Help, they say, is one of the ways to reduce or even eliminate the uncertainties of life. A little help we render to someone might go a long way in restoring or rebuilding their lives. Today we want to focus on how we can help Nigerian prostitutes to rebuild their lives.
Please note that this piece is not to castigate, neither is it a sanctimonious write up. Rather it is a wake up call for us all to render a little help today and to uphold good morals in our society.
A prostitute is someone who engages in sexual activity in exchange for money (in most cases). Prostitute in this context includes sex workers and ‘runs girls’. Most Nigerian prostitutes do not ply this road for the fun of it. NO! They choose this route because of the harsh circumstances in the country, thereby risking everything (with no guarantee) in exchange for money. I am not trying to make excuses for them, but it is the harsh reality.
3 years ago, I met this beautiful lady with a sweet soul, who was a sex worker and single mother of 4 children under 6 years. She had no basic education and no one to help her to take care of her little ones. So she took the path of least resistance – prostitution. This lady had this contagious smile which gladdened my heart and propelled me to establish a communication with her, because I wanted to understand the reason why she is the way she was.
At first she was hesitant but after I made her trust me, she told me her story. Adaeze (not her real name) said that she earns 2000 Naira maximum for a whole night of sex with a stranger and she in turn will send some of it to her mom, who takes care of her 4 children, and use part of it to pay for hotel accommodation. When I probed further to understand if she can ever stop being what she was, she flared up and told me that I seem to live in a diluted and different world where I think life is easy. But then life can be this case or that case and in her narrative, hers was the former and mine the latter. She assumed wrongly though because I’ve had my own fair share of challenges or maybe even worse. Adaeze was so tetchy and deeply troubled. She always thought I judged her because I was looking at her intently, which made her yell at me constantly to look the other way. I did because I’m such an obliging soul.
Well later, I developed a behavioral spreadsheet for Adaeze and when I ran her concept, I realized her vulnerability. She is not exactly what she wants the world to see. She is a sweet girl who needs tender loving but was overloaded with goodies but badness magnified.
The second category of prostitutes in Nigeria are the ‘runs girls’, the closeted prostitutes. These ladies don’t market their ‘goods’ on the street like the former, but they have strings of clients whom they have transactional relationship with. You can argue that this second set of prostitutes are relatively better than the first because they charge higher than the sex workers and might even be educated. But still they chose the easier alternative maybe because of unemployment, poverty, societal pressure, death of parents, etc. These ladies earn from 5000 Naira to 50.000 Naira as the case maybe.
The question is how do we help Nigerian prostitutes to become better versions of themselves?
1. By identifying the reason why they chose that path and helping them to overcome their challenges. Luckily for Adaeze, she had a happy ending through someone she met. But it would not have been achieved if he did not help her step down, take a look at her life, identify her problems and build the courage to change and evolve.
2. We can help them by sending them to school if we can, so they can have an opportunity to make meaningful impact in the world.
3. We can also help these ladies by getting them a decent job with no strings attached.
4. Also by helping them work on their self esteem and make them understand that whatever they believe about themselves, whether it is perfect or totally off base, becomes true. If they see themselves as the First Female in Nigeria, then it’s achievable through hard work.
5. In addition to that, we can help them by not taking advantage of their vulnerability because it will leave them more damaged than they already were.
6. Also, keep your eyes on them and encourage them through genuine giving, prayers, and rehabilitation.
Therefore, I urge you all today, to take a look around you and render help to that young lady who trades her body for money. Thank you and have a nice weekend.