Commercial sex workers, a.k.a professional prostitutes in Nigeria have accused policemen of forcefully sleeping with them without protection.
The professional prostitutes in Nigeria under the Ohotu Diamond Women Initiative, accuse the law enforcement agents of raiding, harassing and raping them without protection.
This, according to the prostitutes, is among the ill-treatment meted out on them each time they are raided by the police.
The commercial sex workers called for help from the authorities through the Ohotu Diamond Women Initiative (ODWI), a community network for prostitutes.
In a statement by the organisation, the prostitutes disclosed that they have now become endangered species and target of randy policemen.
“Sex workers deserve the basic respect and protection from violence that each nation owes its citizens. But in many settings, police abuse of sex workers receives scant public attention despite its entrenched global reality.
“Many of us face violence and discrimination on a regular basis. Regardless of which state or tribe we are from, many of us have experienced being raped, verbally, emotionally and physically abused by police, clients and community members.
”There is an unfair discrimination from service providers. Sex workers are not protected or defended by the law when they are exploited and abused. We demand that these violations stop immediately and decisive action taken against perpetrators.
“Time without number, the policemen break our doors to start packing us like goats to the station. If you don’t have money to bail yourself, they will say they want to sleep with you unprotected which is very bad. As a woman in the brothel, we protect ourselves, we use condoms, but with the policemen, you don’t have a say.”
Executive Director, SafeHeaven Development Initiative, Magaret Onah, has criticized the raid on these prostitutes by policemen. She says it is dehumanizing when policemen abuse sex workers the way they do, adding that government needs to do something about it.
For her, the police needs to re-strategize. It is better if sex workers are charged to court than being treated as such.
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The fact that sex work is illegal doesn’t mean that they should kill anyone they find doing the job. She says sex workers are citizens of the country, and need to be respected like every other citizen.