Connect with us


Munir Bello: Should Prostitution Be Legal?

Munir Bello



When I was younger I used to work for a Sunglass shop. Some of my regular customers were women who would come in very early in the morning when we opened. They would be very glamorously dressed and looking very tired. Some of them had bags under their eyes. Some of them had black eyes. Most were friendly. They had large amounts of cash on them and took pleasure in spending it. I had my suspicions about how they earned a living but I wasn’t entirely certain. After about 6 months of frequently seeing the girls in the shop I finally asked them what they did for a living. My suspicions were confirmed. These girls were escorts and prostitutes. A lot of them preferred the term escort. As a 16 year old boy, my curiousity got the better of me and I peppered them with questions.

They all had different reasons for doing the job. Some were illegally smuggled into the country as teenage girls by gangs under the premise of being provided jobs as cleaners, secretaries and waitresses. They were very tempted as it would allow them to send money to their families who were very poor. Some were kidnapped from their villages and forced into the trade. Others were in debt to drug dealers and were using their bodies to settle a debt that seemed to have accrued an insurmountable amount of interest. The girls that I got to be speak with regularly were part of a wider ring. They considered themselves lucky as they were allowed to roam the streets freely as they had earned the trust of their bosses (they didn’t like the word pimp).

They made money from sleeping with men and paid some of it to their bosses. They stresses that it was a better life than when they were younger. Back then all the money they made went to these men who would give them basics such as food, clothing and accessories for “work”. They weren’t allowed to go anywhere without having an attendant constantly following them, watching their every move. They got “promoted” after an average of 3 years to street walkers. They were “allowed” to roam the streets and also had access to a mobile phone which would ring at any time with a job that they couldn’t turn down. Their main restriction was the expectance of turning up to a flat at a certain time with a certain minimum amount of money. They were allowed to live away from their “office” but they had to live close by.

I probed them about the average number of men they slept with on a daily basis and the average was 11. They said most of the men were nice but some occasionally got violent. Their bosses were the worst as they were very intimidating. The girls mentioned that if they didn’t make their minimum quota of money, they were beaten and punished. Some of them hated their profession but a higher number than I expected said that they didn’t mind it. They said that the rewards were great and the risks to their lives were minimal in most cases with a few exceptions. These girls wanted to be free of the bosses that ran their lives in order to do it themselves. This is when I started wondering if prostitution should be made legal.

I put this question forward to my male interviewees who had different opinions on the matter as usual. Some couldn’t see past their short term satisfaction and were all for making the trade legal. Others said they liked the trade being kept underground as if they came out of a house of vice, none of their colleagues who might be passing by would know due to the fact that these places weren’t sign posted. Another guy I spoke to who admitted to spending a significant amount of his earnings on paid sex said he’d be happy with complete legalisation as he felt that he was being ripped off but had no complaining body to take his grievances to neither did he have anyone that he could go to for a refund if his experience wasn’t satisfactory (he did point out that his satisfaction would be easy to prove).

Another guy raised a point which was that if it was made legal, he wouldn’t want his daughter to aspire to be in that profession due to the exposure of the trade in the mainstream. Most of his concerns were to do with the effect it would have on him if members of his family were involved in the profession. I’m no expert therefore I’m certain that it’s not as easy as 123 but I do believe that there is a case for it before people rule it out.

I recently started thinking over the issue again in a discussion with a friend. There is a great demand for this service, meaning that it generates a large income stream. It would put more money into the governments coffers through taxes and offer many people a job such as health and safety inspectors, cleaners, receptionists, security guards, accountants and many more.

I must at this stage make clear that I’ve never used the services of an escort but my reasoning for legalisation is to do with the safety of the many women who are exploited and murdered by this industry while it remains illegal. Legalisation would also give people a choice to work in this industry whilst at the moment it is forced labour. It would also mean that less men would get away with abusing the women in this trade in its current form.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Mocker


  1. Jagbajantis

    March 5, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    While many prostitutes have been coerced involuntarily into the profession, it is not always the case. Some see it is as an easy way to make money using the, err, talents that they have. I am a guy (and it is usually thought that we have sex on the brain 24/7) but I give kudos to anyone who voluntarily decides to take up prostitution as it has to be the most brain-numbing job in the world. I would not even eat food prepared by someone I do not know, and I hardly rest up if I have to sleep outside my home, but to sleep with a total total stranger off the street or internet (which is worse than pulling a chick at a night club) needs mega courage and mental fortitude. It is a no-win profession, prostitution and usually ends in blood, sweat or tears.

    It is the oldest profession in the world, and as long as man has prick, there will always be prostitutes. There are cases of men who are not able to smash unless they pay for sex.

    • Cynical

      March 5, 2015 at 9:18 pm

      I totally agree with you o.why anyone will take up prostitution voluntarily is beyond do you do something as intimate as making love with a complete stranger????? As for those being forced into it,that’s a different kettle of fish.

    • ahappywhore

      March 5, 2015 at 11:56 pm

      @EllesarisEllendil “On a serious note, it should not be legalized. A society exists not to glorify bad behaviour. Sex should not be bought!”

      Just because you cannot imagine it, does not make it wrong.

      It should not be the laws decision which whom and under what conditions I share either (or both) of those things with other consenting adults. BTW, not all clients even have the physical capacity for penetrative sex. Where’s the line? Is massage ok? Should the buttocks be excluded? How about a hug? A hand job? blow job? Sex is legal. Intimacy is legal. Money is legal. You may not like the exchange, but please seriously ask yourself – why should openly natural and legal activities become illegal simply because they are exchanged?

      I adore my clients, and let them adore me too. I meet so many fascinating individuals on an intimate level that I might otherwise never even say “Hi” to in a coffee shop. I watch tired, defeated, touch starved individuals leave with confidence renewed and a spring in their step. I am my own boss, set my own hours, and vacation and travel as I choose. The flexibility of my work allows me to spend more time with my family, working on other projects, and doing advocacy work for my community. There are many reasons I choose to be a sex worker.

      Should the 28 y.o. with advanced MS be allowed to turn to a professional with a his wish to not die a virgin? How about the bed-bound quadriplegic who is unable to participate in the traditional dating and relationship world? What about the single executive who is working 60-80 hour work weeks and recognizes that he does not have the emotional capacity to engage in a relationship? Or the aged widower? Or the man who is into kink and cannot imagine asking his wife to pee on him while he is wearing thigh highs? Where exactly is the line that makes this transaction “wrong”… not just distasteful to you… but wrong enough that law enforcement should intervene?

      @ just in general –
      After 12 years in this industry, and after meeting hundreds, and directly communicating with thousands of sex workers in the United States… as well as reading studies such as the one on Dutch sex workers where “86% are happy or even very happy with their job”; or the study of New York City juvenile prostitutes that indicated only 10% of the girls worked with pimps (coercive labor); and the same study indicating that while the majority of juveniles spoken to would like to leave the industry they needed stable housing, stable employment and education opportunities in order to do so… It seems quite clear to me that Capitolism and economics are the most common coercive factors (not the shadowy pimps and exploiters); and that the industry itself is not the problem.

      I suggest government get the heck out of peoples bedrooms, and turn their attention to where it is needed – human and labor rights abuses, violence against persons, and in providing social services as needed to help end the systemic race/class/gender social and economic inequities that exist in our world which make individuals vulnerable to exploitation.


    • Tatler

      March 6, 2015 at 11:40 am

      happyhooker sounds better.

    • Tatler

      March 6, 2015 at 11:37 am

      I doubt having to suck off dudes for a living could be considered as easy money. One is hard enough I’m sure many ladies would attest to that. Lock jaw, cheeks hurt fr the suction, neck ache.

  2. charles

    March 5, 2015 at 7:39 pm

    One of the numerous ills of civilisation-so many twisted idealogies out there. Legalise prostitution kwa nu??

  3. 19andproud

    March 5, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    This kinda reminds me of the book On Black Sisters’ Street by Chika Unigwe. It is based on prostitution of this sort. Yes, they might be good reasons why it should be legalized, but to me it makes no difference. If it is out there, it is out there and there is nothing can be done. Yet, it will be hypocrisy to say “no” to legalization when it is no secret when it is patronized, yet in a country like Nigeria, what will be the upshot of it?

  4. ms.b

    March 5, 2015 at 7:49 pm

    How will the taxation process work? Will they be asked to pay a certain amount or pay depending on the number of clients? And if they are to pay based on clientele, who is going to keep tab of d clients? Or will all the prostitutes live in a particular area n have an organisation that keep records of how many clients per prostitute to enable them pay the exact tax? Let’s just live prostitution the way it is, it’s charity work.. Helping horny, shy and sex starved men since 0001.

    • Tatler

      March 5, 2015 at 9:04 pm

      The same way they’ll tax any sole trader

    • ms.b

      March 6, 2015 at 3:11 am

      U see, that’s the problem. Who will monitor it n make certain the prostitutes aren’t cheating the government.

    • Sausage Princess

      March 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Funny you!

  5. Popular

    March 5, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    @ ms. b, i cant’t help but smile at your contribution. All i have to say is that people who are forced in to this type of profession, should be protected somehow and those who willingly go into it, should be strong enough to stop and be contented with what they have and seek for a less demeaning job or learn craft works to survive

    • Tatler

      March 6, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      You & many others have a very naive view of prostitution. It isn’t a job of last resort for the unskilled or workshy. One very famous prostitute, author of Belle de Jour turned out to be a Phd Student in cancer research. In my former company, our top advertising sales exec (banking £14k/week plus in commission) was escorting in her spare time. Her former pimp disgruntled she’d switched agencies sent her escort pics. Such a shock to the whole office, no one would have guessed, she was earning so much in sales as is & wasn’t exactly attractive either.

    • Tosin

      March 6, 2015 at 2:43 pm


  6. nikky

    March 5, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    If legalization will protect these people from violence, exploitation and even death then yes. The sad reality is that prostitution exists, there is a demand and ample supply but no protection for people who engage in this buying and selling of sex. I think it was a few weeks ago that we heard the news of a guy that was robbed and killed by a prostitute, not to talk of the exploitation of women who are sometimes lured and trapped in prostitution. If legalization can effectively regulate and protect movement, payment and the health of those buying and selling then yes it should be legalized. In Nigeria we cannot even do anything right i doubt that legalization of prostitution will even be presented as an issue at all.

  7. *curious*

    March 5, 2015 at 8:45 pm


  8. EllesarisEllendil

    March 5, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    Wait isn’t it already legal???
    On a serious note, it should not be legalized. A society exists not to glorify bad behaviour. Sex should not be bought!

  9. Michael Ovia

    March 5, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    It is imperative for ladies and gentlemen these days to have one in ten top businesses without an advent to prostitutes or escorts as the case maybe. Most of the time safe sex seems to be the uttermost secured paraphrase used to keep the motive a success and in turn a progressive output. However that said, it should be noted there is a quantity of energy that has given rise to a system with such intent and as such a resultant need for legislation is not far fetched from the literal obvious

  10. Robin Hood

    March 5, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I want Nigerian ladies to answer this one question honestly………
    Have you as a lady had sex with a man or guy simply because you like him and are attracted to him and not because he showers you with material vanities to prove his affections?
    If as a woman you can honestly say yes, then good for you but if your answer is no or are going to start casting online insults then u r a prostitute of some kind who does not necessarily get cash. It may be a phone, laptop, post dated cheque or cash at later date. Fact is most Nigerian heterosexual relationships are pay- as -you- go relationships

  11. Tatler

    March 5, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    There’s no such thing as a free lunch! Everyone pays for sex be it in cash or kind. Wives have a sole client but if that client stopped providing in cash or kind, they will close shop until he does.

  12. Fortune Da Function Guy

    March 5, 2015 at 11:31 pm

    I think it should be…

  13. Zero

    March 6, 2015 at 8:30 am

    I think it should so that when our women decide to shakara, we can get the services elsewhere and be rest assured that it is not a crime..hahaha..:D

  14. jefka

    March 6, 2015 at 8:57 am

    prostitution comes in many forms……
    in the banks ow do u think they get clients?
    in organisations how do u think women fare in business development?
    when u go for job interviews and all sorts……..
    during NYSC is saw ow most of the male coppers were taking advantage of school girls jst bcz they had the power to.
    in universities, are lecturers not sleeping with girls to help dem pass?
    people they r so many forms to prostitution……it all boils down to discipline and self control.
    sex is just over rated, but the sad truth is we cant do without it.
    i was at ikeja on time in 2011 and i saw two mental people having sexual intercourse on d pavement, i looked round and so many guys were trying to conceal dia hard ons.
    its jst painful……………
    prostitution should not be legalized, thats not even an option…..
    then again it was on the news we heard that association of prostitutes support GEJ and r always promising free sex if Super Eagles win a tournament.

  15. Alice

    March 6, 2015 at 11:12 am

    In as much as prostitution shouldn’t be encourage i think it should be legalized
    1.if prostitution is been legalized these women wld have to undergo test to check if they are fit for the “job” that is if they are std free and all(some men patronaise them and whether we like it or not some men still sleep with them without condoms) you know how many prostitutes are been used for ritual ? if they get legalized there would be a check on who goes with who ,also there wouldnt be any issues of rape and violence that is rampant with there job
    3.the government would get plenty revenue from them because it is a mega business in Nigeria
    4.there wont be issues of underpayment and over charging as there would be a fixed amount lol
    i hope with this few points of mine i have been able to convince you that yes! prostitution should be legalized.thank you

    • lrz

      March 6, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      ” hope with this few points of mine i have been able to convince you that yes! prostitution should be legalized.thank you”. I feel like we are in Primary school here.

      In the business world, people are greedy. They run businesses and dont declare their tax. They accept cash payments that are not easy to trace. I promise that if prostution was legalised today there will be a new emerging market of underground legalised prosititutes. Guess what, those that patronise prostitutes will pay that premium becuase there is no way they want a documented visit for them. And even if willing and experienced prostitutes refuse to do business illegally, pimps will increase their kidnapping and trafficking business and will target more vulnerable people out there.

  16. puzzles

    March 6, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    sure, create a big avenue for men and women to cheat on their partners.

    You wives or future wives who are saying prostitution should be legalized, don’t cry foul when your husbands actively patronize them because it has become legal. Also, you men who are saying it should be legalized, don’t cry foul when other men get into the profession and your wives start patronizing them.

  17. Tosin

    March 6, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    yes, prostitution should be legal.
    no, you shouldn’t be an official street-walking prostitute if you can help it.
    and whichever way you should always try to be safe.

  18. Anonymous

    March 23, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    The concept of legalizing prostitution is to avoid stories as those described in this write up. However, in the Netherlands were it is legal and has become a tourist attraction, there are stats that show a high majority of the workers are as described in this write up. Legalizing only benefits the prostitute who has made the decision to be one not the one who was forced into it. There are benefits to legalizing it as we can tax the foolish pimps and give the women under them rights and voices. It can also help control/prevent underage sex workers. The fact is that prostitution isn’t going anywhere anytime soon so the best way to protect those in it is to legalize it.

    On a side note; I have to say I love how the supporters and glamorizers of prostituition only show the view of the prostitutes who chose to go into prostitution because they wanted to not the trafficked and abused versions. Prostitution is what it is; no need to glamorize it as it makes a mockery of the plight of those who didn’t chose it

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Star Features