I was asked to give a 3 minute speech on the above topic at the literary and debate club in my hall. Here’s what I said
There are a few topics that could make my mother lose her appetite; pornography, homosexuality, prostitution. My mother represents the typical Nigerian or if I’m being ambitious, the typical African.
You see, the typical African is shielded by morals and values that seemingly keep us safe and sex in its entirety is one topic that we must protect ourselves from. “Don’t have sex if you’re not married”, “Don’t have sex on tape”, “Don’t have sex with the same gender” and even though statistically, sex sells, “dont you dare sell it”.
But ignoring prostitution as a legitimate source of livelihood can be compared to pinching your nose at the smell of a fart. You keep out the foul smell but at the same time, you keep out the oxygen.
Nigeria currently has 86.9 million people living in extreme poverty according to the world poverty clock and to fully understand that, imagine that all extremely poor people in nigeria were to form a new country. That new country, “The federal republic of extremely poor Nigerians” would still have more citizens than the United kingdom!
Thankfully, in 2018, the Borgen Project in line with the Sustainable development goal 1 highlighted 10 ways that countries can get out of poverty and one of them is to develop entrepreneurship.
Ladies and Gentlemen, a prostitute is an entrepreneur.
According to investopedia, an entrepreneur is an Individual who creates a business, bears the risks of the business and enjoys the rewards of the business. A prostitute creates a business out of selling sex, bears the risk of sexually transmitted infections and enjoys the monetary rewards of the business. In fact, pulse ng reported on the 13th of december, 2018 that an average female roadside prostitute in lagos earns 10 thousand naira every night which totals 200 thousand naira every month if she takes the weekends off.
So let’s rephrase. “Prostitution; a way out of poverty” is equal to “Entrepreneurship; a way out of poverty” and that makes sense!
Now here’s the part where we are cutting off the oxygen. Even though the BBC on the 14th of April, 2014 reported that the economy of the United Kingdom received a 3 billion Euro boost from prostitution alone and that Italy, through the legalisation of prostitution, improved her economy by 18 percent, it appears the Nigerian Government has developed quite a different equation for prostitution. They recognize that half the population live in extreme poverty. They recognize that prostitution can be a source of income. They recognize that every individual has autonomy over their body. But! Will arrest you if you have sex in exchange for money. So the equation is basically one plus one plus one is equal to photosynthesis. It makes no sense!
The Nigerian Government needs policies that enforces 3 things. One. To switch from using the word “prostitution” which connotes something vile and criminal, to “sex work” which recognizes that sex work is in fact work. Two, the legalisation of sex work. Three, the imposition of taxes on sex workers to improve the country’s revenue.
There are a few topics that could make me lose my appetite. Criminalization of sex work, discrimination of sex workers, poverty. I represent the average person sitting here today and if I’m being ambitious, I represent the future.