Commercial sex workers in Mombasa have warned their customers to prepare for higher “service” charges should the Government lift the intercounty travel restrictions.
This comes after Mombasa County approved the reopening of eateries, hotels and guest houses.
Millicent Auma, a commercial sex worker in Bombolulu, told K24 Digital that the last three months “have been the toughest in my career, which has spanned many years”.
“After the shutting of nightclubs and entertainment joints in Mombasa by both the national and county governments, the number of my clients reduced significantly!” she said.
“My colleagues and I have been unable to feed our families,” added Auma.
“We are now grateful to the County Government for reopening eateries and tourism sites as that would make it easy for us to meet our clients.”
Auma and her colleagues, however, warn their clients to prepare to pay hefty costs as they (sex workers) would be forced to pay extra for safety equipment.
“They should be ready to pay higher prices than what we used to charge before the outbreak of COVID-19. We’ll now be forced to buy sanitizers and face masks before getting intimate with any customer. Given we are in business, we’ll be forced to transfer that extra cost to the clients,” said Auma.
Mary Karen, another sex worker in Mombasa, said they — as an association of sex workers in Mombasa — have already met and agreed on minimum price that they’ d charge their clients.
“Before coronavirus crisis, the only extra cost we would incur was on condoms. Now, face masks, sanitizers and other hygiene equipment have been added to our expenses list. We’ve agreed that the minimum charge will be Ksh800 and the maximum cost a sex worker — in our association — can charge her client will be Ksh1, 200 per session ,” said Karen.
The sex worker says the 9pm-4am curfew has negatively affected their “business”, forcing them to lower their base charge from Ksh1, 000 to even Ksh200.
“Business has gone down! Nowadays, one can even go home with only Ksh200, and that comes from our regular clients, whom we can only get intimate with in their vehicles, given brothels and lodgings are not operational,” she said.
The Mombasa County Government Emergency Response Committee on COVID-19 last week Okayed the opening of eateries in accordance with the Ministry of Health directive.
The announcement was made by Mombasa County Commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo.