Cases of child prostitution are on the rise in informal settlements of Naivasha sub-county with Covid-19 pandemic said to be the major contributing factor.
The most affected slums were identified as Karagita, KCC, Kabati and Kihoto which are home to hundreds of low-income earners mainly from flower farms around Lake Naivasha.
There are fears that the number of teenage prostitutes in the area could rise further following the government decision to suspend the ‘Kazi Mtaani’ initiative that benefitted most of the youths. Experts are also predicting a ‘baby-boom’ among the minors come next year.
This emerged during a meeting organized by Lifebloom Service International Organization to discuss the effects of the pandemic in informal settlements in Naivasha in the last seven months.
According to the project manager of the organization Charles Kasuku, child prostitution had become the norm in the settlements.
The manager added that this had been aggravated by use of drugs and alcohol by both the parents and minors leading to a major crisis.
Kasuku explained that the organization which deals with commercial sex workers had identified 205 of the women and was providing them with food, sanitary pads and other personal essentials in addition to sensitizing them on the dangers associated with their behaviors.
“We have conducted sensitization sessions with them and we are happy to report that more than 20 of them have started their own business and are no longer involved in sex trade,” he said.
One of the sex workers identified as Lucy admitted that poverty and unemployment had forced them into the trade despite the rising cases of Covid-19.
Naivasha Assistant County Commissioner Brian Mureithi regretted that some parents were selling relief food to sustain their drinking habits and later forced their children into prostitution for food which was criminal.
He however admitted that the move to suspend the Kazi Mtaani initiative may have contributed to the vice to a certain extent but was optimistic that the programme will resume come January.
By Esther Mwangi