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Inside Nairobi’s upmarket brothels

It is 6:40pm and daylight is fast fading into dusk along Amboseli Road in Nairobi’s Lavington suburb. The road is littered with dry leaves rustling in an evening breeze on vacant sidewalks, seeming to lead a client to their secret rendezvous. Gazing upon the scene from inside the car you are immediately struck by the enviable ambiance of the neighbourhood.

We turn left to join the discreet Amboseli Lane. Immediately, silence envelops the tree-cloistered street — a silence not ruined and stupor not broken except by the roar and headlights of cars maneuvering from the end of a pot-holed stretch. Guards regard our vehicle as if to question where we are going.

Keen not to rouse suspicion, we drive gently to the fork of Amboseli Lane, trying to figure out where the unmarked house of sin is located. As if reading our intentions, a security guard approaches and asks what we are looking for.

“We are trying to locate a house where we can enjoy drinks with beautiful girls, know the place?” a colleague asks slyly, slipping a Sh200 note into the guard’s hand. “Follow me,” says the guard.

We are led to a white gate manned by another guard, with an intimidating physique. Later it would emerge, the establishment had more than a dozen private guards to repulse unwanted attention and deal with any trouble. No sooner had we entered the white gate than we saw a black one ahead, as the one behind was quickly locked.

“Lower your car windows, mkubwa (sir),” a stern voice commanded. He searched the car in what lasted not more than a minute. “You can proceed…have fun, we have all you want,” he said teasingly as he opened the second gate.

We parked the car and, stepping out, it was clear a party was going down in the old well-maintained one-storey-bricked-bungalow from where suppressed music wafted to the outside.

It was the covertly famous House 544B. Outside the main house was a well-manicured lawn, decorated in a nexus of dimly-lit pavements presumably for catwalks. PD Wikendi sleuths delved to unravel what goes on behind those walls, taking care not to have their identity uncovered.

True to the security guard’s words, skimpily dressed girls were legion, barely concealing their ambition to sexually satisfy clients who kept creeping in discreetly.

After enjoying a few drinks at the lobby, we ventured into a small in-house pub dubbed 210 Lunge Bar. Inside the crowded mini bar were sex-workers in revealing halter-neck suspenders, slingshots, pothole mini dresses, skyscraper heels and anything less in fabric. To the left of the pub there was a dance pole from where a nude stripper was entertaining a crescent of ogling men.

The rule here is not to ask names of fellow clients, even less to engage in familiar conversation that may reveal identity. Most of the girls left little to the imagination as they posed seductively in various stages of undress, aggresively wooing newcomers who had not yet, or were reluctant to team up.

The call girls, tellingly in their mid-to-late-20s, were blatantly touting their trade. Many did not have to wait long though, as men apparently acquainted to the scene soon led them away to the rooms.

The brothel is open 24/7 and is served by at least 50 women in alternate shifts. Sources not familiar with our probe mission revealed that most clients are working, married men, often in high income brackets.

The place is as full by day as it is by night. Some clients who obviously leave their houses going to ‘work’ park their cars at the office and take a taxi to the house of sin. And it is not the only such location of the flesh business, several others have been opened in posh estates where they conduct business discreetly, said the sources.

Even during downtimes and morning shifts, there are usually many girls in the line-up, and the clients are seemingly always spoilt for choice. Clients are given a cap or hood to drape over their brow if they so wish to conceal identity.

Some opt to bypass the bar where the pole and catwalk shows take place and head straight to rooms, with doors designed to face away from each other. “What happens here stays here” is the motto. For purposes of compiling this report, we requested for the service of a sex-worker to accompany us into one of the rooms.

The charge per client is Sh15,000. Half goes to the girl, half to the brothel operator, only identified as Sally and usually unseen at the place. Dori (not her real name) was ours for service, not literally, of course. Dori led us to a room upstairs. They are simple clean rooms that come with a private shower and a large bed like would be found in a high-end hotel room.

The rooms have been kitted out with some stunning décor for clients to have a home atmosphere. She intimated that escorts work for two weeks, with a break of four days to tend to their young families because most of them have children.

“It is not something we enjoy doing, but we have to provide for our children no matter what. I have an education but there are no jobs out there… it is a crazy, unfair world,” Dori choked up, still not at ease that we just wanted to talk to her. We posed like a group who rescue commercial sex workers by fetching them jobs.

“We take drugs such as weed at times to escape reality. You feel dirty, but even though you can quit, you seem trapped,” she said. She confided that some of the sex workers are high fliers, some having quit their jobs to chase the quick buck mined in brothels from wealthy clients.

Some few women are married and only do day shifts and return home in the evening. There was bad drama some time back when a husband ran into his wife whom he had been tipped worked there, but Dori did not reveal much detail.

University graduates struggling to find jobs have also been lured into the business, which, once in, becomes an addiction, according to Dori. We learned that those who seek brothel services say they just want to have fun, and claim to be in toxic marriages and relationships, said Dori.

“Some apparently use us as training ground to bolster their performance at home, men talk a lot once inside these rooms,” she said.. You can tell the type of clientele going by the automobiles parked in the compound; they are folks with fat wallets. PD Wikendi has learned, police officers protect these high-end brothels in city suburbs.

The authorities get their share from the owners to protect the businesses, and it is the reason they operate with impunity. Sally, the owner of the Lavington establishment is said to swap women with her Westlands counterpart, whose “massage parlour” is located around a popular mall.

These two are some of the upmarket brothels in Nairobi raking millions for their owners. Other popular brothels are located in Ngong Road’s China Centre area, Kilimani, Kileleshwa and Westlands.

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