Prostitution: the wander away to survival

Prostitution is the business or practice of providing sexual services to another person in return for payment. The person who receives payment for sexual services is called a prostitute or sex worker, and the person who receives such services is known by a multitude of terms. Prostitution is one of the branches of the sex industry. While efforts to eradicate prostitution in the country have been ongoing and have in some way produced good results, commercial sex is evident.

In Rwanda, prostitution is illegal. Anyone who incites, exploits, facilitates or abets prostitution, under article 363 of the Penal code, is liable to at least one year in prison.

 Today, prostitution is taking on a new trend with the emergence of cross border commercial sex.

Many of them out there claim to sell their bodies to earn a living or to support siblings.

The number of girls joining prostitution will tend to increase especially during holidays as some students take on the vice. Children coming from families were the bread winner is struggling to earn a living are the most affected.

Most of the practicing prostitutes are out of school and have not gone beyond primary level. Some are picked from villages to urban areas where they are employed as bar maids, while others are recruited into dancing groups such as karaoke and strip dancing.

The impacts of prostitution are far reaching. For instance, some of the young girls are kicked out of their parents’ home after becoming pregnant out of the wedlock.

They are forced to take up prostitution as the only means of livelihood after being rejected. Children born in such circumstances are unlikely to have promising lives due to sheer poverty, disease to name but a few.

They also become impediments to their mother’s way of life as they are born without their parent’s intention. Giving birth to unwanted babies is mostly the cause of infanticide, child abandonment among others crimes directed at children. This in turn breeds more crime as the number of street children increases.

There is the danger of HIV infections and spread, or other sexually transmitted diseases, as some men insist on unprotected sex. And even when they don’t propose it, unprotected sex fetches a better price and some girls can’t resist the chance to make more money.

Although prostitution is still in existence, this is not to say that efforts geared towards its eradication are in vain. Today, the numbers of young girls prowling the streets in search of the occasional customer have significantly reduced.

There are a lot of former ladies of the night, who have parted ways with the trade and are now leaving decent lives. They have turned around their lives thanks to government’s provision of alternative sources of income in form of loans to vulnerable groups.

Their testimonies of success clearly indicate that it is indeed possible for prostitution to cease as a way of earning a living. Proper sensitization campaigns regarding the impact of prostitution should target commercial sex workers.

Prostitution is not the right path to survival, not a way to a bright future as well as country’s development; it devalues dignity and tradition of Rwandans.
It contributes to crime, poor living conditions and those involved are regarded as social outcasts.

It is the wander-way to survival. The government has availed and eased ways of security short-term financial loans to start small income generating activities, and this advantage should be seized rather than turning to a dark corner.


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