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Kenya prostitutes in city protest

Marching down the streets of Nairobi, masked male and female Kenyan prostitutes call for the decriminalisation of 'sex workers'

AFP , Tuesday 6 Mar 2012
Kenya
Sex workers wear masks as they participate in a demonstration along the streets of Kenya's capital Nairobi, Tuesday, (Photo: Reuters).
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A group of masked male and female prostitutes marched the streets of the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Tuesday, demanding the legalisation of their trade.

Under red umbrellas and in red T-shirts, the protesters bore masks saying: "sex workers rights are human rights," and "my body, my business."

"Today we are hiding because of stigma and discrimination, because sex is our business," said one protester who gave his name only as John.

"It is only a matter of time before sex workers are decriminalised. It is not a matter of if, but when," said Peninah Mwangi, another demonstrator.

Prostitution is illegal in Kenya, but last month the Nairobi mayor suggested the practice be legalised at designated zones, sparking harsh criticism.

"We are ready to pay taxes. We would love to see sex work made legal. Sex workers are workers like any other and not criminals," said John Mathenge, the national coordinator of the Kenya Sex Workers Alliance.

He said they were ready for talks with the government on how their rights could be guaranteed.

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