COVID-19: National Association Of Commercial Sex Workers Announce Suspension Of ‘Essential Services’ For Now
As a result of the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, sex workers in Nigeria have decided to suspend activities, especially in Lagos and Abuja.
The announcement was made by the National Coordinator, Nigeria Sex Workers Association, Amaka Enemo.
Enemo told The PUNCH on Tuesday that although sex workers offer “essential services” they will remain indoors because their services involve “substantial bodily contact”.
According to her, 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.”
And when she was asked if 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.”
Evaluating the financial impact of the lockdown on sex workers, Enemo said it was the same effect artisans were facing.
Enemo added, “Of course it is going to affect them financially but sex workers are not the only ones that make money on a daily basis. It is the same for commercial drivers. Of course, they might have their savings but that does not mean it will not affect them. It is affecting everybody so sex workers are not exempted.”
And on a final note, the coordinator asserted that her association would accept donations from the government or private sector as this would reduce the impact of the lockdown on members.
“If they are willing to help, we will accept it. It is a lockdown. Our business is affected,” Enemo added.