Sunday, 3 August 2014

Campus Prostitution: A Growing Concern In Nigeria

Nigeria: Menace of Campus S*x Trade

By Blessing Undoidi

The growing rate of campus s*x trade in our tertiary institutions is becoming a cause for concern. It is no longer news that politicians, lawmakers, businessmen and other well-placed men in the society are the major people patronizing female students . When you visit female hostels at night, you will be amazed at the kind of flashy cars that come to pick up these young undergraduates for one function or the other. This is pathetic for this nation and its people. The same set of misguided leaders that have thrown the parents of these students into abject poverty, are the same ones destroying their children; because they control the means of survival and social status.

A student involved in the 'trade' who doesn't want her name in print said she is not happy doing it. She said people including the wide array of men who patronize her see her as immoral and indecent. "I was molested by five men when I was just 16 years old and in my final year in secondary school, so it affected me psychologically and the incident contributed to what I am today. I am also the first child of my parent's eight children. I need to struggle and sponsor myself in school and also help sponsor my younger ones because my parents are poor. So I do this to survive."

Another student in an interview with this writer said almost all tertiary institutions, either public or privately owned, have a representation of women of easy virtue. She said many female students are brazenly joining the train. "They are increasing on a daily basis because the ladies are being encouraged and initiated by their friends, added with an inordinate desire for affluence. Religious teachings, scourge of HIV/AIDS and ritual killers that find easy prey among s*x workers has not been able to curb the rising trend of the practice."

She said there is no doubt that the s*x trade, in the long run, corrupts the quality of the nation's future leaders and affects their values.  Understanding that young females constitute an appreciable percentage of the nation's population, little could be expected from them, productively, if they have been turned into 'cheap se*ual machines' with warped self-esteem and self-actualization.

Commenting on the issue, a lawyer, Terver Loius Abagen, said campus s*x trade is the business of having s*x for money by female students. "This type of immorality is certainly not a new thing.  The history of this type of immorality can be likened to the history of mankind, because every civilization has practiced it. Modern persons continue to patronize s*x workers. Even the name has now changed to "commercial s*x workers", in an attempt to lessen the stigma of the women who practice this trade.

"Notable people all over the country are known to patronize s*x workers, which is the major reason why the business continues to thrive in spite of global criticisms against it. Many of the big men in our society, who patronize them, do so discreetly and urge them to keep it up while coming to the open to fight for bills on why s*x workers should keep off the streets, and this profession is likely to equal the world oil market in the nearest future," he said.

According to him, several attempts have been made to curb the s*x trade through the Penal Code in Section 34 which states, 'Right to Dignity of human person. Every individual is entitled to respect for dignity of his person and accordingly - a) No person shall be subjected to torture or inhuman degrading treatment'. It should be noted that the s*x trade can be one of the elements of degradation. Also in State Law it says, they can be arrested and given two years imprisonment and can be charged with the fine of N20,000.

He said many arrests have been made in the past, especially with the help of Civil Societies, "but the Nigerian society has failed to arrive at a consensus on how to legally handle this blooming profession. While some people prefer that it be outlawed, others have sympathetically justified the profession on the bad economy of the country and feel that outlawing the s*x trade will further victimize the victims, so there is confusion on what steps to take to reduce the s*x trade."

He advised that the campus s*x trade can be stopped or reduced, if tertiary institutions can make laws to prohibit the practice on the campuses, arrest anybody caught in the act and, hand them over to the appropriate authorities for prosecution. He said, if these laws are put in place, it will pose a threat to others intending to venture into such a business within the campus environment and the country at large.

Barrister Abagen stressed that the parents also have a significant role to play in stopping or reducing the s*x trade on campuses. He enjoined parents to teach their children good morals from home. "They should also strive to meet the needs of their children in school. Many parents don't have time to check on their children and know what they are doing with their lives. They are carried away with their jobs, family problems and their financial challenges."

"The government is also not helping matters with the rate of unemployment in the country and the high cost of attaining higher education. The government should improve funding of the education sector in order to drastically reduce the cost of attaining higher education in the country," he advised.

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