Sex workers in Nigeria forced to suspend activities

The National Coordinator , Nigeria Sex Workers Association , Amaka Enemo , says sex workers in the country have been forced to suspend activities , especially in Lagos and Abuja , due to the lockdown to check the spread of COVID – 19 .

Enemo told that although sex workers offer “essential services ” they would remain indoors because their services involve “ substantial bodily contact ”.

She said the association had been able to sensitise its members to the dangers of COVID – 19.

She said , “ There is sensitisation across the country, including within our network. Sex workers also offer essential services .

However , there is no way sex workers can do their work without body contact . So , they are staying at home to watch what happens .

“ The government has announced a lockdown and as law- abiding citizens, we will not flout the law.

If the government says sit at home , we will all obey because nobody wants to die .

“ We fall under essential services but ours is peculiar because of the nature of body contact .

You cannot compare it to doctors because the doctors are not making full body contact with people the way we do . ”

When asked whether only ‘ street operations ’ had been suspended and if private home services could continue , Enemo said the decision of the association was that “all activities be put on hold ”.

The national coordinator said , “ The lockdown affects street workers and those at home equally. For the sake of their health , they should all stay at home and avoid bodily contact .

So , we stay at home but we are sharing materials that will keep them safe . ”

When asked to evaluate the financial impact of the lockdown on sex workers , Enemo said it was the same effect it had on artisans .

Enemo added , “ Of course it is going to affect them financially but sex workers are not the only ones that make money on a daily basis.

It is the same for commercial drivers . Of course , they might have their savings but that does not mean it will not affect them .

It is affecting everybody; so , sex workers are not exempted . ”

The national coordinator said her association would accept donations from the government or private sector as this would reduce the impact of the lockdown on members .

“ If they are willing to help , we will accept it .

It is lockdown . Our business is affected, ” Enemo added .

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