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Published On: Mon, Jun 10th, 2019

The menace of prostitution in Abuja and the approach of FCT authorities

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By Jamila Musa

Prostitution is defined as the selling of sexual services and is yet another controversial sexual behaviour.Many people in the country, expecially people with conservative, religious views believes prostitution is immoral because it involves sex for money, and they consider prostitution as a sign of societies moral decay.Many feminists believe that prostitution is degrading to women and provides a context in which women are robbed, beaten and raped.These two groups can agree on little else, but they hold strong negative views on prostitutions.
Regardless of other beliefs, people agree in Nigeria that prostitution spread STDs. Nigerians believe that prostitution should remain illegal and generally prefer stricker enforcements of law and orders against the menance which people acclaimed as the worlds oldest profession.
Prostitutions we agree has been common since ancient times, as in ancient mesopotania, priests had sex with prostitutes, ancient greece featured legal brothels which services political leaders and common men alike.In ancient Rome,and in the old testament,it is accepted as neccessary or more or less facts of life and accepted that more or less men would turn to prostitutes.Prostitutions in Nigeria was also common during hard times as poor women we accept, turns to prostitutions for income when there is no other options for jobs and sustenance.
Today, no one knows the number of prostitutes we have in the FCT, as no prostitutes wants to be counted as they know their work is illegal,the authorities do not compile the list of prostitutes as they do for physicians,teachers and nurses etc.in the fct. One well analysed estimate put the number of prostitutes in the fct as about 70,000 and further concluded that they engage in about 2million acts of prostitutions with male counterparts annually in the FCT alone with many of this prostitutes working part time whether or not they work in legal occupations.
Regardless of their numbers,what is true is that prostitutions is common in the fct.In the last one decade alone,the police in the fct has made more than 50,000 arrests for prostitutions and other commercialised vices, most of these arrests are of prostitutes,and others were customers,women accounts for 69 percent of most of this arrests in this entire category.
Several types of prostitution exist in the FCT, at the bottom of this hierarchy is the street walkers who typically find their customers, or who customers find in the streets of the FCT, Abuja.Then they have a quick kind of sex in the customers car,in an alleyway or other secluded spot or in a cheap hotel. Although street walkers are the subjects in most studies,the fact remain that they compose about only me fifth of all prostitutes in the fct.
The remaining 80percent of all prostitutes generally work indoors.Call girls in the fct works as independent operators in their homes or fairly fancy hotels and charge very high for their services.Their clients are typically businessmen or other wealthy individuals like politicians.Escorts normally works for escorts agencies which advertise heavily on facebook and in the internet.They may operate out of their apartments normally rented by their agency or come to a clients hotel room.Although they may typically act as an escorts to events but their jobs also includes sexual acts.They are generally well paid for these services but do not earn much like call girls because they return about 30percent of their earnings to these escort agencies.
In Abuja call girls and escorts ranks at the top of the hierarchy of prostitutions.A final category of prostitutes are those who works in bars,and casinos.They make contacts with customers in these settings and have sex with them elsewhere.
MORAL CRUSADE AGAINST PROSTITUTIONS.
SOCIOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE. Beyond explaining why individual women and men are more likely than others to pay for sex or receive payments for sex,the three sociological theories which can help us understand this social problems includes the functionalist theories,the conflict theories and the symbolic interactionism.This offers more insights into the problem of prostitutions to the Abuja society.According to the functionalist theories,prostitution exists because it serves very important functions in the society generally and for certain people in the society.As i mentioned earlier,it serves as a source of income to women who have no means of securing a job or who are generally jobless and unemployable.It also provides a source of alternative for sex for men who we earlier mentioned.
Secondly,according to the conflict theory,prostitution reflects the economic inquality in society.Many poor women are compelled to become prostitutes because of their lack of money because wealthier women have many source of income so the idea of becoming a prostitute is not something that they would consider.Lacking formal education and living in a society that offers few jobs1women are forced to become prostitutes to make ends meet.This late twentieth century surge in prostitutions by women is because of the increase in poverty.According to the feminist version of the conflict theory,prostitutions increase not because of only poverty but because of society,s patriarchal culture whereby society view the men as dominant figure in heterosexual relationships and that treat women as mere sex objects who exists for mens pleasure.In this feminist thery the oppression and exploitation in which prostitutions inherently involves reflects the oppression and exploitations of women by the general society.
Symbolic interactionism moves away from this larger issues to examine the everyday understandings that prostitutes and their customers have about their behaviour.These understandings helps both prostitutes and their customers justifies their behaviours.Many prostitutes believes for example that they are performing a very important services for the men who pay them.Indoor prostitutes believes they are not only providing sex to the men but also companionships.
Jamila Musa
Abuja

THE SOCIAL SCIENCE QUESTIONS
The social science questions concerning laws on prostitution scholars have consistently ask is whether it does more harm than good or more good than harm,if they do more good than harm,they should be maintained and even strengthened:if they do more harm than good, they should be repealed.A growing numbers of scholars believe that the fct.laws against prostitution does more harm than good,and they say the best way to deal with prostitutions in Abuja is to legalise and regulate it.I beg to agree as evidence on the ground seems to confirm.Proponents of legalisation argue as follows.Although many people cite the horrible lives of many streetwalkers as major reasons for their support of the ministers laws against prostitutions,this same laws ironically cause the problems that streetwalkers experience.
For example when US prostitution was legal a century ago across brothels in the countrybrothel prostitutes are safer than streetwalkers are now.The only state for example in that country where brothels are leagal in America today is the state of Nevada,prostitutes working in brothels there are safer than streetwalkers.Whatever we think of their behaviours ,legal brothel workers are safe than streetwalkers from being robbed,beaten or raped and their required regular medical examinations leaves them relatively free from sexually transmitted diseases STDs.The health problems and victimisation that many streetwalkers suffer is because their behaviour is illegal,and legalising and regulating prostitution would reduce this problems.This i want the Abuja authorities to prioritise.
In this regard,the legalisation of prostitution is another harm harm reduction approach to Abuja social problem.Research suggests also,that under the right conditions,legal prostitution can be organised in a way that increases workers health,safety and job satisfaction.The mandatory use of condon and other safe-sex practices are typical in legal brothels and the workers faces low risk of abuse from customers.
Legalisation of prostitution would yield a considerable amount of tax revenue for the government,as is the case with the state of Nevada shows in the united state as it can be replicated in Abuja.Lets assume that 5million acts of prostitution occurs in Abuja annually and each of this act cost an average of N1000.Putting this numbers together,prostitutes in Abuja alone receives an extimate of about 5billion naira annually in income.If they pay about one third of this amount of this as payroll tax,the revenue of the government in the fct.would increase by about a billion naira.Because the tens and thousands of arrests and criminalisation for prostitutions and other commercialised vice would reduce significantly if prostitutions are legalised in the FCT.the considerable financial savings from this reductions could be used for other pursuit
Finally,legalizing prostitution would add Abuja,a state in Nigeria to a long list of countries that have legalised prostitutions.Although the model of legalisation varies,the available evidence indicates that legalizing prostitution does, in fact, reduces the many problems associated with illegal prostitution in Abuja.

Jamila Musa
Abuja

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