The first things that come to mind when most people think about prostitution are women, sex for money, and the low-class prostitutes who work in unsafe street corners and are likely to be met with exploitative clients. This is because, in the context of street prostitution, prostitutes seek clients in public places, which makes this form of prostitution most visible to the public. Prostitution is generally the act or practice of engaging in sexual relations for financial or other benefits.
There is neither a global census for prostitutes, nor is there a way to get an accurate number of prostitutes across the globe. However, some credible anecdotal evidence does exist, such as the expert opinion of Libby Davies provided in the Supreme Court case (Bedford et al), which reports that street prostitution actually makes up only a very small portion of aggregate prostitution. What most people picture when they think of prostitution actually makes up one of the least common forms of prostitution.
According to a three-year research conducted in Simon Fraser University; 80-90% of prostitutes run their own businesses through newspapers and online advertisements, bawdy houses, massage parlors, and camouflaging corporate firms. This is a striking reflection of the actual situation in most parts of the world.
In Nigeria, although street prostitution is what typically comes to mind at the mention of the word ‘prostitution’; an unpublished study revealed that corporate and non-street prostitution makes up at least 70% of the prostitution market. Let us consider these scenarios:
— Janet became an orphan at sixteen. She had to survive, and the only means she could think of at that moment was having sexual relationships with men in exchange for payment.
— Patrick worked for a multi-million wine production company. Chief Chibuike, the CEO of the company, faced him with two difficult options; “Marry my daughter and automatically become the heir to my empire, or refuse my offer and lose your job”. Patrick accepted his offer.
— Nnneka had to have sex with an employer as a condition to getting employed.
— Frank and Oluchi worked as marketing agents in a bank. They sometimes indulge in sexual relationships with potential clients in a bid to persuade them to invest in their bank.
The aforementioned cases, in addition to some common practices such as students of Nigerian higher institutions engaging in sexual activities with their lecturers for marks, individuals going into and staying in sexual relationships for the primary purpose of material and financial gains, and victims of domestic violence who remain in the sexual relationships primarily for the material, financial and other benefits, are some of the different practices that can be classified as prostitution.
The misconception that only street prostitution amounts to prostitution is the major reason why most people do not understand that a larger percentage of the world’s adult population are either prostitutes or potential prostitutes. Having cleared these misconceptions, and analytically painted a clear picture of what practices amount to prostitution, one would begin to concede the fact that there are more prostitutes across the globe than the average person would want to believe.
The world has evolved into a very competitive sphere. Achieving success in the current era is a game of survival of the fittest. People engage in many different ‘immoral’ activities as means to ends, and exchanging sexual favors for certain benefits has become increasingly popular. Now let’s call this what it is; Prostitution!
A wise man once said, “you can’t say you are not a sinner except you have overcome the best opportunity to sin”. Consequently, it is safe to say that lack of opportunity or lack of a suitable prize offer is the reason why some are yet to practice prostitution.
Very many adults have succumbed to some forms of sexual activities for rewards or benefits at some points, and it is also true that many have also rejected offers in exchange for sexual relationships. However, the bargaining stage of all forms of trade begins as an ‘offer and acceptance’. Prostitution is a form of the sex trade, and just like other trades, there is a variation in the size of offer that would appeal to different individuals. In order words, most people who have never practiced prostitution haven’t done so because they are yet to receive an offer which they deem suitable.
The statement that we are all potential prostitutes can be practically verified by anyone, at anytime and anywhere, and this is one way it can be done: offer any adult a Billion Great British Pounds (GBP) in exchange for a French kiss, and you have at least half the world’s population succumbing to prostitution. I know that’s surprising, but we the indigenous people of planet Earth can be that ‘cheap’ and immoral. Multiply the amount by ten, and you would have 99% of the world’s population willing to practice prostitution. Hey, we know man shall not live by bread alone, but neither can he live by the lack of it alone. And finally, just for the super-rich and conservative ones, make it hundred Billion GBP, and assure them of a strictly furtive encounter, and you my friend would have the whole world willing to practice prostitution.
Don’t forget to get a room in a high-security psychiatric unit for anyone who refuses all three offers, we won’t need to run any further test to diagnose a mental disorder after those three tests. I forgot to mention earlier that these practical tests work only on sane adults.
What are we saying? Bill Gates, who is the world’s richest man is worth about $75,000, which is approximately 50 Billion GBP. I’m almost certain he wouldn’t mind tripling his net worth in exchange for a minute long French kiss.
Therefore, it can be concluded that WE ARE ALL POTENTIAL PROSTITUTES with different prize tags.
Writer – Nkechi Bianze is passionate about advocating for the rights of children, the elderly and women.She is a feminist who advocates and believes in the need for a gender equal planet. She is willing to inconvenient herself in her cause to leave the world a better place than she met it.