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Sylvia Mwania not real name , 23, pensively sits at the veranda of her ram-shackled single room in the border town of Malaba. Business for her has for the last two years been shrinking due to harsh economic times and she is considering shifting base, possibly to Uganda, as she runs out of survival options on the Kenyan side of the border.
Mwania, who arrived in Malaba courtesy of a female friend who had promised her a hotel job, easily opened-up when the Star approached her for an interview. She recounted the tribulations the workers undergo in their daily schedules that involve luring clients to their rooms for sex after which they are paid anything between Sh and Sh depending on individual customer capability.
She said before she joined the sex trade, she used to see her friend with a lot of money "whenever she visited us in the village". That was back in They arrived in Malaba late at night from Kajiado where she lived. All along the over kilometre journey, her associate called people Mwania later learned were her clients.
Minutes after arrival, two men joined them. Mwania recalls words her friend said that she says remain glued in her mind, "Never worry, you will wake up with money tomorrow morning. That was the night Mwania first had sexual intercourse in exchange for money. She presently does her 'job' in her own cubical in the same building.
Mwania is among the hundreds of sex workers operating in Malaba town complaining of hard economic times. The OSBP arrangement combines the traditional two-stop border posts into one and also consolidates other border control functions in one shared space. With its implementation, trucks ferrying goods from the Port of Mombasa, once cleared at the Coastal town, do not necessarily have to stop for clearance at either Malaba or Busia while crossing into Uganda. OSBP was created to cut the transportation time by saving up to a third of the time previously taken to ferry goods.