Centuries stolen from us, time that would’ve made Africa one of the most established continents in the world. Instead, time was used to degrade the authenticity of Africa, while extracting that which wasn’t theirs. It isn’t late for us to revitalize our continent. I’m aware of the obstacles we face but, in time we’ll unite and divert from the colonial ways of doing. For now, I will utilize my upcoming years to unlearn 22 years of misinformation. I am taken back my stolen years, Join me!

Oct 13, 2010

Prostitution in Senegal


Over the years I have come to the realization, as an individual who have had the opportunity to acquire education and experience, it is my responsibility to not only speak up for those who cannot but also take a stand on what I believe is right.

Recently, it has been interesting voicing out my opinion on the issue of prostitution. Given, I was raised in a Christian household, with values align with the Holy Bible, many found my stand appalling. My justification for legalization of prostitution is not about me, but to challenge individuals who can accept what I believe to be one of the oldest professions in the world. If individuals are going to engage in the practice of prostitution they should be protected and regulated if necessary like any other profession.

As I listened to a popular program on West African Democracy Radio, I thought I heard wrong when the commentator announced the topic of the hour, but when he repeated himself I had to listen. After getting over the shock of what I heard I wanted to understand why Senegal a predominately Muslim country legalized prostitution.

I had to find out the reasoning behind the legality of a profession many despise, however the justification was not simple. In 1970, the government legalized prostitution under these conditions: institutionalized medical follow-up of self-professed female prostitutes and made it compulsory for any female prostitute older than 21 to register with the health service. Registration is followed by the delivery of a health record to the woman and her socio-demographic information to the police. Medical follow-up is conducted in specialized centers, which were created for this distinct purpose in Dakar, at the Institute of Social Hygiene, and in four other urban agglomerations later. Every 2 months the women receive a complete follow-up, which includes a clinical examination and a vaginal swab alternated with monthly visits during which they only have a clinical examination and a swab upon request. Blood samples are taken every 6 months to assess syphilis status and yearly to assess HIV serologic status. Social workers and nurses initially managed these centers. Physicians joined the centers later. This system provides prostitutes with opportunities for health information and access to condoms. Free condoms are provided on the first visit and women are instructed on how to use them. On subsequent visits, women are again counseled on condom use. Free provision of condoms is renewed on a monthly basis. Soliciting customers is illegal in Senegal.

The Senegalese government realized that prostitution was going to occur regardless of what measures they took to illegalize it, so instead they put in mechanisms that could protect those willing to professed themselves as prostitutes. This reveals that the country is progressive to some extent, but the lingering question in my mind is: why these women feel the only means to survive is by selling their bodies, when it leads to exclusion?

If a female feel selling her body for money or material possessions is the only means to survive, what does that say about the role of women in Senegal and the opportunities available to women? My problem is not with the legality or illegality of prostitution; my problem is the reasons for which women chose to engage in the field. Majority of the time it is not by choice.

However, as I learn more about the legalizing of prostitution in Senegal, I realize their situation is not unique. More countries have declared prostitution legal compare to countries who declare it illegal. To view countries click here.

In the end, legalizing prostitution is not about justifying the profession, but rather making sure those who partake in the profession are safe. Prostitution is going to exists legally or illegally. Society should not focus on condemning prostitutes, but to understand the circumstances within the society that lead to prostitution, and how we can eradicate those problems in order to elevate those engaging in the field forcefully.

2 comments:

  1. Q. Why do these women feel the only means to survive is by selling their bodies?:

    A. In the beginning you made mention of education and life experiences that have allowed you to realize that there are other options and choices available. In life the things we are exposed to can dictate how we see ourselves, others and how we think. Essentially we all get to a place where we assess what our skills, talents and resources are and based on the opportunities available to us, or the opportunities we allow ourselves to see we have to choose a path that will ultimately support our chances of survival. So, if a person feels that their only source of income is their body and their sex they might be inclined to enter that field. Additionally, particularly in developing countries (although this is true world wide) the economic, political and social issues play a large role in that decision. It's commonly stated that the wealth remains in the hands of a few while the gap between the rich and the poor is not getting any smaller...with all these factors at hand it might even feel empowering knowing that you still have the ability to make enough to survive using your body or allowing your body to be used, whichever way you look at it.

    Prostitution has been in existence since Biblical times and it's always been a means that someone uses to survive. Legal or not it exists. The challenge is answering the question, do you support the practice by advocating for it's legalization or are you condemning this group of women by advocating for it to remain illegal?

    I'm all for addressing the root cause! Address the needs of this group of women and their families and put your efforts to that cause.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Q. If a female feels that selling her body for money or material possessions is the only means to survive, what does that say about the role of women in Senegal and the opportunities available to women?:

    A. The message is that the value of this group of women is being placed primarily in their abilities to prostitute and their entrepreneurial abilities are being foreshadowed by this negated field. It also states that there are highly limited opportunities if they feel that this is the only way to survive. Why aren't the men also prostituting themselves, does that then say that the money is largely in the hands of men? Is it a largely male-driven society where they dictate the allocation of resources. I'm sure there are quite few successful women there, what are their insights because ultimately it impacts all the women.....it affects how men see women, there's clearly a demand for it if it continues to strive so who is accessing these services? Are they playing a part in keeping the playing field un-leveled so as to continue to have this service available?

    Do these women feel they have other choices or options? That might be information needed to ascertain the true nature of this matter.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Q. Why do these women feel the only means to survive is by selling their bodies?:
    A. In the beginning you made mention of education and life experiences that have allowed you to realize that there are other options and choices available. In life the things we are exposed to can dictate how we see ourselves, others and how we think. Essentially we all get to a place where we assess what our skills, talents and resources are and based on the opportunities available to us, or the opportunities we allow ourselves to see we have to choose a path that will ultimately support our chances of survival. So, if a person feels that their only source of income is their body and their sex they might be inclined to enter that field. Additionally, particularly in developing countries (although this is true world wide) the economic, political and social issues play a large role in that decision. It's commonly stated that the wealth remains in the hands of a few while the gap between the rich and the poor is not getting any smaller...with all these factors at hand it might even feel empowering knowing that you still have the ability to make enough to survive using your body or allowing your body to be used, whichever way you look at it.

    Prostitution has been in existence since Biblical times and it's always been a means that someone uses to survive. Legal or not it exists. The challenge is answering the question, do you support the practice by advocating for it's legalization or are you condemning this group of women by advocating for it to remain illegal?

    I'm all for addressing the root cause! Address the needs of this group of women and their families and put your efforts to that cause.

    ---------------------------------------------

    Q. If a female feels that selling her body for money or material possessions is the only means to survive, what does that say about the role of women in Senegal and the opportunities available to women?:

    A. The message is that the value of this group of women is being placed primarily in their abilities to prostitute and their entrepreneurial abilities are being foreshadowed by this negated field. It also states that there are highly limited opportunities if they feel that this is the only way to survive. Why aren't the men also prostituting themselves, does that then say that the money is largely in the hands of men? Is it a largely male-driven society where they dictate the allocation of resources. I'm sure there are quite few successful women there, what are their insights because ultimately it impacts all the women.....it affects how men see women, there's clearly a demand for it if it continues to strive so who is accessing these services? Are they playing a part in keeping the playing field un-leveled so as to continue to have this service available?

    Do these women feel they have other choices or options? That might be information needed to ascertain the true nature of this matter.

    ReplyDelete