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Sex workers, gays march to demand their rights

By HILARY KIMUYU

Commercial sex workers and homosexuals took to the streets of Nairobi on Thursday morning to mark this year’s International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers.

The commemoration of the day started with a silent procession from Uhuru Park’s Freedom Corner to City Hall where the commercial sex workers protested harassment that they claim they are often subjected to by the police and County askaris during the course of their work.

The commercial sex workers claim many of their colleagues have been killed, raped, maimed or subjected to degrading treatment as a result of such brutality. They said the government has a responsibility of protecting their human rights.

One participant in the demonstration, Velvin Joboiese, who is living with HIV/Aids, pointed out the importance of de-stigmatization of the ailment.

PUBLIC AWARENESS

“My role in this protest is to help all my colleagues who are living positively to create public awareness about HIV/Aids,” Joboiese told Nairobi News.

The latest development comes two months after human rights activists held protests in Nakuru town over what they called ritual killings of seven commercial sex workers in different towns. The sex workers at the time asked the police to ensure their safety following the mystery killings.

Media reports at the time indicated that in Nakuru, where four such killings took place, the victims were strangled and their heads skinned. The bodies were also found naked, with their clothes placed neatly beside them.