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Global Press Institute

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Sex Workers Advocate for Decriminalization of Their Profession
Sex workers in Nigeria are fighting for increased rights and the decriminalization of commercial sex work. Meanwhile, local organizations and the government focus on health, rehabilitation and the arts

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Patricia Okana, who is in her early 30s, is a commercial sex worker.

“It is just like every other thing you do,” she says. “There are challenges, but I thank God it puts food on my table.”

Okana, a widow, says that poverty is the main catalyst driving women into commercial sex work here. After her husband died, she struggled to support herself. Frustrated, she eventually listened to a friend’s advice to try sex work. 

“Everything that tastes bitter must first be sweet, and everything that must be sweet must first be bitter,” she says.

She says that although it pays the bills, she doesn’t encourage young girls to view commercial sex work as their first option.

“I don’t encourage young girls, especially underage,” she says.

Commercial sex workers in Nigeria are demanding more respect and more rights. Nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, have been promoting various rehabilitation and education initiatives. But prohibative costs for these programs lead some advocates to believe that the best option is to decriminalize commercial sex work. The Nigerian Criminal Code penalizes prostitution with imprisonment, but some say the law shouldn’t govern morality. The government has mentioned no plans to decriminalize sex work and instead promotes education and alternative employment.

Nearly 65 percent of Nigerians live below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD a day, according to UNICEF’s latest statistics. Some say this makes sex work an appealing option to earn a living. Official statistics on the number of sex workers in Nigeria are unavailable.
Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/nigeria/sex-workers-advocate-decriminalization-their-profession-nigeria#ixzz1RR5WiLy9

Sex Workers Advocate for Decriminalization of Their Profession

Sex workers in Nigeria are fighting for increased rights and the decriminalization of commercial sex work. Meanwhile, local organizations and the government focus on health, rehabilitation and the arts

LAGOS, NIGERIA – Patricia Okana, who is in her early 30s, is a commercial sex worker.

“It is just like every other thing you do,” she says. “There are challenges, but I thank God it puts food on my table.”

Okana, a widow, says that poverty is the main catalyst driving women into commercial sex work here. After her husband died, she struggled to support herself. Frustrated, she eventually listened to a friend’s advice to try sex work. 

“Everything that tastes bitter must first be sweet, and everything that must be sweet must first be bitter,” she says.

She says that although it pays the bills, she doesn’t encourage young girls to view commercial sex work as their first option.

“I don’t encourage young girls, especially underage,” she says.

Commercial sex workers in Nigeria are demanding more respect and more rights. Nongovernmental organizations, NGOs, have been promoting various rehabilitation and education initiatives. But prohibative costs for these programs lead some advocates to believe that the best option is to decriminalize commercial sex work. The Nigerian Criminal Code penalizes prostitution with imprisonment, but some say the law shouldn’t govern morality. The government has mentioned no plans to decriminalize sex work and instead promotes education and alternative employment.

Nearly 65 percent of Nigerians live below the international poverty line of $1.25 USD a day, according to UNICEF’s latest statistics. Some say this makes sex work an appealing option to earn a living. Official statistics on the number of sex workers in Nigeria are unavailable.



Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/nigeria/sex-workers-advocate-decriminalization-their-profession-nigeria#ixzz1RR5WiLy9

Filed under Gender Justice Health Law and Society Poverty Women's Rights Nigeria Sex Worker Rights

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