Sex for jobs in Kenya export processing zones

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martin dufresne
Sex for jobs in Kenya export processing zones

"(...)You ask a man to use a condom and he tells you that you are too young
to infect him."

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KENYA: Sex for jobs in export processing zones (from the CATW-L distribution list)


NAIROBI, 24 November
2008 (PlusNews) - At the gates of one of Kenya's export processing zones
(EPZs) men and women push and shove each other, trying to get their national
identity cards taken by the guards. 

Having one's card taken increases
the chances of being employed that day as a casual labourer at one of the
factories set up to boost the country's export capacity. Men often bribe
guards and managers to get jobs, but sex is the preferred inducement for

"Let me be honest with you, for us women, and especially young
ones like us, it is difficult to get a job here without having sex with the
bosses," said Rosaline Muendo*, who has worked as a seamstress in an EPZ for
the past three years. 

Jacqueline Adhiambo*, another casual
labourer at the EPZ, says her manager is also her boyfriend. "The person who
is recruiting you is not the same person who will be supervising you or
renewing your contract," she said. "You have to please all these people and
they just want to sleep with you." 

According to a 2007 Kenya human
rights and business country risk assessment, more than 90 percent of female
export processing zone workers have experienced or observed sexual abuse at
their workplace. More than 40,000 people are employed in over 40 EPZs, which
produce around 10 percent of the nation's exports. 

Concerns about
possible HIV infection are less important than the desperate need for money
to feed families. "The power to use a condom or not lies with the man," said
Doris Mwende*, 23, who has worked at an EPZ company for two years. "You ask
a man to use a condom and he tells you that you are too young to infect
him." (...)

Full story here

Flesh Mapping: Vancouver Markets Pacific Women discussion today live from 2 to 4 PST today: "Can We Connect the Building of Pacific Empires to the Growth of
Prostitution and Trafficking?" here