PITCH Sex Work Kenya KESWA
PITCH Sex Work Kenya KESWA
KESWA (Kenyan Sex Work Alliance) strengthens its 30 sex worker-led member organisations through advocacy and leadership training. Currently KESWA provides technical support for key population communities in 10 County Technical Working groups. Together with HOYMAS, KESWA is developing a national advocacy plan for sex workers and participates in the National Technical Working group on key populations. KESWA opposes stigma and discrimination by organising sensitisation workshops for hundreds of police officers, religious leaders, journalists, healthcare providers, county leaders and community leaders. KESWA maintains partnerships with civil society organisations, human right organisations, policy makers and other key population organisations to continuously advocate for sex workers’ rights. KESWA monitors and documents human rights violations and advocates for decriminalisation of sex work through research and policy influencing.
Partners under PITCH aim to beat the AIDS epidemic in countries that are most affected by HIV. If sex workers have equal access to HIV-related and sexual and reproductive services, if equal and full rights for sex workers are realised and if a strong civil society exists then sex workers will be able to work under safe conditions. Specific outcomes of KESWA’s work include strengthened sex worker-led organisations that are represented at local and national level meeting and provision of shadow reports to for example the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
30 member sex worker-led organisations, 250 judiciary stakeholders, police stakeholders, community leaders and religious leaders will be sensitised on sex workers health and human rights. In addition, 90 newly elected local leaders in 6 counties will be trained on sex workers' rights, as they are involved in the County Technical Working Groups spread accross the country.
Kenyan sex workers deal with a lot of violence, stigma and discrimination. There is limited data about sex workers' lives and health. Sex workers have trouble accessing their rights and health services within the current political and religious climate. Despite Kenya’s strong political commitment to the overall HIV response, there is little progress in decriminalisation of sex work and there is limited funding for HIV work.
1 in 4 sex workers experience physical or sexual violence and 44% of sex workers are affected by arrests, intimidation, and physical violence perpetrated by police. HIV prevalence in Kenya’s counties range from 2% to 26%, with 80% of the national HIV burden concentrated in 20 out of 47 counties. A lot of sex workers live with HIV: among female sex workers the HIV prevalence is 29% and for male sex workers HIV prevalence is 26.3%.