Nigeria Sex Workers Association says sex workers in the country have been forced to suspend activities, especially in Lagos and Abuja, due to the lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19.
National Coordinator of the Association, Amaka Enemo, while disclosing this to PUNCH on Tuesday said though sex workers offer “essential services” they would remain indoors because their services involve “substantial bodily contact”.
She said the association had been able to sensitise its members to the dangers of COVID-19.
“There is sensitisation across the country, including within our network. Sex workers also offer essential services. However, there is no way sex workers can do their work without body contact. So, they are staying at home to watch what happens.
“The government has announced a lockdown and as law-abiding citizens, we will not flout the law. If the government says sit at home, we will all obey because nobody wants to die.
“We fall under essential services but ours is peculiar because of the nature of body contact. You cannot compare it to doctors because the doctors are not making full body contact with people the way we do.”
When asked whether only ‘street operations’ had been suspended and if private home services could continue, Enemo said the decision of the association was that “all activities be put on hold”.
The national coordinator said, “The lockdown affects street workers and those at home equally. For the sake of their health, they should all stay at home and avoid bodily contact. So, we stay at home but we are sharing materials that will keep them safe.”
When asked to evaluate the financial impact of the lockdown on sex workers, Enemo said it was the same effect it had on artisans.