KIMASWO Members Safety and Security Meeting

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1.0 BACKGROUND:

The group group conducted meeting to discuss different issues related to security and safety affecting male sex workers in western Kenya.and the following issues were discussed

  1. Reasons or causes of insecurity
  2. Types of violations
  3. Challenges and
  4. Ways to address these issues.
  1. Reasons or causes of insecurity

It was raised by members that the following were the reasons that result to insecurity on male sex workers in western kenya are are:

  • Religion

This contributed towards insecurity where by some religious practices or beliefs made sex work sinful, abominable and punishable by ex-communication or death.some religious leaders also preach hatred towards sex workers especially on their interpretation of the bible towards sexwork

  • Culture and traditions

Our African culture and traditions in many cases decriminalize sex work more so the male sex workers.sex work has been taken as taboo in africa society,especially men who  sells to other men,this has lead to stigma and discrimination ,insecurity,harassment towards male sex workers,

  • Discrimination at Workplace.

It was raised that a good number of male sex workers are not considered to be people of integrity at the workplace, and those employed face discrimination or are dismissed from their jobs. Others are disrespected or in other instances face verbal abuse.

  • Kenyan laws

The laws of Kenya publicly prohibits same sex relations and sex work  thus making it easier for the male sex workers to face a lot of human right violations fro policies makers and even the general public. This has also made it difficult for the male sex workers to report any human right violation to the relevant authority

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Most of the male sex workers reported to have been subjected to psychological torture from their family members, friends, and relatives and even from the clients they service. They reported to have been shunned by their close relatives because of the nature of work they are engaged in.

  • Human Rights violation

 Male sex workers are facing a lot of human right violations such as ,such as right  to quality  health,right to freedom of movement,hence they cannot enjoy human right that one is entitled to.

  1. Challenges and ways of addressing the issues,during the meeting members came up with the following issues
  • Whenever male sex workers are faced with insecurity issues such abuse or molestation, legal actions are not taken thus many of them rather remain quiet and not report to right authority
  • Whenever cases are reported to the dices, it’s normally taken as a formality but in real sense no legal action would be taken thereafter.
  • Some of the male sex workers are not aware of what procedures or rules to follow when reporting an abuse.
  • Victims pull out easily from the cases as the cases tend to drag over a long period of time.
  • Economical or financial challenge is also another issue male sex workers are facing as they lack the financial assistance to help them carry out the legal process when faced with insecurity issues.
  • Self-victimization is also a big issue among the male sex workers as most of them have not fully embraced the nature of their work hence fear appearing in court proceedings or police stations.

Some of ways of addressing the issues included:

  • Reporting to the relevant authority
  • after reporting to relevant authority,follow up the case with nyarwek legal team
  • Seeking professional help from e.g. counsellors, therapists etc.
  • More sensitization training on human right should be done to male sex workers to empower them on their rights,channel of reporting human right violation they are facing

2.0 Achievement

The group had different achievements such as.

  • Many sex workers found a favorable platform to address their feelings, views and experiences.
  • Some of the male sex workers who were not familiar with the due process to follow when reporting a case were able to be informed on the process.
  • Effective structures were put in place eg toll numbers to call when the male sex workers needed any assistances.

2.1 lessons learnt during the session

  1. It came to our realization that a good number of male sex workers are facing human right violation, with high insecurity issue and they report and minimal legal action are taken thus this organization seeks to address such lacuna
  2. The organization ought to carry out more sensitization programs to male sex workers on Human rights, legal issues and processes.

3.0 Recommendation

  1. More mobilization for male sex workers to attend such open forums
  2. More sensitization to members about human rights, legal issues and processes.
  3. Organization to seek for more funds to carter for snacks, drinks and transport reimbursement
  4. The organization should look for a favorable venue where the members feel free to air their views and opinions without the fear of victimization.
  • Conclusion

Overally the forum was a success as the major issues the male sex workers face in terms of security were able to be addressed. There was maximum participation from the members as they were able to freely discuss the issues affecting them.

Human Rights Violations Against Sex Workers

End Violence Against sex workers sex workers rights are human rights.
Some of the common human right violations sex workers are facing are:
1.Right to associate and organize
2.Right to be protected by the law.
3.Right to be free from violence
4.Right to be free from Discrimination
5.Right to privacy and freedom arbitrary interference
6.Right to health
7.Right to move and migrate
8.Right to work and free choice of employment

Transgender Day of Visibility

Kimaswo was part of Transgender Day of Visibility commemoration (March 31) which is a day to honor transgender community nationally and globally. Its also a day to remember those who have been persecuted or lost their lives for daring to be themselves, being bold, being visible.thanks a lot to trans -alliance for your invitation in kisumu.

Kisumu Residents get Surprised to learn that Male Sex Workers Exist #KisumuSexWorkersDay

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.

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