A 40-year-old prostitute, Sarah Mutero, who claimed to have ‘serviced’ several thousands of men in the course of 23 years of active commercial sex work, received a parcel of land as part of her retirement benefits from wellwishers.
Mutero received a parcel of land worth Sh120,000 (about $1,190) in Makuyu, Murang’a County, in Kenya.
For 23 years, Mutero had been a sex worker, having serviced thousands of men at her hometown of Embu, Nairobi city centre and in Majengo area.
She claims she would service 20 or more men in a day in her younger years. But as age set in, with hard economic times and stiff competition, she could only manage four customers daily.
This means an average of 100 men per month and in 23 years, she has taken care of thousands of men, her interviewer surmised.
“It is not an easy thing to satisfy such a big number of men, some being ruthless, yet we end up poor.
“We earn peanuts that we can’t even save. Everything I have earned in servicing needy men went to clothes, shelter and food for my children as well as education,” she said.
She warns that in sex business, pricing is determined by standards and location.
“In villages, Majengo and places like that, a session — popularly called ‘shot’ — goes for Sh100 (less than one American dollar). In the city centre, it costs Sh200 (about $2) and higher in upmarket areas,” she told her interviewer.
In Majengo, sex workers rent mud houses for Sh4,500 (about $45) per month and have to close business at 11 pm, she said.
She said she was among sex sellers who spent the night at work, while those with young children or those whose husbands were not aware of what they did for a living went home early.
In the sex business, she said, morals were thrown out of the window if one wanted to make good money.
“If a shot is Sh100, how many men do you have to sleep with to make ends meet? Many.
“That is why we don’t disregard customers as far as they can pay and are above 18 years.
“Though I am old, young men prefer me because I treat them well, and if they are beginners, we show them how to put on condoms and do enjoyable sex.
“My clients are aged between 18 and 35 years,” she revealed.
Mutero is among the old sex workers in the city and has decided to retire and set a precedent for her workmates, some in their 60s.
“Young women are taking over. I also find it weird when some customers tell me I served them five or 10 years ago. They wonder how I am still alive and in the business.
“I turned down many asking to marry me, especially after I gave them delightful sex,” she said.
She added, “I want to retire and settle down quietly. I am not addicted to a point I will retreat to the streets. No, I just want a quiet life with my children and I am not interested in getting a husband.”
The mother of two sons jumped into prostitution aged 17 in 1995 after a stranger impregnated her and vanished.
Her first-born is a secondary school leaver, while his second son is in form four, but struggling with school fees.
“They (her sons) respect me and I suspect they know I am a sex worker. They have prayed that I shift from what I am doing. I wish my children do not get into this business or seek sex from prostitutes,” she stated.
Meanwhile, some well-wishers have promised to pool funds to build her a house after she left her commercial sex work.
Stanley Ngara, aka King of Condoms of LVCT who is spearheading a programme to help sex workers quit in a humane way, said sex workers have played an important role in the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“Men will seek sex in all ways, but when it comes to sex workers, it is a different game.
“They don’t accept intercourse without condoms; however, many men insist on paying more for unprotected sex.
“Society has a negative perception of sex workers; but in reality, they are on the front line in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases,” said Ngara
He added; “Their clients are men in other relationships and from surveys, seven out of 10 clients ask for unprotected sex.
“Out of these seven, five are willing to pay handsomely. If they accept such deals, you can imagine how HIV/AIDS can spread.
“We must appreciate them with a retirement package.