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How police, city askaris mint millions from sex workers

Sex workers are paying hundreds of thousands of shillings each month to Police and county askaris as “protection fee”, Nairobi News understands.

The payments have however not stopped security personnel from harassing them .

Some of the sex workers who spoke to Nairobi News, on condition their identities remain private, claim each brothel has to pay at least Sh 10,000 each month to the Police.

Similarly, county askaris ask for a lump sum payment of about Sh 5,000 from each room per brothel.

“Failure to comply and you get frequently arrested and hauled for crazy charges. If you are in this business you got to comply,” one sex worker told Nairobi News.

One of the Nairobi brothels disguised as a massage parlor.  PHOTO | COURTESY
One of the Nairobi brothels disguised as a massage parlor. PHOTO | COURTESY

The sex workers claim the police call them on the tenth day of each month to inform them that “they are coming”.

Interestingly, most of the female sex workers say it is easier to deal with male officers compared to female officers.

“Male police officers and and askaris are sympathetic. They even sit and chat with us, at times even purchase drinks with the money we have paid them, or even offer us discounts. At times they will even negotiate to “receive” their payments through sexual services.

“The women are however ever angry, you pay them yet they are abusing you and calling you names while threatening to arrest you,” a sex worker said.

Nairobi City is estimated to have hundreds of brothels located on upmarket suburbs, within the CBD, down town and in middle income residential areas.

Most of this brothels have been disguised as “massage parlours”, in a bid to brand them as a legal entity.