Prostitution as a societal malaise
Sir: The ugly trend of prostitution is becoming a menace to our sensibilities and to the decent Nigeria’s cultural values. On our streets, even close to government house on Victoria Street in Port Harcourt, you will see prostitutes plying their trade, side-by-side residential homes where children are raised. Government reservation areas have also been overrun by brothels and sex-parlours. Loose living everywhere in this city doesn’t mean anything anymore.
No longer is the trade restricted to commercial sex workers, body merchants at street corners luring members of the opposite gender but also to students in undergraduate schools with their provocative mode of dress baring all. And this perhaps explains the high incidents of rape cases in our society today. It was once believed that most of those who make up this class of people were the never-do-wells but recent events have proved the contrary. As so many high society ladies, and even married women now identify with the prostitution ring. The reasons adduced for this kind of behaviour could be traced to the fall in our value system, collapse and lack of respect for family ties, relationships and the already decadent society we find ourselves in today. The premium on what you own and not how you go about owning it. This leads to ostentatious lifestyles that are agreeable to many women.
Interestingly, most women put up the argument that they are growing older with no husband forth-coming and so have to help themselves and others say, they are from poor backgrounds with siblings and parents to cater for (medical bills, school fees). Some say their parents aren’t capable of taking care of them. Cogent as some of these arguments might seem for most people, however, they seem to neglect the hazards of the profession. Aside from the dreaded HIV/AIDS, there is the possibility of falling into wrong hands especially with the spate of ritual killings for monetary and spiritual motives.
In addition to the above is the long psychological effect upon one as an individual, the long term effects of drugs on the body system as a result of regular medication due to active sexual lifestyle will definitely take its toll. Some parents now encourage their female children to go into prostitution instead of getting married to a struggling young man. Prostitution in far away Italy, Spain, Belgium where they are subjected to degrading practices is a way of life. There is the urgent need for us to respect our family ties, relationship, have respect for our custom and culture particularly as it relates to inter-relationship between both sexes as well as upholding the integrity of our value system.
There should be a conscious and deliberate effort towards social and cultural re-orientation by parents, religious leaders, school teachers, government and citizens. We should be able to assist people without making unnecessary demands. The government should do more in the area of job creation and the so-called poverty alleviation since most people who are into prostitution are unemployed. For those who have quit the commercial sex trade, there is need for them to be rehabilitated and re-orientated through education and training to help them integrate into normal society life. Who says they can’t be trained to acquire skills in different trades like fashion and design, hair dressing, plaiting and catering?
Samson Terlumun Ayooso, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.