by Adeola Balogun
Sex workers in Nigeria are said to have taken advantage of the 14th International Sex Worker’s Rights Day, which is being commemorated worldwide today, to demand the recognition of their “profession”.
The prostitutes were said to have stated that the time had come for their trade to get legal recognition in the country.
The women said that the lack of recognition was leading to a violation of their rights with no likelihood of getting justice.
P.M. News reports:
Some of the prostitutes told P.M.NEWS that the time had come for the Nigerian government to grant them their due recognition and further recognize that as human beings trying to keep body and soul going, the ‘profession’ should be considered legitimate enough to put a stop to its discrimination and stigmatisation.
“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,” Jane, a lady from eastern Nigeria who operates at a brothel close to the railwayline in Agege, told our correspondent.
“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,” she explained.
The International Sex Workers’ Rights Day is marked on 3 March every year to call the world’s attention to the plight of sex workers and demand for their rights. With the red umbrella as its symbol, the day came into existence in 2001 with a protest of over 25,000 sex workers organised by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee in India.