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Should Sex Workers’ Day Be Acknowledged?

Mercy Obot

Let’s talk about International Whores’ Day or International Sex Workers’ Day which is annually marked on June 2.


Some time ago, I asked a question about whether it’s appropriate to recognise and celebrate Sex Workers’ Day, the responses I received were diverse and thought-provoking, making for a fascinating discussion.


The truth is, sex workers have historically been a part of society and they will always be in every nook and cranny of our communities in years to come no matter how society hauls its stones against such illicit acts.


This is because sex workers have proven to be an indispensable trade due to their kind gesture towards offering “humanitarian services” to satisfy men’s sexual urges, making the trade a high demand from time immemorial.


Furthermore, it’s essential to find out why some men constantly patronize whores, making the trade lucrative and thriving. Even though they cast their stones during the day, at night some men sneak into the dark tents for the “solemn assembly” to satisfy their high libidos.


Now, who should be blamed for the prevalence of hookups in Nigeria, should it be the naive ladies who risk their lives daily to have mouthwatering offers, sometimes millions in their accounts or the men who take pleasure in spending their hard-earned money to have a feel of the cookies?


We can also ask what will happen to these men if ladies no longer venture into the business. How will they survive?


These questions help us better understand the tragic incident that recently befell two young girls whose lives were cut short in pursuit of a promised sum of one million naira, allegedly in exchange for their involvement in a threesome encounter.


The unfortunate event sparked up a flurry of commentaries on the social media. The public, especially men, aggressively condemned the actions of the ladies while less attention was given to the inhumane treatment mounted on them by the perpetrators who murdered innocent souls. Or were they innocent?


Some men even applauded the actions of the man who allegedly used women for ritual purposes. One of these ladies was married while the other was single.


Amidst these trailers of comments, we should not be in a haste to sweep under the rug what women go through every single day on their hook-up journeys. Some of them are single mothers or sole providers to their families. Others can be said to indulge in this solely for selfish interests.


Also, it’s crucial to emphasize that the Whores’ International Day torchlights the dehumanizing treatment and exploitative working conditions that sex workers often face at the hands of perpetrators in society.


Some are physically assaulted, emotionally tortured, and economically abused, while others are even buried in shallow graves or used as meats for the gods.


But still, this will not deter young girls from standing at street corners at night and playing the corporate babe in the day, because the trade has become a toxic lover that slaps one on the right side of the chic while romancing its prey on the other jaw.



Meanwhile, can we ever stop the prostitution train among girls and women? The truth is, I shudder to say, it has come to stay and it has become an integral part of the society as far as men still have their genitals intact.


I believe what can be done at this point is to ensure women in the trade are sensitized on safety measures to protect themselves from being victims of the untold hidden dangers of this unwholesome trade. There is also a need to read between the lines men’s words and body language as contrived baits to lure even the unsuspecting.


They should also be aware of the risks involved in exposing themselves to strangers because they are mostly wolves in sheep’s clothing, perpetually hungry and seeking who to devour to gratify their inordinate concupiscence.


Again, educating women on STDs as well as creating rehabilitation centers for sex workers who are willing to heal from the mayhem of the profession can be a step at possible mitigation or remediation.


Interestingly, If all hands were on deck in the advocacy against the plight of sex workers in society, it is believed that hundreds or thousands would have been out of the trade by now.


But consistently, they are stigmatized. The public chooses to brutalize them with their words and create more avenues for perpetrators to have the liberty to abuse them. How can you save people you consistently condemn? Even those who condemn these illicit pleasures on grandstands incidentally turn out to be addicted patrons in safe corners. This is where and how the society is hypocritical.


How can you tell some women to be out of the hook-up business when you have not created an environment for them to thrive emotionally or financially? The butt is to always castigate!


Can we be kind enough to also direct the aggressive condemnation to the men who take pleasure in feasting on the vulnerability of women?


Despite publicly condemning the actions on social media, some men inadvertently or intentionally perpetuate the act in private. As they often jokingly say, ‘Body no be firewood’ (meaning the body has needs).


So, no matter how we haul our stones, sex workers are human beings deserving of fundamental rights, dignity, and respect, regardless of our personal opinions or discomfort with their profession. And it will be emotionally mature for us to accept them as humans, leaving the judgement to only the one who rightly can see the heart before judging – even though we are not comfortable with their actions.


Besides, accepting someone’s humanity doesn’t mean we condone or endorse their actions; but we should not demean their inherent worth and dignity. It would be better if we even review our personal preferences and beliefs with regard to the way we see or treat others, according them their liberties with respect, kindness, and understanding.


By adopting this stance, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and compassionate society, regardless of one’s way of life or choices.


So, I now ask: Do you think Sex Workers’ Day should be acknowledged in our society, maybe as we are told it is done elsewhere in the West and Europe? Up there, there are not seen as outcasts but integral part of the very society they live. And there are laws that do not only promote but protect their choices.


I leave you to your opinion.

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