A trend of single mothers going into prostitution in Osogbo where both married and unmarried men patronise them has been unearthed.
Tunrayo, a sex worker at a popular relaxation centre in Osogbo metropolis said, “I will never marry again, you men are stupid, very unreliable. This business, though risky can pay my bill and that of my two children; is it not better than staying with one idiot in hunger.”
”It is wrong for you to call ‘hustling‘ an illegal activity, tell me what is legal in Nigeria, even those who make laws patronise us here so, what are you talking about.
“Let me tell you, this work is both a source of livelihood for many people, while the service prevents some from going to jail and ruin their future. You can imagine what would have been the level of rape if we are not available to provide emotional succour for the ‘needy’, meaning that our service is legal and essential.”
Tunrayo is one of hundreds of single mothers in Osogbo, the Osun State capital, that constitute a powerful ring of sex workers plying their ‘trades’ mostly at two popular relaxation centres known as ‘Pavilion and River Side’ within the metropolis among several others.
The two notorious haven of pleasure were located very close to each other along Iwo-Osogbo road with patronage cutting across all the major towns in the state.
Investigation deduced that more than 80 per cent of the sex workers are single mothers, who have had between one to four children in their past marriages and opted for this odious job in order to survive.
Another sex worker, simply identified as Love, a native of Oju Local Government of Benue State said she has been doing the job for over five years, as she adduced her involvement in such an act to a failed marriage and harsh economic condition.
She explained that her case was not different from many of her colleagues, who she said came to the town for the same purpose and reason.
“We are many here, majority of us are single mothers, and we must survive in the absence of our breadwinners. Although this work is very dangerous, we are taking the greatest risk of our life, but we do not have any other option than to do it.“
“For instance, one of our ladies here got missing some months back, while her mutilated corpse was later discovered at a bush path thereafter, but that has not in any way discouraged others to stop the work, it is a matter of survival you know”.
Speaking further, a shop operator at the premises of one of the relaxation centres, Mrs Sharon Olagunju expressed disappointment over what she called government’s insensitivity towards the plight of people, adding that poverty remains the root cause of the menace.
She said some of the sex workers, who have spoken with her on the reason why they were in that kind of business had complained about unemployment and lack of capital to start up a business.
She, therefore, called on the government at all levels to put a stop to many of the social vices by creating employment and a better business environment that will genuinely alleviate poverty and misery in the society.
“Many of these ladies are my friends, they see me as their confidant, they patronise me and eventually got attached to me in the course of our interactions.
“I can tell you sincerely that majority of them, if not all are here because of poverty, I doubt if any of them has come here for sexual pleasure, they are all here to fend for themselves.
“Apart from very few ones among them who are single, maybe those girls from tertiary institutions around, who come around during weekend to hustle, over 90 per cent of those doing this job are single mothers.
“Sincerely, their case is pathetic, they always complain about the many humiliation and harassment they experience in the hands of their clients, and risk of coming across ritualists.
“I can count up to five among them who have fallen victim of ritual killings, as many of them who are still alive have been used for ritual purpose.
”I hope our government will look into this and salvage the future of these young women by creating an alternative means of livelihood for them,“ she posited.
Meanwhile, a sociologist and expert in feminism, Dr Tayo Adenegan has described failed marriage as a serious social vice and one of the root causes of prostitution in the society.
She said many single mothers find it difficult to make a decent living hence, the crude alternative of going into prostitution to survive.
She added that acts like prostitution has a dangerous potency to cause societal menace that is capable of causing serious damage.
“Prostitution is both psychological and economical;many of those women you are talking about went into prostitution due to economic predicament and frustration of standing alone in the family.
“It is a known fact that women who have been having sx might not be able to cope without sx so, that frustration could push one to the act, more so when the person is sexually active.
“Another issue is that of those who have children out of wedlock, they are the most frustrated ones, and they are prone to this kind of things if they do not have dependable economic base”.
The Zonal Commander of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person(NAPTIP) Osogbo, Mrs Kehinde Akomolafe when contacted for reaction said the agency was working assiduously to sensitise people against such act.
She also stressed that the agency was in synergy with other security agencies to nip prostitution in the bud through enforcement.