10-09-2020 by Freddie del Curatolo
In Kenya they represent a large part of the income of the "freelancers", they have a union that knows how to make itself heard and some of them also pay taxes, compared to the thousands who work "in black" (but not only "with black"...).
They will not raise the national GDP, but something else thanks to them, from what world is world, has always risen.
With the pandemic emergency, however, the "sex workers" of Kenya, the bar fireflies are exhausted.
After three months of lockdown and curfew and two others in which the ban on walking at night and the closure of all bars have closed their workplaces and thinned out customers, the girls of life in Kenya who, unlike in many Western and Asian countries do not have pimps or even mafias behind them, but freely exercise as if they were waitresses or showgirls, go through a crisis that through them has brought entire families and thousands of children to their knees.
In the slums of Nairobi, the "night ladies" become "Bellés de jour" but have difficulty in selling their graces to customers because there are no places where they can offer their services.
Often the pubs that the Government has decided to keep closed for another 30 days also have rooms per minute, while the local pubs, although they can, have not even reopened because of the rules imposed by the hospitality protocol.
"We certainly can't host our clients at home - said one of them in an interview with a national television channel - because our children would find out that their mother is not a cashier or a dancer. I have six to feed, including those of my sister who is no longer there".
Survival has never been a moral issue, in poor neighborhoods and paradoxically this harsh reality has increased the dignity of some of them.
The union is proof of this.
It's useless to lie, Kenya lives on habits related to bar life, alcohol and sex in the first place.
Covid-19 is radically changing them and the government seems to have taken advantage of the situation to try to bring their people back on the right path.
The trade unionists of Mombasa in June, when the County was still closed, had asked Governor Hassan Joho to be included in the list of "essential services" for which citizens could move throughout the region.
In Nairobi after the August extension, they asked for access to free tampons to regain the trust of their clients.
Outside the slums, in the capital, there is a flourishing of appointments in private homes and special parties.
In some of these, some politicians have also been caught trying to return home at night or groups of orgies.
Nothing strange and above all nothing different from what happens elsewhere, but it is the economic side that worries the category. After four exhausting months even customers are short of cash.
For most of the sex workers, the daily income does not exceed five euros. Currently, however, even for the most willing, there are no jobs that can guarantee this income.
For the girls in the center and neighborhoods of Nairobi well, there were also tips up to 500 euros per day and their clothes, apartments for rent and life in general was good.
Now many of them, who really look like models or "schoolgirls" as it is often ironic when foreign tourists fall in love with them on the coast, are forced to lower their demands a lot, but often convince themselves that it is not worth it, as one of them notes in the national newspaper The Standard. Moreover, they do not even have the loophole of tourist resorts like Malindi, Watamu and especially Mtwapa and Nyali, because tourists do not see them.
In short, once the good girls used to say "if I am bankrupt, I will have to prostitute myself".
Today it is the prostitutes who think that all in all it would be okay to be a floor maid in a hotel or a worker in a textile company.
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