PROSTITUTION: THE ANSWER TO POVERTY?

Source: www.africanakua.com | Victoria Fakiya, Nigeria

Prostitution according to Britannica is the practice of engaging in relatively indiscriminate sexual activity, in general with someone who is not a spouse or a friend, in exchange for immediate payment in money or other valuables. Wikipedia defines it as the business or practice of engaging in sexual activity in exchange for payment. According to findings, it is the oldest profession in the world.

Some people have argued that prostitution is bad while some said it is good since it is a source of income for some which has prompted them to come up with a substitute for prostitutes. It’s called sex workers! That is, since they do it to make ends meet, it should be called sex work. For this cause, some countries like Germany, Netherlands and New Zealand have legalised prostitution. It’s a job like every other. What is your view?

However, three world views exist in respect to prostitution. They are abolitionism, regulation and prohibitionism. Abolitionism is where the prostitute is considered a victim. Here, prostitution is always a coercive practice, and the prostitute is seen as a victim. They argue that most prostitutes are forced into the practice, either directly, by pimps and traffickers, indirectly through poverty, drug addiction and other personal problems. That is, due to lack, poverty, peer pressure and the likes, they go into prostitution which makes them victims.

Regulation is where the prostitute is considered a worker. That is, sex worker. Here, prostitutes are not seen as victims of circumstances but adults who choose to work in the sex industry and whose choices must be respected. It is no big deal because it is a means of being paid for what both parties involved have to offer. Prostitution here is bad when done against one’s will. It is a legal thing and all prostitutes are respected. However, prohibitionism is where the prostitute is considered a criminal. It is against the laws of the land to do that. It is illegal unlike Regulation. This is common in the northern parts of Nigeria.

Forced prostitution refers to conditions of control over a person who is coerced by another to engage in sexual activity. It is a form of slavery incompatible with human dignity and fundamental human rights. It is a way of exploiting individuals, women sexually. Unlike prostitution which is voluntary, it is an involuntary act. It is not consensual.

However, countries like New Zealand legalised prostitution to eradicate sex trafficking or forced prostitution but reverse is the case. A July 2005 report by Manukau City council in reference to Unbound said the nuisance factor escalated and street workers quadrupled despite by-laws regulating the location of brothels. “It was widely expected that the outcome of legalizing prostitution would be that sex trade workers would generally operate from safe, regulated and legal brothels. In Manukau, that has not been the case.” Also, In the Netherlands, the sex industry increased by twenty-five percent after legalization. In Victoria, Australia, the number of legal brothels doubled, and illegal brothels increased by 300%. A 200% to 400% increase in street prostitution has been reported in Auckland, New Zealand since prostitution was decriminalized.

Prostitution or forced prostitution exists only in a country where gender inequality exists. I would explain. Have you ever taught of why men do not really give themselves in exchange for money? Are we saying men are not poor too since prostitution is caused by poverty, majorly? But men would not do that because they feel they cannot stoop too low to start exchanging sex for money. We live in a world where equal rights, opportunities, privileges, treatment in terms of respect and the likes are not given to both sexes. You think the answer to women’s poverty is sex in exchange for money? No! It is equal distribution of power and resources. It is putting an end to detrimental stereotypes like women cannot really perform when given an opportunity because it only limits their abilities. It limits their creativities. It makes them feel bad because they would not be supported or would be rebuked for starting out something that seems ‘masculine’.

Why should women be treated as commodities? Why do they not think of better ways to make ends meet other than practically destroying the rights of women prostitution if not because of detrimental stereoptype that a woman is meant for the bedroom and the kitchen. ‘Prepare the food and I’d come eat you in the bedroom’ they chorus the detrimental stereotype. How wise could we get?

True, poverty exists because most people in Nigeria live in abject poverty, however, prostitution is not the way out! Gender equality is!

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