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Trucks line up looking for parking. 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.