The military needs to ask whether it turned a blind eye to the impact of soldiers using sex workers in poor countries, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said while speaking about the murder of Agnes Wanjiru.
UK Defence Secretary concerned by British soldiers in Kenya visiting brothels
Wallace was responding to a question about the late Agnes Wanjiru.
In an interview with The House, a weekly political magazine relating to the British Houses of Parliament, Wallace said he was concerned by reports that soldiers at the base were using sex workers.
“We should be asking ourselves about what our soldiers are doing to respect women. Let’s start with that. Have we done too much turning a blind eye over the past 30 years about prostitution?”
An emotional Wallace added: “Never mind the poor women outside the unit, the poor ladies in the bars. What does it say to the women serving alongside the [male] soldiers [using prostitutes]? The soldiers who come back from a night out and talk about it.”
Asked if he thought people had looked the other way when it came to the use of sex workers, he said: “We have done, certainly in countries in poverty, where the British are there on a whole range of issues.”
The body of 21 year old Agnes Wanjiru, was found in 2012 after she reportedly went out partying with British soldiers at a hotel in Nanyuki, where the UK army has a permanent garrison.
Wanjiru was last seen one evening in March 2012 with a British soldier from the military base and her body was found about two months later.
UK High Commissioner to Kenya Jane Marriott last month expressed “outrage and concern” over Wanjiru’s death and promised high-level support to a Kenyan investigation into her murder.
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