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Kenyans want commercial sex work legalised

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More than 75 percent of Kenyans want commercial sex working legalized and regulated through a taxation regime to tame crime, drug abuse and spread of HIV/Aids in the country.

Latest survey by private intelligence firm, Spectrum Network international also say commercial sex workers are ready to operate in a regulated industry where most will be monitored through registered groups.

It has emerged that more than 81.5 percent of Kenyans have had an encounter with commercial sex workers while conducting their business.

The rate of commercial sex working in Kenya is noted to have increased especially in urban settings at 83.7pecent and 70.1 percent in rural settings.

According to the public perception survey released yesterday, 76.6 percent of the people interviewed said commercial sex working should be turned into a profession where workers will be required to meet operational requirements like other industries.

Kenyans who said the trade should be taxed accounted for 74.8percent While 52.2percent of commercial sex workers interviewed confirmed they were ready to be regulated by the government and own societies.

A total of 1,224 survey respondents and 406 commercial sex workers were proportionately sampled across all the 47 counties in months exercise between September and October.

Sixty three percent of sex workers reported that legalizing commercial sex workers would significantly reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS and crime as majority would act professionally and ensure use of protection.

They said the move would encourage formation of registered groups that would monitor their behavior and lend them money.

“The country is now graduating into a “reputable” sex destination in Africa, competing against bigger markets like Brazil and Thailand,” said Spectrum Network Intelligence, Managing Director, Sam Jim Mwanyasi.

The Government has been blamed for perpetrating the spiral of commercial sex working hampering efforts to stop the trade in Kenya, with 51.6percent of respondents saying it is doing too little on its part.

The survey also found out that on average, a commercial sex worker makes Sh 1,500 in a day within the range of Sh 800 and Sh 2,500 country wide.

Five years ago, is estimated that there was an average of 6.1percent of commercial sex workers in Kenyan population that can make a minimum daily income of Sh 3.66 Billion.

Researchers at the firm said this could give the economy a cumulative of Sh 1.3 Trillion through taxes annually.

“An extrapolation to the current date implies that the government loses more than Sh 2.2 trillion annually by failing to tax the increasing number of commercial sex workers,” said Lead research officer, Meshark Ndolo.

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