Nigeria would benefit from legalizing sex work- Prostitutes will pay taxes, coordinator says
The Coordinator of National Sex Workers Association, Ms Amaka Enemo has requested that the federal government to approve the legality of sex work in Nigeria.
Ms Amaka said this should be put into consideration so as to effectively control HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Enemo made the appeal on Wednesday in Abuja during an interview with newsmen at the inauguration of new report on ‘Understanding the high risk of urban sexual networks in Nigeria’.
The coordinator said that everybody is liable for whatever activity they engage in. She added that sex workers are exposed to a whole lot of violence especially from their clients, thugs and law enforcement agents.
She said that apart from being exposed to violence, they are usually exploited most of the times, by police and other law enforcement agents.
She explained that when these officers conduct their routine raid of brothels or streets where sex workers conduct their business, they demand money from them or are arrested.
“When they are arrested, some of the law enforcement agents demand and conduct unprotected sexual acts with the sex workers who do not have money”.
“This exposes the sex workers to the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections’’, she said.
According to Enemo, “legalizing sex work will reduce the risk and the violence sex workers face in Nigeria”.
She added that “government would also benefit from the sex workers because they would pay tax”.
The National Coordinator made reference to Amsterdam where sex work is legalized, and that sex workers pay 160 Euros to enable them stay in a “window for eight hours”.
She explained that “window is a place where a sex worker stays to wait for her clients”.
Enemo said the report listed areas and populations who are at risk of contracting HIV infections who were yet to receive any intervention.
She said the report also listed places in Abuja where sex workers do not know about condom, lubricants and other services.
She urged the public not to criminalize sex work; she urged them to protect sex workers in order for the society to be free of sexually transmitted infections.
“If a sex worker is infected with HIV and sleeps with a man and transmits the disease to him, the man will eventually transmit the infection to either his wife or girl-friend and others.
“The best thing to do is to support them, legalize their work so that they can do their work in human environment’’, Enemo concluded.