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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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Socio-economic Factors Push Women, Girls in Cameroon to Seek Backstreet Abortions
High risks associated with unsafe abortions in Cameroon don’t deter women and girls here. Economic, social, legal and religious pressures – combined with a lack of information about and access to reproductive health services – often override fear of health risks.

BAMENDA, CAMEROON – Lina, 27, says that when she was 23, her friend told her that she was pregnant. The friend’s boyfriend deserted her when she told him.

Lina, who declined to give her full name for privacy reasons, proposed that they talk to her friend’s mother, but her friend said this wasn’t an option because her mother was Christian and would throw her out of the house for getting pregnant before marriage. Lina says they decided their only option was for her friend to get an abortion out of town where no one would recognize them and no official records would be kept.

She says that they consulted their peers on where they could get a quick and cheap abortion and were referred to a “doctor.” But Lina says that when they arrived at the address they were given, it was not a hospital or a clinic and the doctor was not a licensed professional.  

Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/cameroon/socio-economic-factors-push-women-girls-cameroon-seek-backstreet-abortio#ixzz1QlDKn3PT

Socio-economic Factors Push Women, Girls in Cameroon to Seek Backstreet Abortions

High risks associated with unsafe abortions in Cameroon don’t deter women and girls here. Economic, social, legal and religious pressures – combined with a lack of information about and access to reproductive health services – often override fear of health risks.

BAMENDA, CAMEROON – Lina, 27, says that when she was 23, her friend told her that she was pregnant. The friend’s boyfriend deserted her when she told him.

Lina, who declined to give her full name for privacy reasons, proposed that they talk to her friend’s mother, but her friend said this wasn’t an option because her mother was Christian and would throw her out of the house for getting pregnant before marriage. Lina says they decided their only option was for her friend to get an abortion out of town where no one would recognize them and no official records would be kept.

She says that they consulted their peers on where they could get a quick and cheap abortion and were referred to a “doctor.” But Lina says that when they arrived at the address they were given, it was not a hospital or a clinic and the doctor was not a licensed professional.  


Read more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/africa/cameroon/socio-economic-factors-push-women-girls-cameroon-seek-backstreet-abortio#ixzz1QlDKn3PT

Filed under Abortion Africa Women's Rights Health Community

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Mental Illness on the Rise Among Women in Rural Nepal

An increasing number of women in rural areas report suffering from mental illness. Experts attribute this to poverty, illiteracy, gender injustice, civil war and neglect. Doctors cite a lack of facilities, knowledgeable personnel and government support in treating these women. Government officials say policies are in place, but they just need to be executed.


In Nepal, there has been a gradual increase in awareness of mental health in the general population and the number of people seeking treatment, according to a 2006 World Health Organization, WHO, report. There is a national mental health policy, and psychotropic drugs are now widely available.


But Nepal has only one official psychiatric hospital, and mental health services are scarce in remote and rural areas, according to the WHO. Recent statistics on mental illness and effective health legislation are also lacking. Financial constraints complicate care, as the majority of Nepalis live in extreme poverty. To date, the government has allocated little of the budget to mental health care.



Woman in NepalRead more: http://www.globalpressinstitute.org/global-news/asia/nepal/mental-illness-rise-among-women-rural-nepal?page=2#ixzz1Q70YDM13

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Filed under health women's rights social justice mental illness Nepal law and society gender justice depression marriage