AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE CAUSES, PREVALENCE AND EFFECT OF FEMALE PROSTITUTION IN NIGERIAN TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
The study investigated into the causes, prevalence and effect of female prostitution in Nigerian tertiary institutions: a case study of College of Education, Ekiadolor-Benin. In the course of the research and collection of data some research questions were postulated these include;
- How come about female prostitution
- What are the effects of female prostitution?
- Do female prostitution cause by parents or government in our society?
The research instrument used includes questionnaires and oral interview. The simple percentage data analysis was used for the collection. A total of ninety (90) respondents were used in conclusion, some recommendations were suggested to maltreat some of the identified problems.
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Prostitution has become rampant in our society today among growing teens and youths. These young people see selling of their bodies as the fastest way of getting income for their keeps. In the past those engaged in prostitution use to be women selling their bodies. However, today men have joined the trade of selling their bodies for different reasons including drugs, jobs or contracts and also good grades in exams. This is because sex consumers include politicians, bosses in offices, lecturers who find pleasure in exploiting the lower class by offering mouth watering opportunities in exchange for sex. (Alufohai, 2007). She further stated that some of the causes of prostitution are high level of poverty due to unemployment rate in the society, bribery and corruption. Family expectations and other problems are factors why men and women get involved in prostitution. Women most especially are pressured into the business to be able to cater for family and siblings education.
Prostitution leads to the spread of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases), AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome), HPV (human papiloma virus), herpes amongst others. Some women suffer trauma and pelvic pains, in most cases these women are subjected to drinking and smoking to ease off the pain and this habit could cause cancer which puts their lives in more jeopardy and increases mortality rate of the country. (Alufohai, 2007)
A university don, Prof. Elizabeth Balogun, on Wednesday (2007) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, expressed her concern over the prevalence of prostitution among female undergraduates in the country. Balogun said the sex trade had become rampant on Nigerian campuses to such an extent that 80 percent of prostitutes that patronize night clubs, hotels and tourist centres in Ogun State are students of tertiary institutions. Prof. Balogun, a Biochemistry lecturer at the University of Ilorin, said this at a seminar organized by the National Association of Nigerian Students to mark its 31stanniversary where she delivered a lecture titled “Prostitution on our campuses: Effects and solutions.”
The guest speaker, who expressed regret said, “It is absurd to the level that young undergraduate lady would leave normal academic chores of attending lectures and visiting libraries for further studies during the day, only to metamorphose in the evening into a call-girl or pimp. “There is no doubt that prostitution in the long run corrupts the quality of the nation’s future leaders and affects their values. Understanding that young females constitute appreciable percentage of the nation’s population, little could be expected from them productively if they had been turned into cheap sexual machines, with warped self-esteem and self- actualization. “Inordinate desire for affluence and desperation by many Nigerians, especially ladies lure them to engage in immoral and illicit activities, despite high level of religiousness which Nigerians overtly demonstrate. Even the present scourge of HIV/AIDS and the menace of ritual killers that find easy prey among prostitutes, have not been strong enough to curb the rising trend of the practice.” She urged the government to improve funding on education in order to drastically reduce cost of attaining higher education which will curb the rising trend of the practice.
According to Alfred Obiora Uzokwe (2008) Prostitution is said to be one of the oldest professions in the world. It is alluded to in the bible and ancient civilizations, like Rome and Greece, had to contend with it. As I write, inspite of the penalties entrenched in the laws of most nations, against this illicit trade, it still flourishes. In most cases, though, those who engage in the trade are independent women, old enough to make decisions for themselves and willing to bear attendant repercussions. What happens, however, when prostitution becomes a pastime for young girls still dependent on their parents for subsistence? More specifically, what happens when the act of prostitution shifts from the cigarette smoke-filled rooms of brothels and the dark alleyways of major cities, to the esteemed halls of citadels of higher learning? Essentially, some of our young girls, sent to universities to acquire knowledge and become productive citizens in the nation, have found a vocation in prostitution.
According to Punch Online (June 10, 2008) they now ply the trade right inside the university campuses. By day, they masquerade as students, attending classes and going to the libraries like other students but by night, they shed their academic garbs and don that of the oldest profession in the world. The Punch Online story sent cold chills down my spine and one is certain that when parents of young girls in Nigerian universities read this story, they will find themselves scampering after their children to ask some poignant questions. It goes without saying that every aspect of this news is bad for the universities as well as for the nation. Our female undergraduates are not only exposing themselves to danger, they are also mortgaging their future on the altar of quick money and instant sensual gratification. Furthermore, Nigerian universities that used to be the source of pride to those of us that passed through them, no longer bear any resemblance to the institutions we once knew. Standard of education has fallen; armed robbers and cultists have moved in and now the campuses are deluged by students-turned prostitutes.
The researcher in her view said that the interest she developed in this issue stems from her belief that if not arrested, it will deal a devastating and final blow on the standard of education in Nigeria, summarily shattering, to smithereens, the moral fabric of a nation that is already in tatters. It is shocking that this malady has largely been left unchecked and is spreading like wild fire. “The trend is ever becoming more dangerous in Nigeria today as prostitution is no longer a thing of the street and brothels but is fast turning higher institutions in the country into red light districts.
Today, the Nasarawa State University is fast gaining a reputation as an abode for girls of easy going virtues despite the high prevalence of HIV/AIDs in the country and particularly in Nasarawa State. (George Okoh, 2007). He further confesses that if he had to guess where this illicit trade would be flourishing; Nasarawa State University would not have been on my list. But I guess that times have really changed immensely. Most people may be wondering why prostitution would be flourishing inside university/college campuses, under the very nose of university staff and security agents. One of the principle reasons believe, is that university campus authorities have failed to strike the right balance between ensuring student liberty and enforcement of existing campus codes of conduct. Saying that the students are adults that should know better, they let them call the shots. The problem is that with unbridled liberty and freedom, the students began to push the limits of acceptable behavior, making unrestricted foray into the sublime and dangerous. Taking advantage of the freedom bestowed on them as “adults”, our young girls devised creative ways to trade in prostitution right inside the campuses. Investigations conducted by various newspaper correspondents’ show that the method of operation, employed by these girls, vary from campus to another and from one individual to another. The hardened ones, who see their campuses as too boring, do not operate inside the university campuses. Instead, they brazenly take their trade directly to their customers “where the real action is”. In other words, at night, they taxi into nearby cities or towns, to hot spots that would give them maximum exposure to men willing to pay anything for sensual pleasure. Some walk the streets, when they get to town, until male customers, who are willing to patronize them, materialize. Because the girls do not fear for their safety or health, they follow the customers to their homes, brothels or nightclubs.