Not only on human rights advocacy, we also advocated for health rights. We have been doing this for the past sixteen years, helping the entire western community in creating awareness in reduction of HIV new infection, reduction of stigma to zero percent and also share ring information on importance of knowing their health status.
This has enhanced a positive change where by we have been conducting health campaigns in various hotspots in the entire community in the western Kenya thus in Busia town, namable, samia and also Matayos.
Being a sex workers organization, at first we had a very big challenge where by the community had a negative attitude in terms of publicity, but through sensitization meetings with stakeholders, this has created positive impact and gave us a platform in achieving our mission and goals.
Since the community at large challenges that lead to the lost of our loved one’s , we felt it was our responsibility to ensure the key population (Female sex workers and Msm,s)know the facts on health issues especially on risk reduction plan.
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.
On 30th September, 2014 the sex workers called for a stakeholders meeting with their lawyer to address the challenges they face. Among the invited were;
• Club bouncers
• Health care providers,
• Sex workers
• Security guards
• Boda boda operators
• Bar managers
• Police officers
The meeting was to address some of the violations of sex workers rights that had been reported to the office which included, harassment by the bouncers from the club, rape cases by boda bodas, sex workers being sent away from bars with claims they do not want parking ladies, stigma from the community and especially the health care providers and finally police arrests and seeking for bribes.
Experience sharing from specific sex workers drove the message home which in turn touched the hearts of the invited guests who promised to provide support and be nice to sex workers. The touching story was of a particular bar which is a hot spot and he had banned sex workers from waiting for clients there, he agreed to support sex workers and lifted the ban. He even requested we help him locate one sex worker who had stolen from a client at the same bar of which we agreed to do so as long as we get the details of the girl.
Finally the meeting came to an end with a positive impact where every gate keeper promised to give support, the boda boda chairman gave out his contacts plus the ones for the security personnel to be called anytime a sex worker is in danger, the health care provider also gave his contact and agreed to treat the sex workers anytime they are at the health facility, the receptionists also agreed not to be selling the free condoms at the dispensers to the sex workers and finally the sex workers promised to be disciplined and stop stealing from clients!