There were tens of them: light and dark skinned, fat and skinny, natural hair and artificial hair. They begin to gather from 10pm, perhaps even earlier, at sunset possibly.
We found them there at 6am the next morning. They were standing and waiting. Some were working the road. Their skimpy outfits gave them away. They were women of the night. Prostitution is the oldest industry in the universe and as long as men desire female flesh, the industry would always be lucrative.
Our driver took his time, slowed the car down so we could get a much better look at the very beautiful girls on the side of the road in Opebi and Allen Avenue areas of Ikeja in Lagos. Not all of them were beautiful, but they all wore clothes, which accentuated their sexy body parts. It was clear that these girls were not going to church or to a discotheque. They weren’t going to the library or on a long distance journey either. They were there to make money from the kerb crawlers and those who make the industry worth millions of naira.
The writer was keener to see inside the SUVs that were stopping to chat and pick up these girls. The men were not all expatriates. Many of them were middle-aged men, possibly with wives, children and grandchildren at home. From research, we know that men who patronise this industry are everyday men: our brothers, partners, sons-in-law, grandfathers or husbands. The men don’t look vile, yet they possess an unhealthy addiction to sex and fetishes that they are not comfortable to disclose.
We were in Lagos’s red light district. Every capital city in the world has a red light zone. In Amsterdam where prostitution is legal, the girls actually stand behind glass windows in their shop floors nearly nude. There are hundreds of girls to choose from. If you want a girl with a pierced belly button for example, you have the choice of looking around to find an array of girls with pierced belly buttons. From there you narrow down ethnicity, hair colour, body configuration, lip size, bust size and so on. It is all there, like you are shopping for a party dress or a toilet seat.
The girl chosen, price and type of transaction determined, a small back room in the shop is made available for the timed activity which could be either sex, a massage or your fantasies satisfied. Sex sells in every continent and in every city. Funny how Nigeria’s ever growing cult of Christians has not rid the city of the Opebi girls.
In Luton’s High town in the UK, residents have complained for years about the onslaught by sex sellers or prostitutes. They are attracted to High town for whatever reasons. The residents claim that whilst walking their children to school, used condoms are seen on the floor and the area is besieged by kerb crawlers from 8pm or so on most nights which is not healthy for their children.
Bedfordshire Police has intervened several times, but the girls keep coming back. Unlike Amsterdam where a room is provided, in Luton, the girls have sex in an incinerator, shed or anywhere dark or dinghy in the area. It is usually the incinerator, which the adjective ‘stinky’ does not do justice to. In Nigeria, the girls have no idea whose car they are entering or if they will be returned in one piece…