THE STATE OF PROSTITUTION IN NIGERIA TODAY
By Nnagoziem “The Vyrus” Udensi
Prostitution; the performance of sexual acts solely for the purpose of material gain has been a long lasting exorbitant glitch in the moral system of many societies for ages even to this present dispensation. Persons prostitute themselves when they grant sexual favours to others in exchange for money, gifts or other payment and in so doing use their bodies as commodities. When prostitution is discussed; it has been natural due to the traditional socioeconomic dependence of women and the tendency to exploit their sexuality; for women to be the main gender of concentration. But prostitution basically may be of either sex.
Prostitution “the world’s oldest profession” is widely known as a woman’s business, but the concept of women being seen as properties which through time has prevailed in most cultures; made the profits of the profession most often accrued to the men who controlled it. Men have traditionally been characterized as procurers and customers. In most society prostitutes have low social status and restricted future considering the notion that it has always been seen as degrading and fundamentally disapproved generally. Like the Byzantine empress Theodra, wife of Justinian 1, just a few female prostitutes have acquired wealth and power through marriage.
But then in some part of the world like papua New Guinea a decent bride with sound parental up-bringing, as a traditional protocol for marriage is required to have sex with a large number of men in the village to prove her dignity and fertility. While in other parts of the same papua New Guinea; the Dani ethnic group rarely have sex. In fact to attain a certain height of respect, couples wait up to five years after marriage before copulating. In some part of Nigeria; Cross-River, A wedding isn’t deemed necessary before marriage. Two people of opposite sex can move in together start a family without any form of official event. Different strokes for different folks, different lanes for different brains some may say. At this point we might as well ask; where precisely is the baseline for accurately assessing promiscuity and prostitution?
In Nigeria; prostitution has taken diverse forms. From the dark alleys of the streets, through university campuses, to brothels and hotels and even to the extent of women being trafficked outside the country. Reverentially the traditional way prostitutes ply in Nigeria is hawking sex in the streets, preferentially in late hours of the night to reduce exposure to general public. Subsequently prostitution has turned to a moral epidemic spreading like wildfire in reformed and modernized tactics. Apart from those into the business as a full time trade hiring and using buildings as brothels, Students who are into the trade as part time practitioners go about it in various means. Girls endowed with physical beauty and great physique with self confidence travel to big cities like Port-Harcourt, Abuja, Calabar, and Enugu. Appearing egoistically conspicuous in disguise of a normal girl in clubs, but with the interior motive of leaving with a crème de la crème guy with much affluence to propound; most of the girls plying this method aren’t basically from a poor background, these are the greedy ones.
In Port Harcourt, guys working as junior staffs in big companies with foreign staff, pose as pimps’ linking girls to white men in their companies. Our Universities unfortunately seems to provide more prostitutes than career-ready female graduates for the country; Quite shameful. But it’s more shameful that the people that actually patronize most of these hookers are men in power. It has been a difficult problem in the Federal Capital territory. These men patronize these girls so much that they are coadjutors to importation of foreign prostitutes; which is not a newly brewed idea, considering that rumour that a former military head of state died in the hands of an Indian prostitute. In Enugu luxurious hotels in coalition with these crass girls keep photo albums of them in their hotels for the affluent men who patronize these girls. They leaf through the photo albums and settle on a random choice of girl already on stand-by for the designated purpose of whoring themselves for quick fixed or at times negotiable price. A good number of these men are politicians. Calabar being the centre of attraction for foreign and famous tourist goes with a great deal of prostitution. These girls find their way to places like Tinapa and Obudu mountain resort, masquerading themselves as tourists with the whooping aim of getting themselves a wealthy customer. This is the state of prostitution in Nigeria.
Outside the Nigerian border, girls (Nigerian) especially from the former Bendel state travel for the sole purpose of prostitution. Some on the contrary are trafficked in deceit to African countries like Benin republic, Niger, Burkina Faso, Senegal and Mali to become sex slaves under the care of retired Nigerian prostitutes who pose as their madam and pimp them to customers as their against their will. In a prior engagement, these young girls were promised a future outside the country and were convinced to actually believe that they are being passed to Europe after being issued with fake visas. At the long run they find themselves helpless stranded in a foreign country at times worse than Nigeria as sex slaves.
Another annoying issue is child prostitution. Nigeria has a large number of adolescents living and making a living on the streets. This has been attributed to economic factors and exposure to all forms of risks. The result is the proliferation of prostitution among the adolescents with its attendant problems. In brothels, street walkers, call girls, and casual, part-time, or floating prostitutes, as well as the trafficking of adolescent girls across international borders. The causes of adolescent prostitution in Nigeria are largely economic, sociological, and socioeconomic factors. Coping mechanisms include endurance, self-medication, seeking medical attention, and adaptation. The effects of prostitution are psychological reactions, psychosocial damage, and the political implication, which damages the image of the nation. Approaches to combat adolescent prostitution in Nigeria include legislative steps, governmental efforts, policy making, awareness programs, and the efforts of nongovernmental organizations, community sanitizing, and societal measures.
Prostitutions highest battlers through time have been moral crusaders though the government has tried by making laws against it but most times these laws only drives it underground. The way to tackle this problem is tackling the cause of the problem. What exactly is driving the mechanism of prostitution among our women? I think it’s simply Exploitation. Exploitation drives thousands of under paid young girls into prostitution, they think naively. Naturally these moral crusaders and reformers say nothing about the cause of prostitution when they know it well enough, because it’s much more convenient to pretend an outraged morality, than to go to the very bottom of the matter. Socio logical researches have shown that modern society leaves most women almost no alternative except prostitution. Most prostitutes belongs to the lowest stratum of the society, women are hardly treated according to the merit of their work but rather as a sex object. It is then almost inevitable that they pay for their existence to thrive in whatever line she chooses with sex favours. Now it’s merely a question of detail if women sell themselves to one man, in or out of marriage or to marry men. Finally, personally I think the main cause of prostitution basically is the economic and social inferiority imposed on women by the society at large.