Sex workers in Nigeria popularly referred to as Ashawo want freedom to do their business and help the nation reduce its HIV/AIDS burden.

They believe that de-criminalising sex work in Nigeria will result in effective control of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Another claim they are making is that they will contribute to the nation's revenue drive through taxes that they would be made to pay.

Their request was conveyed by the head of the National Sex Workers Association, Ms Amaka Enemo.

Enemo was addressing reporters in Abuja on the sideline of the inauguration of a new report on ‘Understanding the high-risk of urban sexual networks in Nigeria’.

She claimed that sex workers faced a lot of violence especially from their clients, thugs and law enforcement agents.

Law Enforcement Agents Exploit Sex Workers

Most of the times, police and other law enforcement agents exploit sex workers when they raid their brothels or streets where sex workers conduct their business, the News Agency of Nigeria quoted her as saying.

“When they are arrested, some of the law enforcement agents demand and conduct unprotected sexual acts with the sex workers who do not have money.

“This exposes the sex workers to the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections,’’ she said.

According to Enemo de-criminalising sex work will reduce the risk and the violence sex workers face in Nigeria.

She added that the government would also benefit from the sex workers because they would pay tax.

"In Amsterdam, where sex work is legalised, sex workers pay 160 Euros to enable them stay in a ‘window for eight hours’."

She explained that a window is a place where a sex worker stays to wait for her clients.

The report highlighted areas and citizens at risk of contracting HIV infections, but are yet to receive any intervention.

It also so highlighted places in Abuja where sex workers do not know about condom, lubricants and other services.