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Is Prostitution Taking over as Thika's New Cash Crop?

Some Thika residents are now expressing concern over the increase in the number of commercial sex workers and rate of prostitution in the town.

These days, prostitution is the order of the day here. Business increases at night as twilight girls report to ‘work. According to available estimates, over 500 women flock into Thika town from the neighbouring Juja, Gatundu, Gatanga, Maragwa, SabaSaba, Murang'a, Masinga and Mwingi daily. You will find them standing by the walls of some buildings in the CBD every evening and early in the morning, waiting for clients. Some are even courageous enough to call out from afar.

These days they have taken it a notch higher that they are doing it throughout the day, may be heading to the Vision 2030 call for a 24-hour economy. There is even a ‘special offer’ for those who want a ‘quickie’ during the day. With as little as sh.200 (sh100 for the room and the balance for her services), one is good to go. And for those who cannot afford to pay for the room, the dark allies within the CBD,  the gardens along Mama Ngina Drive and the structures within Thika’s main bus station have provided a safe haven especially at night where ‘Team Mafisi’ will, in a flash of a second, change their engine oil for as little as sh.50.

It is also worrisome and of great concern that due to its high number of education institutions within the town, many nightclubs are now hosting youngsters so as to attract the clients. Some students are now strippers in some of these clubs with others being part-time prostitutes. Elderly men throng these clubs to hang up with girls the age of their daughters.

During last year’s Jamuhuri Day celebrations, TNA Kiambu County Coordinator, Madam Gladys Chania Mwangi lamented that Thika was currently witnessing an upsurge of street commercial workers who were openly and shamelessly trading their 'wares' on our streets yet no one was raising a finger about the issue. In some buildings within the town, there existed businesses whose rooms that had been subdivided to provide room for illegal lodgings.

"How do you explain a business which sells pork to unsuspecting clients but behind it the owner has subdivided it to create room for a bed where commercial sex workers traded with impunity? This pathetic and quite unacceptable!" She lashed out.

School girls as young as 10, most of whom come from humble backgrounds, have also joined in the fray.

Then there is this new tread of late involving married couples cheating on their spouses during the day. Lunchtime sex has now become part of the day’s menu especially for the working married women who do not want to attract the suspicion of their spouses and public scrutiny. If you just do an impromptu weekday spot check at most ‘decent’ hotels in Thika during the day (especially between 10am-3:30pm) you will discover a 90% room occupancy rate. The most notorious days are Tuesdays and Thursdays due to their low activity levels and being least suspicious.

These cheating spouses will always have another person or project that can be a cover story that will allow them to get away from their spouses, house (if they are housewives) or office so as to be out for a few hours.
Well, previously, Thika town has always been known as an industrial town and the home of Kenya’s largest pineapple producer, Del Monte. Unfortunately, these days, prostitution is slowly taking over as Thika’s top cash crop. Thika town is fertile ground for prostitution. The town has a vibrant economy, thanks to many manufacturing industries and commercial and agricultural enterprises. The money in this town is luring so many young women from the neighbouring districts.

At one time, the regional director of Medical Assistance Programme (MAP) gave an analysis of the blood donated in Thika that showed dangerous HIV prevalence levels amongst students. In primary schools, 17% of the 22,139 pupils were HIV positive. The situation was worse in secondary schools where 22% of the 5,531 students tested HIV positive. Over 37% of the local population then was said to harbour HIV, having a spillover effect on the neighbouring districts.

The main problem here is that Thika has a lot of money and alcohol at its disposal. Alcohol and prostitution as you all know go hand in hand. Many men like sex and search for it every week or even every day. We have these girls and women from poor background who will do anything to earn a living. We have the young girls from college who need money or just want to finance their life by selling sexual service for money. Then there comes this other lot of married women who are ‘starved’ at home, want adventure or to revenge their husbands’ infidelity or are living in this misconstrued notion of empowerment. The problem of prostitution here is quite complex and needs quite a great deal of wisdom to tackle it.

Yes! Now you know. Over to you Thika People, the ball is on your court now.

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