575 sex workers — The Nation Editorial

Posted by News Express | 3 March 2022 | 649 times

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The question of sex workers in the country, especially in the north, is one of the underreported and under-analysed problems in Nigeria. It is a malignancy festering under the deceptively robust skin of the nation.

The Bauchi State government entered that moral fray recently by identifying 575 women for training that should take them away from the streets and enlist them in vocations of dignity to themselves and value to the society.

The females live in Banyan Gari area of Bauchi metropolis. The Bauchi State government is embarking on the training in collaboration with the National Directorate of Employment (NDE). They have identified a number of subjects, some of which are often associated with the women folk, and they include hairdressing, cosmetology, catering, tailoring, computer literacy, poultry, fishery, micro-enterprises, among others.

It is going to be a three-month affair, and it should inculcate at least the basic knowledge of the trades in the women. We also expect that after the training, the state government and the NDE will provide an enabling environment for them to integrate into the business world.

Being sex workers, they need a lot of encouragement and vigilance. If after all the training and expense, they are left to their own device, there is no guarantee that they would not return to prostitution, and walk the streets at night and defrock themselves of the dignity that the training and attention have bestowed on them.

We must note that Bauchi State is not the only state in the north with this scourge. It is widespread and sometimes accepted as a state of being. The difference between the sex worker in the north and south is that a good percentage of the northern sex workers derive from the marital culture.

Some of the women are often products of divorce. They marry young and without skills. Some of them marry before their teenage years. Because the men are supposed to have only four wives, their libido and polygamous thirst may crave additional wives, so the practice among some is to discard one of them and marry a new one.

The discarded one is left on the streets without skill or kin, and the profession she falls on is what is regarded as the oldest in the world.

In the south, we have lots of them, young girls abandoned by parents and isolated by poverty. We often talk of the girl child as endangered. We forget that the young female, after marriage or weaning from their parents, resort to sex work as a means of livelihood. It has been said that even Nollywood became a shelter and escape for the sex worker at a time.

The training in Bauchi and the Nollywood example indicate that the women do not love to retail their bodies as wares to randy men. They do it to survive.

We also have instances of sex workers from the south, especially from Edo State, travelling to Europe in a racket of prostitution just because the Nigerian economy has made them of no value to themselves.

While the issue in the north is more cultural, in the south it is mostly both cultural and economic. We can also say that if the men in this society do not provide the reason for the women to become sex workers, they would not be. It is evidence of a phallocentric being of the Nigerian state.

Bauchi State must be commended for its bold step, but it must bear in mind that training 575 sex workers is tokenistic as there is a big tribe of young women, disenfranchised from a mainstream economy and culture and craving relevance for their souls.

Source: News Express

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