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Nigerian Sex Workers Protest,Seeks Legal Recognition

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Some of the prostitutes are sure that the time had come for the
Nigerian government to grant them their due recognition and
further recognise 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.
Though many of them did not realise that a day like this was set
aside for them until they were told, they also called on rights
activists to assist them gain the desired recognition.
“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 the correspondent.
Her colleague, a 27-year old from southern Nigeria, said with
their rights recognised, they could pay tax to the government and
to be seen as decent people in the society.
“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.
In a brothel just a few meters away, another sex worker, Judith,
told our correspondent that many prostitutes have various reasons
for taking up the “business.”
In her own case, 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.

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