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Why sex is a hot cake commodity in Kibera

David Maish
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Sex workers in Nairobi. [PHOTO/Nation]

Prostitution and other forms of sex trade are today at their optimum in Kibera.

An outsider seeing this will fail to recognise the real issues that cause this.

First, all slum areas mostly comprise people who are struggling with poverty. As such, any form of trade that promises to bring home easy money will be welcome. Drugs and prostitution become a go-to zone for boys and girls respectively. In other words, women in Kibera engage in sex as an economic activity.

Another reason is the socialisation process. Children are socialised into prostitution at tender ages. Some mothers in the trade are ready to offer their daughters to 'clients' to increase the family's income. When she has overwhelming clients she cannot satisfy, the daughter comes in. Moreso, men would prefer to go with these young girls for a higher price. 

Also, sex is not a big taboo in the slums. Parents start teaching sex education to their kids at very tender ages. This means that at such ages like 10 or thereby, the children are already sexually active. If therefore in the future their situation grows tough and the only option is sex trade, they already have enough 'experience'.

Because their friends are already in the trade, young girls will start aping what they do. Among friends who walk together, the trade is likely to be passed from one person to another easily. 

If authorities want to combat the problem in Kibera, they must first be cognisant of the above factors. Carrying out anti-prostitution campaigns is not enough. We must create jobs for the youths and send children to school to keep them away from the culture. 

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-David Maish

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