5 Things Nigeria Can Learn From A Senegalese Prostitute
Unlike in other African countries, in Senegal as*awo na work.
Sex work is criminalized and exploited in many African countries, and due to a lack of access to adequate health care, sex workers have the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
In 2013, a study found that across 16 African countries, an average of 37% of sex workers were HIV positive.
But for prostitutes in Senegal, the story is different. Prostitution is not only legal, but also regulated on the condition that it is done discreetly.
Given the peculiarity of the situation, we couldn't help but analyse the pros and cons of this interesting law and to this end, Bounce News brings to you 5 things that Nigeria can learn from the way prostitutes in Senegal are treated, and the positive effects it has on its society.
The West African country of Senegal is the only country in Africa where sex workers are regulated and protected by the state.
The women are given ID cards, and access to some free health care, condoms and education initiatives.
This regulation has made Senegal to experience one of the lowest HIV prevalence rates in the world, at a meager 0.4%.
2. Everyone Is Entitled To Basic Human Rights
Senegal gives a woman the right to work in the sex trade if she is over 21.
Health check-ups are mandatory every month for their Identification Cards to stay valid, and an invalid Identity Card can lead to imprisonment.
Also a sex worker who gets HIV is given free antiretroviral drugs which decrease infectiousness and prolongs life. With treatment in place, the prostitute is allowed to continue working.
3. The Law Should Reflect The Times
It all starts with changing laws.
Senegal's new policies were developed in response to the HIV epidemic sweeping across Africa in the 1980's.
They established many laws to protect the vulnerable by revamping the regulation around sex work, and getting sex workers to register with the authorities for health and safety.
4. Following The Laws Bring Results
Between 2002 and 2016 the prevalence of HIV among sex workers in Senegal fell by 21 percentage points to an impressive 7% because the laws were followed.
5. Even When It Works, No Law Is Perfect
Senegal's system is not perfect because while it gives prostitutes rights, women are still afraid to sign up for fear of discrimination and marginalization, perhaps due to the general African conservative culture and fear of stigmatisation.
Also the sex work rules do not recognize male sex workers.
The laws might not be perfect, but Senegal has safely debunked the rule that says 'Ashawo No Be Work'.