educators bring their reports and share the challenges they faced in the field during the month.

The 28 th of October meeting started by a word of prayer from one of the P/E, the minutes were not read because the P/E didn’t have their September monthly meeting because they were having a training ,they went straight to the agendas of the day , we had visitors from NASCOP and OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE OF EAST AFRICA, thus we did not have the normal procedure

The visitor from NASCOP introduced herself and  wanted to know if the P/E report she had left are helping them, some said yes , some said the writing was small and they were promised that it will be enlarged , generally she thanked the ladies for the good work.

OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE OF EAST AFRICA

The visitors introduced themselves and said that they are here to build and help on what we have to make our work easy  . the challenges were put on hold till Thur because of time , the meeting ended with a word of prayer from one P/E.