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Ex-prostitute fights for sex workers' rights

09 September 2014, 17:35 Daisy Onkoba

Nairobi - Ann Wanjiku draws the character of an iron lady who has gone against the norms and beliefs of the society to see the rights of sex workers respected.

Wanjiku, who began sex work 21 years ago, has worked passionately and tirelessly towards ensuring sex workers' rights within Nakuru County are safeguarded.

However, Wanjiku who began sex work after her husband abandoned her with a one-day-old baby, has faced discrimination and stigmatization in both her work and personal life.

“Due to stigmatization, harassment by the police, abuse, mistreatment by clients and discrimination that I endured, I decided to start an organization called Smart Ladies, to help address issues affecting sex workers in Nakuru and improve their working environment,” she said.

Also Read: Commercial sex workers launch safe sex campaign

Wanjiku’s three-year-old organisation has helped over 300 ladies to discover their rights, access friendly health service and civic educations on human rights and health care.

Nevertheless, the organisation has faced myriad of challenges including stringent laws and financial constrains that are stumbling block towards achieving respect for sex workers' rights.

Wanjiku calls for decriminalisation of sex work and failure to legalize sex work saying it would help sex workers to silently gain acceptance and permission to operate without paying tax.

“I urge the government through the Ministry of Health to improve health access for sex worker to help reduce sexual transmitted infections,” she concluded.

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