Nigerian sex workers under a community based organization, Ohotu Diamond Women Initiative (ODWI) has called on the Nigerian Police to stop abuse on sex workers.
In a statement made available to newsmen, the organization lament the misunderstanding status accorded sex workers and the unabating abuse by men of the Nigerian Police.
“The illegal status of sex work in most countries, including Nigeria has not eradicated prostitution. Instead, criminalization has increased sex workers vulnerability to human rights abuses and created fertile ground for police exploitation, especially of brothel and street-based sex workers.
On the challenges sex workers face, it said: “The challenge that we face as 50 participants from different L.G.As are almost similar. 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 is taken against perpetrators.”
The statement further revealed how sex workers suffer abuse from the Nigerian Police Officers. “Thirty percent of sex workers interviewed told researchers that they had been threatened with violence by police officers, while 27% actually experienced violence at the hands of police. Reported incidents included officers physically grabbing and kicking, as well as beating them; one incident of rape; one woman was stalked by a police officer; and throwing food at one subject. Sexual harassment included fondling of body parts; giving women cigarettes in exchange for sex; and police offering not to arrest sex workers in exchange for sexual services.
“Several times the Police have raided our hotels beating, stealing and having sex with us without protection.”
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