It is some minutes past 10pm on a Friday night. The congested streets are still alive and buzzing with activity, which does not show signs of slowing down. There are revellers enjoying a drink after a long week and small-scale traders taking advantage of them to make a killing.
On closer inspection, you notice a third group of people. They are commercial sex workers. City dwellers are not new to prostitution with Escorts in Nairobi, escorts in Kenya girls , with Nairobi experiencing an influx of women flocking the city to engage in what is regarded as the world’s oldest profession.
Lately, commercial sex workers have changed tack, moving from their well-known spot on Koinange Street to set up new bases in residential estates.
In what could be regarded as a devolution of services from the central business district, these ‘night nurses’ have poured onto the streets of densely populated areas to ply their trade.
Eastlands and areas along Thika Road are the most affected residential areas in the capital and residents are very concerned due to the influx of Nairobi Raha ladies peddling their flesh every where.
According to Patrick Musimbi, who lives in AA, the trend is eroding the moral fabric and values that society stands for.
“They carry out their business casually, like someone selling tomatoes. It is disturbing but there is nothing we can do about it,” he says.
Lined with stalls that are used by traders selling groceries and second-hand clothes during the day, the main street linking Kobil Petrol Station to the interior parts of AA is the centre of the commercial sex trade.
The dimly-lit streets provide a perfect cover for the ladies, who line the deserted stalls as they wait for their clients, mainly comprising area residents, regular clients and revellers.
The ladies work with rental house managers who let their houses for the night business at Sh150.
The prostitutes also earn a commission for every client they take to the rooms, which adds to their daily earnings.
Anne Mwangi (not her real name), sheds more light on how they go about their business.
“Our charges normally depend on various factors. Like when it rains, we hike our price because such weather will keep most people in their houses. Normally we charge between Sh150 and Sh200, but sometimes it could go lower or higher depending on the customer,” she says.
Pipeline estate, which is in the same locality, is a notorious commercial sex hub thanks to the high population. The area is favoured by many because of its affordable house rates and general cost of living.
Here, the flesh hawking business starts as early as 8pm, with some of the commercial sex workers having travelled all the way from Machakos, Kangundo and other neighbouring areas.
But it is not always rosy and satisfying as Ken (not his real name) found out. After paying for the services, he was not able to ‘rise to the occasion’, and he accused the women of using ‘kamuti’ (charms) to attract men.
“These people have some sort of powers that they use to ‘paralyse’ your manhood just before you become intimate,” said a client who sought anonymity.
Apart from the sex workers and countless drinking joints, the area also has strip clubs that offer all sorts of services including short sexual romps with the strippers at a fee.
Using beautiful lasses that could easily give Miss Kenya a run for her money, the clubs have identified uncharted waters and are filling the gap that has been left by the strip clubs found in the central business district.
These clubs are well hidden and under lock and key most of the time; very few people are allowed in by no-nonsense-looking gate men.
Away from Embakasi, Kayole is another populous estate with a large number of bars, so it’s a no-brainer that the area is a commercial sex hub as well.
These women of the night can be seen standing on the pavements almost naked and waiting for clients. They go as far as hawking themselves to any man who shows even the slightest interest.
Tenants have tapped into the demand for cheap houses for the business, and have built lodges around popular clubs that serve the prostitutes and their clients.
This worrying trend has not gone unnoticed, with churches and residents launching initiatives to save the community from the vice.
In a recent interview with The Standard, Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations boss Henry Ochieng’ said they had received reports from concerned locals about prostitution in city estates.
“Residents from various estates have raised concerns regarding this problem. The most affected areas include Eastlands, mainly Umoja, Kayole, Ngara and Dandora. In upmarket neighbourhoods, Hurlingham is notorious,” he says.