As the world commemorates day against violence towards sex workers (international sex Workers day) which is being held annually on 17th December 2018. In Kisumu business was not usual as Kisumu male sex workers organization marched to the street and the Kisumu Central police station and conducted a cleanup activity as a way of recognition of international sex workers day. They used this platform to sensitize the police, law enforcers and Boda Boda operators on creating a good space to end violence and harassment which causes the inhumane working condition for male sex workers.
The community and the law enforcers were left surprised and suspicious as some of them had not interacted with male sex workers and they only had knowledge of female sex workers. However, there was a mixed reaction from the writing on the banner which only had the name of the organization (Kisumu male sex workers organization) which was meant to create the visibility of the organization. The community wanted to know how, where, and which law protects the male sex workers.
According to the reactions from majority of the Boda Boda operators and the police who interacted with majority of male sex workers during that moment argued that the only females are expected to sell sex but not male, that encourages existence of harassments, insecurity, stigma and discrimination and fear amongst male sex workers hence a lot has to be done to curb the situation and provide for a safer space for male sex workers.
During this particular moment, the majority of male sex workers came out clearly to speak out about how marginalized the group is within the community. “We are a marginalized group who deserve the exact same rights like any other Kenyan” Kisumu male sex workers programs coordinator was quoted addressing the Community. The male sex workers also had the opportunity to share about challenges they face during their work.
The number of male sex workers from western Kenya region has been increasing due to poverty, lack of education, poor living standard and the majority of them identify themselves as LGBTI persons,
There is still a need for advocacy and sensitization of the community and various stakeholders about male sex workers. For example, the Kisumu male sex workers banner went viral on social media as the community was trying to argue out on how possible it is for men to sell sex.