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Give Incentives And Waivers To Ex-Commercial Sex Workers To Ease Their Integration Back To Society.

A prominent politician has appealed to the County Government of Kiambu to significantly reduce or waive the cost of trade and business licensing fees for reformed drug addicts and ex-commercial sex workers who intended to start their own businesses as alternatives to their previous activities.

Kiambu TNA Coordinator Gladys Mwangi Chania said that this new group of ‘converts’ were vulnerable and if not well taken care of, they would end up reverting back into their illegal past.

Speaking at the YMCA Grounds in Thika where she was the chief guest in the launch of the “Street Off Foundation, a programme aimed at getting commercial sex workers off the streets, Chania said that the county government needed to come up with commerce incentives, tax abatement and exemptions that would help boost their ability to trade.

“Many of the commercial sex workers and street families across the country share similar woes. They are willing to reform and start new lives if only someone opened their doors. They are ready to start their own small enterprises, create jobs and inject cash into their community. But they are stymied by the lack of capital to kick start, the myriads of permitting fees, bureaucracy and other challenges posed by the authorities,” said Chania.

She added that it was very difficult to grow the economy if everyone was not part of the growth. She said that by ignoring the plight of these people, the society was bound to live with the challenges of insecurity and other forms of crime.

“The County Government needs to work out some innovative solutions to address this issue, remove obstacles and improve the business climate. They need to extend the Biashara Fund to these people, train them how to run businesses and manage finances. Otherwise, we should brace ourselves for more security threats since these people are increasing by the day” she said.

Chania said that giving handouts or food donations to the street kids was just an artificial remedy to the problem. She pointed out that this only augmented the problem since it encouraged them to come back to the streets.

She also said that rounding up commercial sex workers and arresting them without offering them an alternative was counterproductive and would never offer any solution.

“We need to fund and manage initiatives that encourage them as we give them the skills to set up their own businesses. They may be faced with several obstacles such as the lack of skills or the experience to start and effectively run a business but that is where we as leaders come in,” Chania said.

She pleaded with the ex-commercial sex workers who had decided to reform never to look back. She asked them to prudently use the money granted them by New Hope Church to improve their living standards and those of their dependents. She appealed to them to be the ambassadors of hope in order to attract more converts from the streets.

“It will be meaningless if this dream dies with you. Be the ambassadors of hope and attract new converts. Draw as many youthful commercial sex workers as you can from the streets towards this initiative,” she concluded.

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