By Michael-Azeez Ogunsiji, Abeokuta
As Nigerian sex workers on Saturday joined their counterparts across the world to mark the 17th International Sex Worker’s Rights Day, they have demanded legal recognition of their trade as a respectable profession.
The prostitutes who spoke to journalists in Abeokuta said it was high time Nigerian government granted them their due recognition.
They urged the government to recognize that as human beings there is need to keep body and soul going, saying the ‘profession’ should be considered legitimate enough to put a stop to its discrimination and stigmatisation.
A prostitute who gave her name as Jane said, “See, many people, including you, do not see us as human beings. In your mind, we are a condemned set of Nigerians who sell their bodies so cheaply, but that thought is not right,”
Angela, 27-year-old who hailed from a southern part of country argued that they could decide to pay their taxes in f the government recognizes their trade.
She said, “In some countries abroad, sex workers pay taxes. There is no discrimination, they can sue and even have streets, mainly in red light districts allocated to them to carry out their trades.
“But here in Nigeria, we are faced with rejection from the society, serious harassment by the police, and victimisation by our customers.
“You can imagine a customer who rushes into this place in a desperate bid to ease himself, jumps at one of us after a bargain and rides like a horse only to renege on the agreement on how much he should pay. If we have our rights, we could call for his arrest without shame or molestation from security agents and other Nigerians.”
Also speaking, Judith, a popular sex hawker at Idi-Ape love garden in Abeokuta told our reporter that her foray into prostitution was not a sudden flight saying circumstances beyond her control forced her into the trade.
She said many prostitutes had various reasons for taking up the “business.”
Judith said she had travelled out of the country primarily to hustle in Spain, “But I was deported even before reaching the place.
“It was a tough experience and I started sleeping with men as we moved from one country to another just to get money to survive. I stayed two months in Morocco gathering money, but just days to my entering Spain, I was caught with other 80 women and men and sent back to Nigeria.
“I am from Agbor in Delta State and couldn’t go back to my place because of the shame. So I took up residency in this place servicing men daily and making money. I am even more comfortable here now and I make good money, about N12,000 every week.”
Meanwhile, the Spanish government has appointed 42year-old Edelmira Barreira as Minister for Sex in the country.
Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy confirmed that, Edelmira Barreira appointment was to boost Spain’s falling birth rate, which is one of the lowest in the developed world.