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The need to legalize prostitution in Liberia

Prostitution is regarded as a self-practice profession or a practice of engaging in relatively indiscriminate Sexual activity either by homosexual, bi-sexual or straight.  According to one unimpeachable source, prostitution practice is as old as Methuselah and that of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. In biblical days, the Hebrew law did not forbid prostitution but confined the practice to foreign women who came from outside.

According to USAID statistics on sex workers. There are about 42 million prostitutes around the world. This number includes guy men, transgender, lesbians, homosexuals, and straight. Apart from guy men and lesbians. Ordinary men prostitutes also dominate the sex field. In Africa, the rationales behind prostitution practice range from child abuse, hardship, force labor, domestic violence, abandonment, poverty, and post-traumatic stress from prolonged civil wars.

In the case of Liberia, the population of prostitutes according to sources from the Gender Ministry is around 1, 822 on record. But the source revealed that the actual prostitution statistics is three-time higher than what is recorded. Other unconfirmed sources state that children between the ages 11 to 14 years are about 2,100 in Monrovia alone, with the older prostitutes’ ages ranging from 18 to 63 years old.

The older prostitutes populations are in the neighborhood of 2, 800 to 3,100. These unconfirmed statistics are confined to Monrovia, Montserrado County; Kakata, Margibi County; Ganta, Sanniquellie, Nimba County, and Grand Bassa County. These figures do not reflect the actual numerical strength of prostitutes across the 16 counties in Liberia. It is assumed that the increased mushrooming of Liberian active female sex workers can be attributed to post-traumatic stress from the 16-years civil wars which may have vandalized the lives of these populations especially the little girls.

For instance, some women husbands died in the war. Others were raped by rebels’ fighters, while others were simply abused and subject to domestic force labor before and after the Liberian civil wars. The ongoing hardship in Liberia since the end of the Liberian civil wars has exacerbated and or heightened the practice of prostitution thus leading to the shape increase in unofficial rise in their population in Liberia.

According to our research sources in Liberia, it is estimated that there are about 8,000 active prostitutes located in 176 notable locations around Liberia with Monrovia included. For example, there are 29 sites in Monrovia including the notoriously known Kpambai town on the Robert field highway, 18 sites in Kakata, 17 sites in Bong mines, 20 sites in Firestone, 24 sites in Buchannan, 23 sites in Bong Mine, 13 sites Kanta, and 32 sites Ganta, Sanniquellie Nimba County.

These sites serve as effective breeding grounds for the proliferation of the practice of prostitution as it flourishes remarkably and attractively. The practice of prostitution has a very good market prospect in these locations with over 85% being top government officials as business partners, domestic tourists, businessmen/women being their lucrative contacts and trusted patrons, Liberian government officials.

These populations are forgotten by the government, the church, the community, relatives as well as partners in progress. The ex-UP government, as well as the CDC-led government, added more to the unbearable problems of most Liberians including these groups in Liberian society. The current administration has continued to create unbearable hardship among Liberians with a high cost of living skyrocketing across Liberia. Such a manmade condition has compelled most vulnerable populations like the prostitutes in Liberia to go out of their paths to live or do otherwise.

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Pathetically speaking, the under-aged populations are between 11 to 13 years. These groups are three times vulnerable to sexual working conditions. These groups are exposed to physical violence, injuries, murder, diseases, and many other unreported waves of abuse. Because of these groups’ vulnerabilities, the prostitution practice should be classified as a human rights abuse that deserves protection, social welfare, and environmental care which should be protected under the laws of Liberia.

These populations shouldn’t be thrown under the bus. They shouldn’t be vilified or condemned. They are part of us as Liberians. They are our brothers and sisters.’ They have simply chosen different paths in life to survive. They shouldn’t be left to the wind and become self-destructive to society. They have legitimate human rights that deserve full protection under the law. They should be guided, protected, defended, supervised, and monitored.

The Liberian Parliament should enact laws to protect these vulnerable populations in our society. Their lives deserve to be better than what it is. Their services can be better organized, their practices put into proper perspectives. Their health care should be guided and their lives should be better improved. When they are protected under the law of Liberia, they would pay taxes into government revenue for the growth and development of basic services in society as well as improve their overall wellbeing and make themselves useful and acceptable in the Liberian society where they can have a voice and express their human rights.

Eight countries in Europe including Germany, France, and Canada have legalized prostitution. Several African countries have legalized prostitution. Benin with, 4, 232 legal prostitutes; Sierra Leone, 240.000 legal prostitutes; Togo, 10.284 legal prostitutes; Niger 46, 630 legal prostitutes; Mali, 35,900 legal prostitutes; Zambia 9, 285 legal prostitutes; CapeVede, 12, 000 legal prostitutes; Ivory Coast, 18, 389 legal prostitutes; and Guinea Bissau, 3, 138 legal prostitutes Liberia should wake up and gives these populations a lawful benchmark.

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The New Dawn is Liberia’s Truly Independent Newspaper Published by Searchlight Communications Inc. Established on November 16, 2009, with its first hard copy publication on January 22, 2010. The office is located on UN Drive in Monrovia Liberia. The New Dawn is bilingual (both English & French).
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