As some service providers argue in demand for inclusion of their services in those classified as essential in the coronavirus pandemic and its lockdowns in its epicentres, prostitutes say their sex work is undoubtedly part of the essential services.
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 caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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,” she said.
According to her, despite the essence of their services, they have thought it wise to suspend them for time being to safeguard the lives of the prostitutes.
Enemo told The Punch on Tuesday that her outfit came to that decision because the work of her members involves “substantial bodily contact”, so the risk of contracting the COVID-19 is high.
She compared prostitution with health work arguing that the former is even more essential than the former.
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.
“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,” Amaka Enemo argued.