There is a phenomenon spreading itself like a wildfire across West Africa and the world, this phenomenon is called the runsgirls phenomenon. The word “runs” comes from the Nigerian pidgin english dialect which is a local dialect originating in Nigeria that means “job” When the word runs is used in the Nigerian Pidgin dialect it is always in connection with job or some kind of transaction which brings money quickly. So when the Nigerian pidgin english uses the word “RunsGirls” together this means in simple english “Job Girls” the point of this is that the ladies themselves are the business. Runsgirl is basically a Nigeria pidgin word for Prostitutes or the idea of Prostitution in its many forms.
The runsgirls are ladies that have come to see prostitution as an easy way to make money, although runsgirls is a Nigerian term, but these runsgirls come from every country on earth but we will be concentrating on the West and East African runsgirls, the runsgirl lifestyle has become second nature to these ladies that at the slightest financial inconvenience they turn to sex trade for a solution. A lady can have a actual job in the day time and yet at Night, she can be spotted at night clubs and bars, seeking for customers who will sex them for some money. This is a humiliating story for Africa but this issue has affected us or someone we know, so it must be talked about.
Since the westernization of Africa, street prostitution is something that all of Africa has had to deal with, but in recent years since the 2010s, there have been a sharp increase in the volume of sex workers we have to deal with, first from clusters of prostitutes in a bar seeking customers for their services, then to social media WITH PRICES FOR THEIR BODIES AND SEXUAL SERVICES. There is hardly any dating app today that has not been saturated with ladies soliciting sex for cash AKA the “hookup culture” or “Runsgirl Culture”. The stigma in prostitution make it an act that must be done in the shadows, as we know, any act that must be concealed has its own major and dangerous issues that it comes with; STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases), A fuel for the drug trade and a breeding ground for violent criminals)
It is a thing of great urgency for all of West & East Africa to understand that we have a problem here, for us to solve this problem we must look at this with an unbiased and un-hypocritical mindset, the main issue with these kinds of topics are that the people who discuss them will always talk about prostitution from a moral high ground that ends up pushing those who we wish to change away. Many at times society tends to speak of prostitutes and prostitution like it has not been a part of all our societies since times unknown. This article is here to open your eyes to the reality of those in the sex trade, this is a practice which will never go away, so it must be controlled to make it less tragic for society. We must begin to think of these ladies and those involved with them as our brothers and sisters, the more we pretend like this isn’t a problem and act as though we are all morally superior, the more this problem is growing into an issue that can only lead to disaster for those who partake of the sex trade and those who really do not.
In my research I have come to understand that there are 3 types of prostitutes roaming the streets:
THE PROSTITUTE WHO WAS LURED WITH FALSE PRETENSE OR OUTRIGHT KIDNAPPED AND FORCED INTO PROSTITUTION
The truth about this subject is that there are many ladies who have been put into prostitution with false hopes of life changing jobs, there has also been those who have been kidnapped and forced into the trade. Many of them are taken to countries far away from there own with no way of contacting people they know, most often the only way to achieve a slightly normalized life is to do what the Romans do when in Rome. Many at time these ladies are forced into a cycle of making a certain amount of money everyday or they risk getting a serious beating or subjected to further sexual violations by their captor who are mostly women in control of thugs. These ladies to avoid a beating, they do and say whatever they are required to, just to get from their customers what they want for the day. To the regular Joe or Joanna, there is no way for you to know if this lady is being forced or is acting of her own accord(This is why cracking down sex human trafficking is so hard). It may surprise you also to know that this dynamic of women in the sex trade actually make up less than 5% of ladies in the sex trade today. Some sex workers are of the opinion that there are no longer any ladies being forced into the trade, all whom they know came into the trade willingly and this is really saying a lot of what our society has turned into. Even if they are 10 ladies kidnapped, that is 10 innocents too many, it rest on the society as a whole to act on it.
THE PROSTITUTE WHO CHOOSES TO ENTER PROSTITUTION AS A MEANS TO SURVIVE MIND SHATTERING POVERTY
These are ladies who leave their home land with only one aim, to make enough money to take back home and keep the family or her family alive. Her intentions may be the most noble but like the rest, they are subject to the same temptations and the same problems. Out of every 10 woman who enters prostitution with the aspiration of creating a better life for herself and family, many of them often get hooked on the lifestyle or are addicted to drugs because they get broken mentally by what they very often have to go through. e.g Many of these ladies are beaten, robbed and gang raped or just can’t manage their finance enough to break out. This is an often occurrence in their world, and due to the fact that even the police is not willing to hear of their issues, many of these ladies, turn to drugs to dull the pain, before they can get themselves back, many years have passed and when too much time has passed they have no choice but to remain slaves to the game of prostitution, bound to the streets until salvation comes for so few but the rest, no one knows.
WOMEN WHO ARE INTO PROSTITUTION BECAUSE THEY ENJOY THE ATTENTION AND THE LIFESTYLE
Now this is the category of prostitution to which 90% of ladies on the streets today belong. They are called the slyqueens, this lifestyle has been glamorized by blogs, movies, social media and music. You can hardly hear any song today that is not in the glamorization of some slyqueen or the slyqueen culture of sex and money. The slyqueen culture has gone on to convince most of our ladies that what they are doing isn’t even prostitution. This slyqueen culture is responsible for 90% of the young girls running out of their homes or countries and joining prostitution in the hopes of wearing nice cloths and carry nice bags and phones like their counter-parts all over facebook, instagram and snapchat. These ladies are slowly becoming an unruly generation within whom homosexuality/lesbianism is so normalized that it will make american LGBTQ lifestyle look like a joke. This type of prostitution is so bad that many ladies are in their parents homes and yet are still prostitutes without their parents knowledge, some of them have parents who know yet they turn a blind eye because of the money coming in.
The craziest part of this is that when one reads the United Nations and Western articles on sex trade matters as it affects Africa, everyone automatically assumes that majority of these ladies must have been kidnapped or deceived into prostitution. When you even google Africa and prostitution the only things that come out are pity party articles and videos showing ladies who have allegedly been kidnapped and forced into prostitution.
The truth is that many of these ladies are in the lifestyle because it is easy money and many of them have come to enjoy the lifestyle and they glamorize it, you only need to go through social media to understand the truth of the matter.
We must understand that the majority of ladies in prostitution are in prostitution because it is easy money and the African system has failed them. I believe that if the system here in West and East Africa was working, the amount of prostitutes may be far lesser than it is now. Many of these prostitutes are centers for STDs, they often are one of the highest users of illegal drugs and where ever they make their base of operation usually is the head office of violent criminals. I believe that should the government tackle the runsgirl epidemic wisely, they will also cripple the illegal drug trade and violent criminals by denying them a comfortable base of operation. Half of the junkies you see on the streets are prostitutes, majority of prostitutes are in relationships with violent criminals as a form of protection… Now let that sink in…
LEGALIZATION MAY BE THE SOLUTION:
I know that this may seem to some, you may ask that if sex trade is illegal and becoming an epidemic, then what will happen if we legalized it? Please with an unbiased perspective allow me share my idea with you so you can analyze and dissect it.
WE MUST FIRST UNDERSTAND THAT OUR ARREST, DEPORT AND SHAME TACTICS WORKS NO MORE.
HOW MANY WILL YOU ARREST? Many men and women have been arrested for prostituting and soliciting prostitutes, due to the corrupt nature of our system, all who have been charged get released almost immediately.
HOW MANY CAN YOU DEPORT & WILL YOU DEPORT YOUR OWN CITIZENS? Ghana has deported hundreds of Nigerian runsgirls recently, who are active prostitutes in Ghana, they are Nigerian so they can be deported to Nigeria, but what about the Ghanaian runsgirls who are also nearing crisis amounts, will Ghana deport her citizens too?
PROSTITUTE REHABILITATION HAS CONTINUED TO FAIL? Many of these ladies are used to making almost $170 in a day or two, this is most peoples salary around West & East Africa. This is why when they are brought to a house and removed from what they are used to i.e Fast money, Fast food and attention, very few of them actually remain when the rehabilitation time period is up. Many of these ladies want to sell sex, nothing I or anyone does will change it, so I say we let them!
SHAMING TACTIC? For them to be on the streets selling to whoever can buy, they gave up on shame a while ago.
The answer to this epidemic isn’t arrests or deportations or shaming tactics, the answer is legalization. Sex remains a natural human interaction so no matter what measures we put in place to stop it, the trade of sex will never go away. The fact is that the more we criminalize it, the we create an environment of criminality and violence for it to thrive in because it will thrive regardless. The truth remains that all of those involved are humans too and should be protected first. The laws of men should serve men.
If we legalized the sex trade the government can then institute a body to control certain aspects of how the trade is run. The government can then make it mandatory for sex workers to have a kind of license, of which must be maintained by undergoing medical tests every 30 days(without which prostitution becomes illegal and extreme jail terms can be passed on the violators). We can then have state sanction brothels that follow strict policies of no underage women, the government can then begin taxing them as well. In this atmosphere the ladies will be protected by law, the amount of prostitutes going missing everyday is alarming and they can’t even go to the police because they have to fear the law too. When the sex trade is legalized they will be protected by law too and will no longer depend on thugs and drug-dealers to protect them. This brings them to the side of the law and when we have the women it is easier to ensnare those drugsdealers and thugs making live difficult for hardworking Africans through the land.
Sex trade being illegal only makes it an uncontrollable issue, but if the government legalizes it, the government can then control it like any legal office. The benefits are incalculable, people will be able to run real background checks on their partner before marriage, when it is made legal government can then take very harsh actions on those who violate the terms of engagement and by so doing, those who want to enter illegally will have to think twice before doing so.
I feel that this article has gone all over the place in trying to present my idea to you, I believe that this is a more important issue for Africans than the legalizing of homosexuality and transgender issues. Please comment and lets get this discussion started in our societies.
Other articles that analysis the decriminalization of prostitution: