The county government of Nairobi recently legalised prostitution only to withdraw their support, I don’t know why. Truth be told this presents a market that has not been tapped since there is always demand, from businessmen, politicians to men who cannot keep their houses in order. Thus, there will be always supply, if you understand the basic law of demand and supply.
The biggest gainer from legal prostitution would be the government itself. The amount of taxes that would be generated by regulating brothels and the trade as a whole is unimaginable given the size of the market. The government would grant licences to the brothels at a fee. The revenue regulated can be channelled to other sectors of the economy.
Germany is a good example of a country where prostitution has been legalised and regulated. The country has actually benefited from this industry. Others are Netherlands, Japan and majority of the Asian countries.
Honestly, we now live in a society where things have metamorphosed. For instance homosexuality, transsexuals’ and abortion are some of the things that civilization has come to embrace as a normal. Same sex marriages have been legalised in United States, abortion has become part and parcel of our new constitution, leave alone transsexuals, a good example is the famous Maseno graduate, Audrey who was on News Headlines, fighting to be identified as a ‘her’. My view is that we live in a society where the wrongs are the new right. However, one thing that people fear to utter in loud tones is prostitution, and the prostitutes go through a lot to makes ends meet. So my question is, what if prostitution was to be legalised and regulated?
Legalisation would help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Most (around 60%-70%) commercial workers in Africa are HIV/AIDS positive. A framework would be put into place whereby the commercial workers would be tested regularly for STIs and given treatment. This can also be of benefit to long distance transit drivers who run the risk of spreading the STDs since they are the regular clienteles. This would play a big role in the fight against HIV in Africa. Commercial workers go through a lot of victimization from the police who demand for bribes or sex, watchmen who continuously harass them on pavements where they sell ‘merchandises’ and the society when they pass judgments to them as the most immoral people in our communities. Actually the worst insult to be called is, Malaya wewe. The legality of prostitution would actually make the victimization go away and make it a formal type employment.
The security of the commercial sex workers would also be guaranteed since they be working in conducive and well secured environment, that is the brothels. Most of the commercial sex workers have been faced with violence from their customers who refuse to pay and some have been killed by their patrons. If you remember the Onyancha story; a sequential killer who murdered several prostitutes, is a good case scenario. I recall of a story told by a male commercial sex worker who narrated a story of a Mhindi with the habit of acquiring their services and driving off without paying for the service rendered. If they were to be protected, then it would show the humanity in human beings.
The industry would also be regulated from forced prostitution and underage prostitution. All in all, legitimisation of commercial sex would come a long way in protecting the rights of some of the people in this industry whose rights have been violated. The industry will be streamlined and income will be earned without fear of being violated. There will also be proper policing.
Some of us who may think they are morality Judges. I would like you to remember that some of these people are our mother, sisters, brothers and all they are trying to do is make a living. Some of these commercial workers are highly educated. Some work as escorts to the elite in society. My point is, these are just normal people on the job and together we build the country. I know we as Africans hold high moral values and acceptance of prostitution may put my morality into question, but I maintain that it’s high time we change our perspective. Whether we like or not, prostitution started centuries back and it will continue to exist.
But are we ready to accept prostitution to be legalised? Can the country sustain such an industry? Are the commercial workers prepared to accept such industries in a place? Will the timing be right for such a change? These are some of the questions that I ask myself as I conclude this piece. Are we ready to embrace every change that comes with civilization?
The writer is a final year Economics and Statistics student, Laikipia University.
The insights are his opinion and does not necessarily mean that it is what PEPPER LIFE stands for