#JKL Live with Rahab Omunzi, Former Sex Worker Turned Social Worker
Jeff Koinange Live with Rahab Omunzi, Former Sex Worker and Rape Victim Anne Nyakinyua part 2
Former call girl sings new melody
Rahab Gikaru Omunzi, a reformed commercial sex worker, has shaken off her shackles and is reaching out to prostitutes and also writing a book about her experiences.
How did you get into prostitution?
I went into it aged 14 and left at 25. A friend’s mother introduced me to the trade. She told me it was an easy way to earn extra money for school fees and to support my family.
And true to her word, by the end of the first night I had Sh30, 000 but lost my virginity to a man old enough to be my father.
I would accompany dignitaries and personalities to events as their dates.
How did you come out?
I woke up one day and realised that what I was doing was affecting me as a person. I was dating a gangster and was suicidal.
My uncle referred me to a church next to his business and my turning point was when the pastor asked, “Who are you when no one is seeing you? Can God trust you with anything?” I realised I was empty and needed something to fill the void.
There are spirits that follow you when you have sex before its time. Before you get into sex, are you willing to deal with the consequences? Sometimes we think tunakaziwa but there is something those before us know that we don’t know.
How was the shift from bad girl to good girl?
It wasn’t easy. People were willing to bring me down at any moment. But God gave me good friends and a praying mother who was always there for me.
I was focused on where I was going. Every time I wanted to have sex, I called people to walk with me.
Most people are willing to change but they have no one to help them walk the walk or even sacrifice their time for them.
I was surprised to find that I had talents and gifts. My attitude about myself before then was zero. I could not even believe my husband when he told me I was beautiful.
What leads women to prostitution?
People are on the streets for different reasons. Some are there to pay their bills, some have been chased from home, and others have sick family members they need to take care of.
There are four groups of commercial sex workers namely, street prostitute, strip dancers, brothel prostitutes and the escort or call girl level.
There are those who enjoy being on the streets because they do not want to leave. Others are 50-50, while others desperately want to get out.
Finally there are those looking for alternatives, may be a man to marry, a business deal; for them it is a networking forum.
I am more interested in those who want to get out. I am not an activist for commercial sex workers but I am a deliverer trying to tell the girls that if I could get out, they can too.”
Most of them are just victims of circumstances. They may look arrogant and rowdy but they have a soft spot.
If they can get someone to bring out the God-given abilities and potential in them apart from their sexuality, you will discover there are businesswomen, teachers, wives, mothers, ministers, accountants, waiting to come out.
How are you helping the commercial sex workers?
It takes God to get out. That is why I want to be there for girls who want to get out of prostitution. There are so many things you can get addicted to: sex, drugs and alcohol.
The girls will take anything to get high. Very few do it when they are sober.
Some have been molested, some given animals to sleep with by clients, others gang raped, and no one is there to talk with them.
They become hardened. No one cares for them. They have been stigmatised. Rahab comes to tell them there is hope. I tell them that the past cannot define their future.
I go to the streets at night to distribute condoms and talk to the women.
And to live to her words, you will often find Rahab on the streets of Nairobi and its environs, issuing condoms to commercial sex workers (not to encourage promiscuity but to curb transmission of diseases), visiting them in their homes to distribute slippers and school backpacks to their children or just listening and talking to them.
Sometimes I get sponsorship for training for some of them so they can learn a skill and leave the streets.
As I mingle with these commercial sex workers and find out their names, phone numbers and the reasons they are on the streets, my eye is on the look out for those desperately seeking to get out.
Though I work with different churches, my home church has been very supportive of the work I am doing.
I strongly believe that I am an arm of the body of Christ reaching out to prostitutes. I can go where some cannot. We are all called differently but under one body.
Aren’t you afraid of speaking out?
No, I now find healing from speaking out about my life. Everything I went through has made me a stronger and better person. I view things differently.
Everyone has a Pandora’s box. I have decided to open mine. If many of us would speak about our experiences, we would help out other people.
She can be reached through at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.