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Commercial sex workers convert forest into lodging

By By Tobias Chanji
Updated Fri, June 28th 2013 at 00:00 GMT +3

Wambui has a dislocated collar bone and a swollen hand from the beating. She says her medication cost Sh3,500 so far and because she has no money she has resorted to tying her swollen hand with a head scarf.

She says she has experienced too many unfortunate incidences in Chobingo forest and wants to take advantage of her knack in many foreign languages to engage in smart business.

“I know how to plait hair and massage the body. I had two children although one died two months ago. I have been through a lot. We are really terrorised inside the forest and need protection,” added she.

Protection fee

A group of youth took the task of giving them protection, but at a fee.

Ndinda says the said youth who now guarding the forest demand Sh500 protection fee on a daily basis.

Pastor Chrispus Ingoye of the Grace Covenant Church says one of the women had been feeding her child with palm wine after her house was locked for lack of six months’ rent arrears.

“She could give the child three spoonfuls of palm wine to send him to sleep so that she can go back to the forest to look for money. We paid her rent but could not keep up with her other needs,” she said.

Area AP commandant, Mr Gilbert Nyunyi says the only solution is to take the women back to their homes so that they can be helped to stay away from drugs.

“Even if we arrest you, we are not helping you. I urge you not to go back to the forest, let us chase robbers but not you, we want to start organising for you to go back home,” said the commandant when he addressed some of them.

The project manager, Mr Cosmas Maina at the Teens Watch Rehab Center that assists the women with drugs and other basic needs wonders why the men who solicit the girls’ services are not punished.

“The men who beat the girls are the same ones who want to sleep with them, why are they not punished because there are no prostitutes without men counterparts, the women have children who need care, when we are planning for them, let us remember to engage them in income generating activities,” explained Mr Maina.

Ukunda division Assistant Commissioner, Daniel Mwendwa said he was waiting for a detailed report on the women from the center to map out the next course of action.

“Once we get the report, we will get the people involved but the women must change their ways,” he quipped.

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