Nearly all sex workers and drug users in Nigeria use condoms

While the recently released UNAIDS Data Report painted a bad outlook for Nigeria, the section on the sex practices of sex workers in Nigeria in addition to drug users show that these key groups are practising safe sex.

According to thе rероrt, Nigеriа in 2017 hаd 103,506 sex wоrkеrѕ out of whiсh 98.1% ѕаid they uѕеd соndоm while hаving sex with thеir lаѕt client.

Among those that inject drugs, 83.2% said they used condom during sexual intercourse.

Among gays however, only 51% said they used condoms for their last sexual encounter.
Among Nigerian sex workers, 14.4% are living with HIV while among individuals that inject drugs (total of 44, 515), only 3.4% have HIV.

Prostitution in Nigeria is illegal in all Northern States that practice Islamic penal code. In Southern Nigeria, the activities of pimps or madams, underage prostitution and the operation or ownership of brothels are penalized under sections 223, 224, and 225 of the Nigerian Criminal Code. Even though Nigerian law does not legalize commercial sex work, it is vague if such work is performed by an independent individual who operates on his or her own accord without the use of pimps or a brothel.

Within Nigeria, the most common form of sex work is found within brothels or residences of sex workers. A steady rise in young students and unemployed graduates who use sex to earn income and acting as part-time prostitutes or call girls or sometimes called Aristo girls are changing the strategies used by sex workers.

These young graduates and students use the services of pimps and call-ups as a modus of operation, while some frequent bars and restaurants. In some cases, porters or hotel staff acts as pimps and links between upper class Nigerians and the call girls. The aristo girls mostly serve upper class citizens and foreigners are better paid than the sex workers in brothels.

Almost two thirds of brothel and street sex workers are traders, bar girls, hair dressers or have a second type of job. Brothels are in virtually every major city in Nigeria and offer the cheapest form of service. The brothels are located in highly populated districts and slums within the city.

In a survey of commercial sex workers, almost two thirds or about 63% mentioned that they started commercial sex work before the age of 19. A majority of them (63%) work from brothels. Due to the negative public perception of commercial sex work, 88% of workers operate in cities far from their childhood home. A majority came from households within the low income bracket.

Sex workers in Nigeria are trained by an older professional or pimp prior to commencement on the job. Training lessons concern how to deal with a difficult man, STD’s and self-defence. A large number of sex workers had limited information about STD’s and a majority mentioned that they did not utilize a clinic for treatment.

They are also organised into groups with a national body, the Nigerian Sex Workers Association.

The association’s priority is to oppose the criminalisation and other legal oppression of sex work and support its recognition as work.

“Sex workers in my organisation face a lot of harassment from the police and other law enforcement agencies. The health care workers are not friendly with the sex workers too,” the president of the association said.

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