There appears no end in sight to prostitution which is an age-long venture. This business of the flesh is quite becoming acceptable and a norm in many quarters. Few years back, many who in any way engaged in this business, conducted it discreetly and would do everything within their powers to conceal their identities from people. Then, women of easy virtue could hardly be seen near their home towns engaging in such ignoble acts. But these days, they care less about the consequences of otherwise.
Brothel owners now boldly advertize the business of the flesh and even sometimes make spurious demands from governments under the umbrella of their association. Some families now support their female members to go into prostitution in order to make money, thereby turning it into a family business.
There is the case of a young man who owns a brothel on one of the less busy streets in Owerri, Imo State; his parents in their late 70s, as well as his siblings are all part of the day to day running of the house of immorality. The place is designed in such a way that his father who is in charge of the purchase and sale of alcoholic beverages in the brothel, enjoys the privilege of sleeping with any of the prostitutes that catches his fancy. The wife of the septuagenarian being privy to this act, treats it with levity. Same thing is applicable to his three brothers who are at liberty to frolic with the harlots despite the fact the men are all married with children. For this family, there is nothing wrong with adultery and fornication. It is a way of life for them and keeping all shades of women- young and elderly in small dark rooms and using them to make money is the best form of business. This man and his family members have nurtured this business to the point that they now have branches in satellite towns, near Owerri city.
At another brothel situated at the New Owerri axis, the owner (name withheld) informed this reporter of a cab driver who around 7PM everyday would rush home to take his wife (a mother of three) for ‘hustling’ (their local parlance for prostitution) in the brothel while he goes home to take care of the children. In the morning, the man after dropping the children at school, would go to pick his wife from the brothel, who in turn would go to get the children from school in the afternoon and stay with them till evening when she would be ready for another round of ‘hustling’.
At Amigbo Street, off Sam Mbakwe Road, Owerri, two notorious brothels have been standing there for many years now. A walk on the street especially in the evening exposes one to numerous women scantily dressed. They sometimes wink and beckon on passers-by to come for patronage. Residents of the street seem not bothered about the activities of these whores, while children usually run into and out of these brothels without restriction.
Amazingly, churches compete for space with these brothels at Amaigbo Street. In fact, a particular denomination shares a fence with one of the brothels. There are also schools both government and privately owned located on the street. One wonders how the churches, brothels and schools co-habit. It was however, observed that three sisters of same parents are plying their trade in one of the brothels. Investigation revealed that the three ladies told their illiterate parents at Etche, Rivers State that they were admitted into the Imo State University (IMSU). For their parents, their three daughters are undergraduates of IMSU, whereas the ladies are into full time prostitution in Owerri. Checks further revealed that it was the youngest of the sisters that introduced her elder ones into the business and even rented rooms for them. The eldest of them is a divorcee with a child.
If you think you have heard it all, then wait a minute. This reporter made an entry one evening into what could be described as the biggest brothel in Imo State located around the Control Post round-about, Owerri. It was a beehive of activities at the brothel which according to one of the prostitutes has a total of 62 rooms, while each occupant pays N2,500 daily to the managers of the place. There was no bright-colour light in the whole of the brothel and loud sound of erotic music was deployed to keep the over 70 men in the bar high. Girls clad in pants and bra were seen dancing erotically to the tunes with majority of them and the men puffing cigarettes and the like, as well as gulping booze.
Encounter with some of the prostitutes
A prostitute who gave her name as Chiamaka, in a chat with this reporter, said she hails from Obosima in Ohaji/Egbema Local Government Area of Imo State. Chiamaka who appeared better dressed than most of the other ladies, claimed she could not further her studies after secondary school due to poor family background. The mother of two who is in her 30s, said she walked out of marriage because of domestic violence.
“The father of my two children was a beast; he used me as a punching bag; I meant nothing to him and so I had to leave him”, she stated. Chiamaka, the fifth in a family of nine, said her aged mother and some of her siblings, as well as her two children (a boy and a girl) are dependent upon her for living.
Though not comfortable with the business of flesh, Chiamaka sees no option at the moment that could enable her provide for herself, her children who are already in secondary school and equally assist her siblings. Having been in the business for a long time, the lady disclosed that she was introduced into it by a friend from Omoku in Rivers State. According to her, the friend who is still in the business, operates by standing on the roadside, but Chiamaka prefers operating in a brothel because of the risk she believes is associate with standing on the road.
Would she succumb to an unprotected sexual intercourse for an enticing offer? Chiamaka gave an emphatic no as an answer. She maintained that such could be very dangerous, adding that the management of the brothel conducts a routine medical check on them and would not waste a minute in ejecting any of them that falls short of the standard.
How much would a man pay to have them, Chiamaka submitted that it depends on the bargaining power of the man involved but not less than N1,000 for a quickie devoid of any foreplay and N4,000 for all night or a service outside the brothel. But how do they stand men with all sizes of ‘rods’ without qualms? She affirmed that it is with the influence of drugs.
Chiamaka said she is ready to give another shot at marriage if a better man shows up but insisted that she has no plans of quitting prostitution now without an available alternative source of living.
Another pleasure merchant in the brothel is a 20-year old Anita who hails from Ngwa area in Abia State. Anita said she lost her father a day after she wrote the last paper of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination in 2015 and that marked a turning point in the girl’s life. Anita who initially posted a reserved and business-like disposition, later released herself when this reporter reminded her that she could meet a destiny helper even in a brothel. The hitherto hard postured girl whose face knew no smile, this time, became friendly. The last in a family of five girls, Anita said her mother is down with a waist pain, while her four elder sisters are living in lack. She therefore resorted to prostitution to fend for herself.
“My father was taking care of our education until he died due to ill health. Our hope of furthering our education got dashed. I first moved to Obigbo in Rivers State before coming into Owerri through a friend six months ago. I decided to move out of Rivers State because many of my people are based there and so one could easily discover I’m into this business”, she stated.
Anita whose price range is same with that of Chiamaka, told this reporter that she makes up to N20,000 in a day of boom, while a ‘bad day’ could yield about N5,000. That implies sleeping with about 20 men in a day if you don’t secure an out-of-brothel service; how realizable is that? Anita maintained that it is achievable with the help of drugs.
What about the high risk associated with such business? She had this to say: “I have no option at the moment than to do it. Many girls are into this business because of how lucrative it is. My mother and siblings believe I’m still in Rivers State, they do not know I’m now in Owerri and they have no idea of what I do for a living. I do not enjoy this; I do it to get money and I hope to quit any time I raise money to go into another business”. Anita intends to venture into sale of women’s hairs if she raises the money.
Will Anita take up a dignifying job of about N25,000 monthly pay if such is secured for her? She responded thus: “I can’t work for somebody because I’m stubborn; moreover, I don’t want to stress myself for nothing. Though this one is stressful, I’m sure of my money after the stress”.
This reporter ran into the leader of the prostitutes in the brothel who gave her name as Favour. Favour is charged with the responsibility of ensuring that the ladies abide by the rules and regulations of the house. It is also through her that complaints and grievances are channelled to the management of the brothel, same way directives are equally passed through her to her colleagues. Favour, who hails from Anambra State narrated that she began the business in Port Harcourt but was afflicted by a mysterious skin disease that chased her out of Port Harcourt. A colleague in the business, according to her, who had suffered same fate took her to a shrine in Igboukwu ,Anambra State where the priestess revealed to her that a colleague who was jealous of the many men that patronized her, inflicted her with the sickness.
She said she was taken to a river in the middle of the night by the priestess for cleansing, who thereafter fortified her against such diabolic attack.
Having survived that attack, Favour who is in her early 30s, had to relocate to Owerri for the continuation of the business and now strongly believes in the power and efficacy of charms. She believes no prostitute can last in the business without charms. Apart from fellow prostitutes trying to bring one down, the brothel leader submitted that not all who visit the brothel do so to satisfy their sexual urge. According to her, some men come for ritual purposes and only charm she believes can save the ladies from falling victim to such men on ritual mission.
Aside falling prey to ritualists, Favour enumerated other risks involved in the business such as one destroying her womb as a result of regular intake of drugs, contacting sexually transmitted diseases, looking older than one’s ages, among others.
All these however do not in any way discourage Favour in the business, as she disclosed that she could sleep with about 25 men daily. She added that for three years she has operated in the brothel, no day passed without having sex with men, even while menstruating, explaining that they use cotton wool to prevent blood stain during menstruation.
Why remain in this business in which you are aware of the plethora of dangers? Favour has this to say: “From this business, I take care of my poor parents in the village, I recently opened a medicine store for my father in the village. I have built a four-bedroom bungalow in my father’s house. My two daughters (one is 10 years and the other is eight years old) are in Cotonou, though they live there with my younger sister and her family. I send money from here to them for their schooling and upkeep. Oga, to be sincere, I make up to N180,000 here every month. How many medical doctors or civil servants make up to that? If not for the daily house rent I pay, the drugs I take for pains (at this point, she brought out a pain-killer called Diclofenac Plus), and other sundry expenses; I would have been so big and that is why I am not in a hurry to quit this job.
She revealed that her patrons are largely married men who leave their houses as early as 5AM to be with prostitutes. Married men according to her pay higher and can do anything to avoid public altercation with them, whereas single men who she described as mainly drug addicts are always ready to fight with prostitutes in public for little misunderstanding.
The mother of two who had a stint in marriage with a lecturer at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, identified abject poverty and family problem as the major factors that could push one into prostitution. She also attributed it to cases of nymphomania, heart break and bewitchment, citing a case of a lady whose wealthy parents provide everything she needs, but she still spends most of her time sleeping with men in brothels without even collecting money from them, but just in a bid to satisfy her insatiable sexual urge.
A little away from the brothel, along the road leading to World Bank area, Owerri, is a convergence of ladies of all sizes and complexions at nights, strategically positioned and waiting for men. All a man needs is to beckon on any of them that catches his fancy, agree on a price and location, then the deal is struck. Some resort for a quickie inside their vehicles parked off the road.
One of the ladies, Cynthia, who this reporter engaged along the road, first mentioned N10,000 as her price for all night. The reporter insisted on N4,000, despite pleas by the lady for the amount to come up to N5,000. As this reporter was about zooming off, Cynthia who appeared very desperate to make a catch that night, succumbed to N4,000 for the night, but got utterly disappointed when she asked for condom and this reporter insisted on going unprotected as a way of scaring her away. One thing the harlots would not compromise on, is allowing unprotected sex.
Ironically, Cynthia had as the screen saver of her mobilephone the picture of Jesus Christ. On the reason for such screen saver when she is into such act, she retorted: ‘I’m a Christian’.
Another prostitute, Jane, who seemed very confident of a catch that night, insisted on N10,000 for an all-night and had no time for much conversation.
Tales from men who patronize prostitutes
There are endless tales from men who patronize prostitutes. Checks show that randy men who visit brothels or take prostitutes home have had different sad experiences. Many of them sleep with one eye open, being mindful of the fact that some of the harlots have in their pause dangerous weapons and sedatives. For the naïve and the inexperienced men, the sedative becomes useful when the sex hawker wants to put her host to sleep to enable her steal from him and escape. Some from our findings have gone beyond adding the sedative to drinks, to applying it on their breast which the man unknowingly takes in during foreplay.
Narrating his ugly experience in the hands of scarlet women, a man who gave his name as Michael Okoro had this to say: “These days, many prostitutes are not after sex but stealing from the men who take them home. My family travelled to the Netherlands and because I was sex-starved, I brought in this dark skinned beautiful plus-size girl I met at night along World Bank road, Owerri, clutching a small handbag. We agreed for N45,000 that night and my head was only filled with how I would devour her sexually all through that night. I had no inkling that her mission that night nearly would have ruined my marriage.
Before going to take her bath, she asked me to tell her my favourite drink which I did, she went straight to my bar and brought out the drink, kept it on the table and then went straight into the bathroom to take her bath. As she came out, I entered to have my own bath. When I came out of the bathroom, she was already drinking and asked me seductively to join her. I poured a little from the bottle into another cup and drank. That was all I could remember. The prostitute ransacked my house, took the available cash, other valuables and disappeared. I woke up in the hospital and was told my system was poisoned”.
Strongman, as he is fondly called, however, has a different story about prostitutes. The man said to be a regular face in one of the brothels visited by this reporter, believes the harlots are doing a good job in helping to satisfy the sexual urge of the men.
“I am a highly sexed man, one woman cannot be enough for me, so these girls you see here (pointing at the prostitutes) are the reason men like me cannot rape women. They know me here, there are days I sleep with two or three of them. They are neater than most girls in their homes and they insist on the use of condom because they are aware that many men come to them and could easily infect them with diseases. I can conveniently engage in oral sex with a prostitute but will think twice before doing that with a girl that lives with her parents.
“My advice is that men who go to prostitutes should know that a lot of them are frustrated and could easily vent their frustration on the man if he is not careful in handling them. I pay for sex and booze because they make me happy”, he submitted.
By Emmanuel Iheaka