Sex For Sale

by Joan C. Akubue

The lane was murky and lonely. The resonance of her high-heeled shoes on the pavement is sharp, curt almost. She is half clad: nearly naked. Her body shivers in the fierce fall cold. Her teeth chatters and her hands tremble slightly against the black leather purse, badly worn now from being used in and out of season. It is her only purse: she knows every crease and wrinkle on its face by name. At the moment however, she is unpleased with it. The purse is not only old; it is also empty. There were bills to be paid: pimps to settle. Further delay and debt would close in for its pound of flesh.

She hated poverty, wanted it to go away. She had lofty dreams of her own. Unfortunately, the world was against her. Or so it seemed. This was the only way out. She had to do this. One more week of sodomy and slavery and then she would be free at last. Free forever…

Soon a flashy car pulls up on the sidewalk and the man behind the steering wheel beckons to her. She does not pay much attention to what he looks like, does not assess his body or his face. He looks affluent: that is all that matters to her.

He wore a glittery gold plated watch and several rings on his fingers. He smiled toothily and patronizingly at her as she drew closer. Haggling done, she hopped in besides him in the posh red car.

‘One more week…’ she thought ‘one more week and I’ll be free…’

But by morning, her bruised and battered body was found in a refuse bin in the city’s darkest alley. Her leather purse lay cushioned on her plum breasts. Empty.

Prostitution is no longer something we should whisper about in our spare time. It is a reality and a menace. A lie that many young women have swallowed and have been eventually choked by. Prostitutes are everywhere nowadays. They could be the girls next door: sometimes the least people you would expect to live such lifestyles. Many are from fairly decent homes, many even students in the leading Universities. This may sound hard to believe, but some parents are living with prostitutes right underneath their roofs. Their wards and daughters are certain people by day and different personalities by night.

While I was a student in one of the renowned Federal universities, I witnessed such activities myself. Fleets of cars were often parked right outside my hostel by night and I observed several female students being whisked away right up to the early hours of the morning. It was common knowledge too, that the porters (elderly hostel administrators) were the brains behind the racket. Many of such porters kept an album or catalogue of willing females and served as consultants to prospective customers.

It was said that a certain young man came hunting for fun and when he was given the album to peruse, burst into tears when he discovered that his fiancée was one of the cover girls. Did I hear you say ‘serves him right…’ Funny, I said the same thing myself!

In the last few years, prostitution has gone global. Nigerian women are being deported from Europe everyday and our national image is being badly smeared. While every nation has its fair share of scarlet women, Nigerian ladies have distinguished themselves in the act of ‘generosity’ by importing their skills overseas (with special preference to the Italians of course). This deplorable craze is a slight to the woman race… or rather to the human race. Each prostitute brought home in disgrace taints not just the country’s name, but also the reputation of the Nigerian woman. In essence, one woman’s misconduct affects the way women everywhere in the world are perceived. Cheap!

Have you ever wondered what it is that drives beautiful and intelligent women everyday into this abysmal trade? Sometimes I hear people wonder if it’s poverty, low self-esteem, loneliness, ancestral curses or despair. Probably all of these and more…

But in my opinion there is only one answer: ‘demand’.

It’s high time we start to solve problems by attacking the root cause. There is absolutely no sense in playing around with the leaves and branches of an able-bodied tree when the taproots remain intact underground.

Women are selling themselves everyday because there are so many perverted men out there craving for their bodies. Take away this demand and the supply dries up. It’s simple arithmetic really…or rather economics.

However, it would be wrong to say that women should remain enslaved just because there is a demand for immorality. Personally, I could not bear to think that any degree of hunger or deprivation would make me stand on the streets beckoning to strangers or peddle my body in any way. I also know beautiful black women, who prefer to engage in the menial labor rather than debase themselves. I see them roasting corn on the street sides and I never fail to doff my hat to them. Hard as it is to imagine, there are still a lot of women with scruples out there.

To an extent, psychological imbalances and poor home up bringing make certain people more susceptible to some weaknesses. But in the final analysis, if we strike the shepherd then and only then will the sheep scatter.

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1 comment

kumar April 10, 2007 - 10:13 am

Hi Joan

Yes, you r cent percent right. Iam an expat working in Nigeria for the last five years, and can vouch for what you have written here.

Indeed a pathetic sight, seeing these pretty and some of them very intelligent and opinionative too, standing on the road in the dark and offering themselves to passers by.

Iam touched by your words.

I happened to read this today, long time after you wrote, but anyway, worth reading.

Anyway what r you doing now, still in the same company?

thanks & regards




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