Professor Teela Sanders’ research sits on the borders of criminology and sociology, exploring the inter-relationship between sexuality and socio-legal structures. The COVID-19 outbreak and the policies put into place to manage it are creating severe, life-threatening challenges to marginalised communities around the world. Professor Sanders is exploring the impact of the virus and its management on female sex workers in Kenya.
Through Professor Sanders’ Nairobi-based partner organisation, the Bar Hostesses Empowerment and Support Project (BHESP), it has come to light that many of the restrictions designed to contain the outbreak are creating conditions that adversely affect the sex worker community. These measures include a night curfew and closure of public spaces including bars and clubs. Health facilities have been drastically reduced and transport prices have increased, reducing access to essential services. These changes have had an immediate and intense impact on sex workers, leading to greater exposure to danger and risk.
Professor Sanders is researching these changes and developing ways to deliver health care to sex workers during the restrictions. She is exploring new and enhanced technological ways to deliver these services whilst adhering to COVID-19 restrictions.