Nairobi City Council rules out legalising prostitution

The City Council has ruled out legalisation of prostitution despite demands by sex workers that they be recognised.

A report by the council’s taskforce on the improvement of service delivery on Thursday sustained the current situation where sex workers found on city streets are arrested and prosecuted.

Although the document says police and council askaris should be sensitised on the need to respect basic human rights as indicated in Chapter four of the Constitution, it does not condone prostitution.

“The police and council officers should make the arrests of suspected female sex workers in the company of female officers,” it recommends.

On Tuesday, prostitutes protested in the streets and said they would pay taxes to the government if they were assured of protection.

They claimed that some council askaris and the police often beat them and at times raped them when found on the streets.

Kenya Sex Workers Alliance stated that some of its members had been refused medical attention in public hospitals because of their work or sexual orientation.

While receiving the report, mayor George Aladwa said prostitution would remain illegal in the city and that council officers would continue to arrest sex peddlers on the streets.

“As of now, we have not legalised anything. Things remain the way they have been and council askaris have been given powers to do their work. Prostitutes should do their work out of town,” he told reporters in Nairobi.

He continued: “Let me say that the council has laws which must be followed. But our offices are open to receive any complaints. This is not to say we are legalising anything (prostitution).”

Debate report

Mr Aladwa said he would comment more on the report after two weeks when it would have been debated by councillors and forwarded to the President and Prime Minister.

But the sex workers claimed the 20-member committee that prepared the report ignored their suggestions.

“When we sat on the committee, we said the council should first stop harassing sex workers as other issues are discussed.

“The report does not show that,” said Mr John Mathenge, the coordinator of Kenya Sex Workers Alliance.

The sex workers said they would move to court to compel the council to stop harassing its members said to be about 7,000.


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