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Bicycle taxis hustle for business. Loud music pounds out of the bars as alcohol flows freely and half dressed sex workers gather around seeking for clients. The area's HIV prevalence rate stands at 7. The severity of the Aids crisis in this area is said to be the town's position as a major cross-border trading center. Along the border is the town's red light street, Casablanca. A truck driver Nicholas Wachira who often plies the Busia route agreed to be our guide when we made the trip to Casablanca.
In one of the bars along the street, we position ourselves in a dark corner and order drinks. Nicholas who is a regular visitor here, walks away returning after about 15 minutes with a woman. He introduces me as his sister. We exchanged pleasantries and after a long chat, Goreti Nasuguga, who is a sex worker agrees to tell us her story.
She has been in this business for four years now. At Sh per client, Goreti tells us she sometimes makes up to Sh a night, although there are some bad days. As sex workers, they also have to part with a certain percentage for the bar owner for giving them the liberty to operate from the premises. They pay Sh every two hours for the rooms.
According to her, there are more than 20 sex workers coming from both Kenya and Uganda operating from this bar. She says lack of employment drove her to the business. While in other towns commercial sex workers tend to practice in secluded places, the vice has taken Busia by storm. When clients demand for sex without protection, Jane agrees to it since the charges are higher. Nicholas tells us sex in Busia can be as cheap as Sh Having been a long distant driver for more than two years, the year-old says he has 'seen it all and done it all,' and now have decided to take it slow.
Nicholas has lost count of the women he has had sex with. He slept with different women in all the six African countries he has been to. Though he says he is a reformed man, he hasn't gathered the courage to go for a HIV test. Another truck driver, Mwaura Kinyanjui who has been crossing different borders for four years says the job is dangerous and requires discipline. The year-old father of two warns the young people who are single to avoid venturing into the truck business. The problem is temptation," he said.