For a long time, Koinange Street in Nairobi has been demonized due to the booming trade of sex workers, otherwise known as Twilight Girls.
It is obvious that the street is not the only one that shelters sex workers in Kenya. For example, if you mention that you are going to a certain bar and restaurant in Eldoret on Oginga Odinga Street, you would be mocked and judged immediately. This is because sex workers operate in this area 24 hours a day. In fact, they have shifts and although the deadly business is considered immoral, many engage in it.
I say deadly because in addition to contracting HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases and urinary tract infections, sexual affairs lead to marriage breakdowns, unsafe abortions, low self-esteem and degradation of one’s worth. Twilight Girls are often discriminated against when accessing health care because most of them are HIV/AIDS positive. The spread of this disease is still endemic since protection is often ignored. In fact, not using protection is expensive and makes more money.
I find it rather outrageous that people hesitate or feel embarrassed when buying contraceptives such as condoms and sex enhancers from pharmacies, but would boldly go into prostitution. Passing this street in Eldoret, our men would be tapped on the shoulder, winked and publicly seduced by these women. In cases where men ignore these sexual advances, girls laugh at them and make fun of them. For as little as Sh50, these women sell their bodies.
While prostitution is illegal in Kenya, it thrives in almost every corner of this country. Many forget that such actions have consequences. We have had cases where a man has been robbed of thousands of shillings during his hour of vulnerability. These Twilight Girls have even gone so far as to cut off someone’s manhood for refusing to pay for services rendered.
These women have become so bold and even operate in groups. Some have weekly clients who even take them home just for sex. Some of these women are married with children. It is not good to judge because we may not know the root cause of their behaviors. But whatever the case, national and county governments must deal with it decisively.
The writer is a journalist