AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSES, PREVALENCE AND EFFECT OF FEMALE PROSTITUTION IN NIGERIA TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS:
A CASE STUDY OF COLLEGE OF EDUCATION, EKIADOLOR-BENIN
BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Prostitution has become rampant in our society today among growing teens and youths. These young people see selling of their bodies as the fastest way of getting income for their keeps. In the past those engaged in prostitution use to be women selling their bodies. However, today men have joined the trade of selling their bodies for different reasons including drugs, jobs or contracts and also good grades in exams. This is because sex consumers include politicians, bosses in offices, lecturers who find pleasure in exploiting the lower class by offering mouth watering opportunities in exchange for sex. (Alufohai, 2007). She further stated that some of the causes of prostitution are high level of poverty due to unemployment rate in the society, bribery and corruption. Family expectations and other problems are factors why men and women get involved in prostitution. Women most especially are pressured into the business to be able to cater for family and siblings education.
Prostitution leads to the spread of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), HPV (human papiloma virus), herpes amongst others. Some women suffer trauma and pelvic pains, in most cases these women are subjected to drinking and smoking to ease off the pain and this habit could cause cancer which puts their lives in more jeopardy and increases mortality rate of the country. (Alufohai, 2007)
A university don, Prof. Elizabeth Balogun, on Wednesday (2007) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, expressed her concern over the prevalence of prostitution among female undergraduates in the country. Balogun said the sex trade had become rampant on Nigerian campuses to such an extent that 80 percent of prostitutes that patronise night clubs, hotels and tourist centres in Ogun State are students of tertiary institutions. Prof. Balogun, a Biochemistry lecturer at the University of Ilorin, said this at a seminar organized by the National Association of Nigerian Students to mark its 31st anniversary where she delivered a lecture titled “Prostitution on our campuses: Effects and solutions.”
The guest speaker, who expressed regret said, “It is absurd to the level that young undergraduate lady would leave normal academic chores of attending lectures and visiting libraries for further studies during the day, only to metamorphose in the evening into a call-girl or pimp. “There is no doubt that prostitution in the long run corrupts the quality of the nation’s future leaders and affects their values. Understanding that young females constitute appreciable percentage of the nation’s population, little could be expected from them productively if they had been turned into cheap sexual machines, with warped self-esteem and self- actualization. “Inordinate desire for affluence and desperation by many Nigerians, especially ladies lure them to engage in immoral and illicit activities, despite high level of religiousness which Nigerians overtly demonstrate. Even the present scourge of HIV/AIDS and the menace of ritual killers that find easy prey among prostitutes, have not been strong enough to curb the rising trend of the practice.” She urged the government to improve funding on education in order to drastically reduce cost of attaining higher education which will curb the rising trend of the practice.
According to Alfred Obiora Uzokwe (2008) Prostitution is said to be one of the oldest professions in the world. It is alluded to in the bible and ancient civilizations, like Rome and Greece, had to contend with it. As I write, inspite of the penalties entrenched in the laws of most nations, against this illicit trade, it still flourishes. In most cases, though, those who engage in the trade are independent women, old enough to make decisions for themselves and willing to bear attendant repercussions. What happens, however, when prostitution becomes a pastime for young girls still dependent on their parents for subsistence? More specifically, what happens when the act of prostitution shifts from the cigarette smoke-filled rooms of brothels and the dark alleyways of major cities, to the esteemed halls of citadels of higher learning? Essentially, some of our young girls, sent to universities to acquire knowledge and become productive citizens in the nation, have found a vocation in prostitution.
According to Punch Online [June 10, 2008], they now ply the trade right inside the university campuses. By day, they masquerade as students, attending classes and going to the libraries like other students but by night, they shed their academic garbs and don that of the oldest profession in the world. The Punch Online story sent cold chills down my spine and one is certain that when parents of young girls in Nigerian universities read this story, they will find themselves scampering after their children to ask some poignant questions. It goes without saying that every aspect of this news is bad for the universities as well as for the nation. Our female undergraduates are not only exposing themselves to danger, they are also mortgaging their future on the altar of quick money and instant sensual gratification. Furthermore, Nigerian universities that used to be the source of pride to those of us that passed through them, no longer bear any resemblance to the institutions we once knew. Standard of education has fallen; armed robbers and cultists have moved in and now the campuses are deluged by students-turned prostitutes.
The researcher in her view said that the interest she developed in this issue stems from her belief that if not arrested, it will deal a devastating and final blow on the standard of education in Nigeria, summarily shattering, to smithereens, the moral fabric of a nation that is already in tatters. It is shocking that this malady has largely been left unchecked and is spreading like wild fire. "The trend is ever becoming more dangerous in Nigeria today as prostitution is no longer a thing of the street and brothels but is fast turning higher institutions in the country into red light districts.
Today, the Nasarawa State University is fast gaining a reputation as an abode for girls of easy going virtues despite the high prevalence of HIV/AIDs in the country and particularly in Nasarawa State. (George Okoh, 2007). He further confesses that if he had to guess where this illicit trade would be flourishing; Nasarawa State University would not have been on my list. But I guess that times have really changed immensely. Most people may be wondering why prostitution would be flourishing inside university/college campuses, under the very nose of university staff and security agents. One of the principle reasons believe, is that university campus authorities have failed to strike the right balance between ensuring student liberty and enforcement of existing campus codes of conduct. Saying that the students are adults that should know better, they let them call the shots. The problem is that with unbridled liberty and freedom, the students began to push the limits of acceptable behavior, making unrestricted foray into the sublime and dangerous. Taking advantage of the freedom bestowed on them as "adults", our young girls devised creative ways to trade in prostitution right inside the campuses. Investigations conducted by various newspaper correspondents’ show that the method of operation, employed by these girls, vary from campus to another and from one individual to another. The hardened ones, who see their campuses as too boring, do not operate inside the university campuses. Instead, they brazenly take their trade directly to their customers "where the real action is". In other words, at night, they taxi into nearby cities or towns, to hot spots that would give them maximum exposure to men willing to pay anything for sensual pleasure. Some walk the streets, when they get to town, until male customers, who are willing to patronize them, materialize. Because the girls do not fear for their safety or health, they follow the customers to their homes, brothels or nightclubs.
According to Okoh, (2008) young female undergraduates of Colleges of Education, mainly between the ages of 18 to 25 years, take advantage of the proximity of their school to the major cities. The girls leave their campus dorms on Fridays, pretending to be going home for the weekend, when their actual destinations are high brow brothels, night clubs and the streets in different cities. Their sole aim is to go and pleasure, for money, men that some call "aristo"- a term of endearment for wealthy and powerful men. Okoh further reports that, "In most cases, they [the girls] return back to the school, after the weekend, with large sums of money. To some of these girls, it's just having fun on the weekend but for the fact that in most times they sleep around and collect money from men they hardly know."
The world prostitution is the act or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms including “John” prostitution is one of the branches of sex industry. The legal status of prostitution varies from country to country, from being a punishable crime to a regulated profession. Estimates place the annual revenue generated from the global prostitution industry to be over 100 billion. Prostitution is sometimes referred to as “the world’s oldest profession. Prostitution occurs in a variety of forms. Brothels are establishments specifically dedicated to prostitution. In escort prostitution, the act may take place at the customers’ residence or hotel room (referred to as out-call) or at the escort’ residence (called in-call). Another form in street prostitution. Sex tourism refers to traveling, typically from developed to under-developed nations of one type of human trafficking is defined as using coercion or force to transport an unwilling person into prostitution or other sexual exploitation.
Prostitute is defined from the Latin prostitute. Some sources cite the verb as a composition of “pro” meaning “up front” or “forward” and “situere” defined as to off up for sale. Another exploitation is that prostitute is a composition of pro and stature (to cause to stand to station place erect). A literal translation therefore would be to put up front for sale or to place forward. The online Etymology Dictionary states, “the notion of sex for hire is not inherent in the etymology, which rather suggests one exposed to lust or sex indiscriminately offered. The word prostitute was then carried down through various languages to the present day western society. Most sex worker activists group reject the word prostitute and since the late 1970s have used the term sex work instead. However, a sex worker can also mean anyone who works within the sex industry or whose work is of a sex nature and is not limited solely to prostitutes. In the early 17th century, there was widespread male and female prostitution throughout the cities of Isyoto, Edo and Osaka, Japan. Oiran were Courtesaus in Japan during the Edo period. The Oiran were considered a type of Yojo “woman of pleasure” or prostitute. Among the Oiran the Taju was considered the highest rank of courtesan available only to the wealthiest and highest rank of courtesaus available only to the wealthiest and highest ranking men. To entertain their client, Oiran practiced the arts of dance, music, poetry, and calligraphy as well as sexual services, and educated with was considered essential for sophisticated conversation. Many became celebrities of their times outside the pleasure district. Their art and fashion often set trends among wealthy women. The last recorded Oiran was in (1961). Although illegal in modern Japan, the definition of prostitution does not extend to a private reached between a woman and man in a brothel. Yoshiware has a large number of soap lands that began when explicit prostitution in Japan became illegal, where women washed men’s bodies. They were originally known as Toruko-buro, meaning Turkish bath. In ancient Greek society, prostitution was engaged in by both women and boys. The Greek word for prostitutes is porne derived from the verb pernemi (tonseu), with the evident modern evolution. The English word pornography, and its corollaries in other languages are directly derived from the Greek word porno. Female prostitutes could be independent and sometimes influential women.
They were required to wear distinctive dresses and had to pay taxes. Some similarities have been found between the Greek hetaera and the Japanese Oiran. Some prostitutes in ancient Greece such as lais were as famous for their company as their beauty but some of these women charged extraordinary sums for their services. In ancient Rome, a registered prostitute was called a meretrix while unregistered one fell under the broad category prostibulae. There were some commonalities with the Greek system, but as the empire grew, prostitutes were often foreign slaves captured, purchased, or raised for that purpose sometimes by large scale prostitute farmers who took abandoned children. Indeed, abandoned children were almost always raised as prostitutes. Enslavement into prostitution was sometimes used as a legal punishment against criminal free women. Buyers were allowed to inspect naked men and women for sale in private and there was no stigma attached to the purchase of males by a man aristocrat.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Statistically, prostitution is an alarming problem to the human society. Prostitution is a form of violence against women, it is violation of human rights. With a higher instance of physical violence perpetrated against them, female prostitutes are more likely to get murdered. This is a common occurrence across the country and contributes to the incidence of children without parents. Prostitutes have an increase incidence of sexually transmitted diseases. A study in Minecapolis, Minnesota revealed that only 15% of prostitutes who had prostituted for at least six months has an S.T.D. This figure does not include HIV/AIDS, Gynecological examination of the prostitutes in this study revealed an alarming incidence of positive pap tests. These women are at greater risk of cervical cancer and could spread the human papiloma virus among the population of the Minecapolis St. Paul Metropolitan area, either through direct transmission or indirect transmission.
The research reveals that rather than facing conditions of slavery men and women working as prostitutes are subjected to abuses which are similar in nature to those experienced by others working in low stratus jobs in the informal sector. However, the marginal position of sex workers in society excludes them from the international, national and customary protection afforded to other as citizens, workers or women. Their vulnerability to human and labor rights violations is greater than that of others because of the stigma and criminal charges widely attached to sex work. The report recommend that all national legislation which in intent or in practice results in the placing of sex workers outside the scope of the rule of law, should be repealed. The abolitionist approach declares that the institution of prostitution itself constitutes a violation of human rights. Raymond wishes to establish that all immigrant women working as prostitutes are victims f slavery and abuse. Average prostitution in Edo State was 70% female, 20%, male prostitutes and 10% customer. Whereas street prostitution accounts between 10 to 20% of the prostitution in Edo State. Research revealed that only 3-5% of the sexually transmitted diseases in Edo State relented to prostitution compared with 30-35% among teenagers. However, prevalent rate for prostitutes was approximately 50 percent in Edo State.
PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The purpose of the study is to investigate into the causes, prevalence and effect of female prostitution in Nigerian tertiary institutions: college of Education, Ekiadolor as a case study.
Another objective of the study is also to find out whether poverty is a major cause of female prostitution in the Nigerian tertiary institutions.
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will help the government to re-evaluate its previous policies about prostitution and come up with a more realistic policies and programmes.
Parents will also benefit, in that it will make them to become more alive to their responsibilities.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The scope of this study covers the four schools in the College of Education, Ekiadolor-Benin which are school of sciences, school of arts and social sciences, school of vocational and technical studies, and school of languages.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Prostitution: Is the practice of engaging in relatively indiscriminate sexual activity in general with individual other than a spouse in exchange for immediate payment in money.
Youth: An individual that is aged between twenty and forty.
Contraceptive: All involve the use of drugs to prevent conception.
Abortion: It involves force terminate of pregnancy by drugs or any other means.
General diseases: It refers to those diseases got from sexual intercourse.
Aids: Acquire Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
Hiv: Human Immuno Deficiency Virus.
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