Prostitution – Scourge That Has Stayed Too Long
Driving along Nigeria’s major cities in Nigeria like Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Benin, they pepper the streets giving their own glow to the landscape. Here, creed, colour, shape, and age are infinitesimal details. Fear of the unknown is alien to them. Unlike most people who are scared of the night, not these ones whose business thrive the most in the shadow of the night. What matters is value of the night or day. Cash and carry is the logo here.
In different kinds of revealing costumes that leave little or nothing to the imagination, they announce their wares to those interested in their kind of trade.
And from their increased number on the streets as well as the timelessness of this trade, said to be the oldest for women, patrons will never cease to come.
This is because the woman’s body holds a lot of mystery and passion for the man. Men would never stop questing for the nectar that comes from the woman’s body, hence the decision of these women to make men pay for this pleasure trip.
Welcome to the world of commercial sex workers, if don’t mind prostitutes. Our concern here isn’t so much that the trade is increasing in patronage to include married women, undergraduates, underage girls or those known as corporate prostitutes, far from it. But our concern is the negative effects of this trade on the entire spectrum of the society. Although the trade itself connotes negativism but its seemingly prosperity is the only magnet needed to attract both the young and old women looking for quick cash and connections.
They seldom look beyond the immediate gain to the harm the illicit habit means to their health and lives generally.
This dark side of this profession to the practitioners themselves is what our Snr. Reporter, Anthonia Soyingbe in this report x-rays.
Bisola Arowosafe (not real name) is a beauty to behold any day. Elegant, nice curves, well endowed, and extremely pretty is not one of those who get carried away by their good look, as she is extremely humble to the core. From an average home, her parents inculcated into her and her siblings the fear of God in the Christian way.
She became a chorister in Church at age nine and by the time she became a teenager, was heading her church’s junior choir. Trouble started when Bisola gained admission to a popular Federal University in South West, Nigeria, to study Mass Communication.
She got attracted to the wrong friends and before she knew what was happening she became an Aristo (slang for girl that sleeps with married men for fun, contact, money but never love). She met dignitaries in the cause of her philandering. Needless to say, she missed classes and took to either exchanging her body for grades or using money for the same purpose. In her line of trade, she acquired landed property, cars and other luxuries associated with her new life and exposure.
Bisola managed to graduate with good grade; became a pimp that introduced younger girls into prostitution. At graduation she thought it a waste of time and energy to work in a multinational company that offered her N150,000 per month. In her kind of trade such money was a peanut.
After a very long time in the trade, she was infected with a Sexual Transmitted Diseases (STD). Though she was eventually cured, she lost all she earned as a prostitute finding cure. Too old to attract attention, she is today a nuisance as she drags her fragile body around. The horrifying thing is that other girls she had led into the sex trade have gone far in it and they are uncontrollable even as she goes about pleading with them to desist from it because of its negative repercussion.
This is no figment of this writer’s imagination. The story above is real. It is the dark side of this trade. The most worrisome aspect of the story is that Bisola’s parents didn’t have any inkling into what she was up to in school. They believed too much in their Christian upbringing to associate her with such damn thing.
In Nigeria just like other nations isn’t without its fair share of this kind of professionals. Not even chronic Sharia states in Northern Nigeria are excluded. According to a survey carried out by Daily Independent, major causes of prostitution are poverty, childhood abuse or neglect, addiction, coerced, lack of alternatives, family history of prostitution, homelessness, lack of self-esteem, broken family, peer pressure, lack of support network, imbalance, need for love and affection, learning disability, media coverage, and host of others.
According to Pastor (Mrs.) Funmbi Adetoye, prostitution is not just an offence against God but also an “act of injustice against one’s self.” Adetoye, who also doubles as a counsellor, insists “women especially young women have no business going into prostitution as there are other legitimate and godly ways to make money these days.”
She went on, “parents especially those who have wards in higher institutions should monitor their children especially daughters, as girls, who are from wealthy homes have joined the bandwagon of those who embark on such trade.”
One school of thought maintains that the sex trade is surrounded by illegal, abusive and dangerous activities. Prostitution is kept illegal and the industry operates on the black market while another school of though argues that legalising and regulating prostitution would not improve the situation, but instead would make it worse since it is in most cases associated with crime.
“I would have to say women who are destitute, single mothers, homeless girls, or basically any female who feels the need to earn money either to make ends meet, provide for her kids or pay off drug habits are essentially those forced into exchanging their bodies for money. There are endless reasons women tend to take this route, and it is extremely sad that they are driven to this level because there is basically no other way for them to get cash,” Angela Obi, a social health worker based in Edo State, said.
She further lamented the lack of enough organisations to help guide women with emotional problems. People, according to Obi, used in the sex industry often need medical care as a result of the serial presence of violence. They may need treatment for infectious diseases, including AIDS. Survivors frequently need mental health care for post-traumatic stress disorder, psychotic episodes and suicide attempts. About a third end up chronically disabled and on Social Security.
Speaking on the many effects of prostitution in any given society, Tope Adewumi, a concerned woman said in addition to the many costs, “the community loses the contributions which might have been given to legitimate community productivity by those used in the sex industry. The operators of sex businesses not only do not pay for these expenses, many constitute nuisance to the society and also become agents of destroying homes.”
A pimp who doesn’t want his name in print said in carrying out their activities, they focus on young ladies coming out of families that are abusive, disorganised or non-existent.
In curbing the scourge called prostitution all hands must be on deck. The family which had the fundamental function of protecting its members especially children should not negate this responsibility. The family also is a team, and all players must do their jobs. If a member is lost or disabled, others in the extended family or community must step in to carry on. When one or more adults in a family are absent, addicted, mentally ill, or severely demoralised, the children are in danger.
It is no gainsaying that prostitution is dehumanising, immoral, against God’s injunctions, prostitution brings about sexual transmitted diseases which will not only make the carrier unproductive, but also make her a parasite on her society. She is also an extra burden on the economy of those that come in contact with her.