By Adedotun Ajayi
The present economic situation coupled with the recent hike in fuel price have struck the sex trade forcing sex workers to slash their charges to an all-time low of N500 per stroke and N5,000 – N7,000 a night due to diminishing patronage.
A self acclaimed entrepreneur (prostitute), Tina operating in one of the hot red light zones in Akure, who spoke in Pidgin and English, told The Hope, that since the first week of June, she and her colleagues have been complaining of “bad market.”
“There is no money in the country. Guys are complaining, but for me, going back home after a night out is worse, wetin man pikin go do? We have to collect any pay that is offered like that. Some nights, 20 guys or more would approach me, and none of them will want to go higher than N6,000 for my service a night, some would even say they won’t buy me food or drink, but what options do I have, this is what brings food to my table,” she said
“These days, our clients don’t even come with their cars because of the current hike in fuel prices, they come on bikes which is even more scary. Business has been dwindling as customers do not have the money to patronize us anymore and as such, we have been suffering untold hardship. The hardship has affected every facet of the society including our business as our customers base has diminished and the few men that seek our services do not have the money to pay. Even after many of our members have reduced their charges drastically. Sometimes if I tell my customers to do short time for N3,000 they decline because they want it all through the night for N5000,” said another who gave her name as Rita.
“We are bread winners in our families and some of us have lots of responsibilities. Since this government came into power, things have sky rocket. And to add to our woes, they have increased the fuel price, making the ordinary Nigerians the worse off,” said Deborah, another night worker.
According to investigations, the prevailing downturn in the economy seems to be affecting everything in the country, including the services of commercial sex workers, who are currently complaining about bad business. Many of them were seen loitering without patronage. At the arrival of our correspondent, at one of the popular night clubs in Alagbaka, Akure about six ladies came trying their luck.
One of them, Joy, was literally begging to be taken home by our correspondent, who priced her far below the normal price. She had initially demanded for N20,000 for the night when the bargaining ensued.
Our correspondent had priced her N5,000, which she eventually accepted and was saying “okay let’s go to your house, I will do you well, you will enjoy me.” Other ladies met on the same spot insisted on N8,000 or N10,000 per night.
“Oga this one wey you dey price like this, you no go fit pay for all night. E go better if you go for quick rest. Quick rest na N2,500. Let’s leave the full night. I have a place, where I lodge at Arakale, let’s go there and enjoy ourselves. I’m sweet in the middle, let’s just do quick rest. Long night is N10,000 but as you dey price so, you no fit pay for full night. I will do you well and I will give you my number so that you can call anytime you need me,” said Abigail, another woman of the night.
When it seemed that our correspondent might not play ball, Joy lost her cool and accused him of wasting her time, wondering why he hindered her from making brisk business after hearing her complain about low or no patronage. The fact that our correspondent, isolated her for a discussion but didn’t take her home, irked her to no end and she muttered “I pray that God would give me another customer. You know that you don’t want to carry me home and you came here to waste my time.
If I had stood at that place, somebody else would have carried me. After now you will go and pray God to bless your business but you are here spoiling my own business. Go, let me wait and see if God will give me another customer this night,” she brushed him off.
This was the emotional outburst of this young lady, who thought she had caught a big fish for the night. Her anxiety to get a man for the night was obvious. She seemed not to see anything wrong with her prostituting as she eagerly solicits the few men that came around along with her co workers.
Joy believes that God is aware of her business and said she prays each night that God gives her good customers.
However, there is another group of sex workers that one can classify as special prostitutes or hookup girls. Their prices are high and they do not stay on the road or hop around any man that comes their way. In the prostitution business, they carry themselves with some degree of respect.
In some cases, they have their names, pictures and phone numbers registered on hookup websites and they are called upon when needed.
In a telephone conversation with Sweet baddie by name from one of the hookup websites, it was obvious that those in the hookup business are still having the best of time as they still maintained their former prices.
She said Iam expensive, I don’t care if the economy is dwindling or not, if you can’t afford it, block me and move ahead”
Sweet baddie dropped her shocking price list, short time is equivalent to a bag of foreign rice, when asked why her prices were high, she said “I am the best at what I do, you can go on the website you got my number from and check my reviews, some men come running after me immediately they receive their salaries. Some men are so regular that some times when they are low on cash, I let them have their way because I know they would definitely pay later, the whole increase in fuel price and the economy has not affected my own business,” she boasted.