Journalism of Courage

Insecurity, gangrape: Sex workers in Benue device new strategies of protecting themselves — PSN exclusive

... hires hire motorcyclists (Okada) to either take them to their customers' chosen tryst or join them in their cars while the motorcyclist follows


Following the state of insecurity in Benue State and across the country, Markurdi sex workers have devised means of safeguarding themselves.

The Markurdi sex workers, who ply their trade mostly around TC Wine Bar and SKYFAL, all off Lorkyakor street, High Level, now hire motorcyclists (Okada) to either take them to their customers’ chosen tryst or join them in their cars while the motorcyclist follows.

Persecondnews gathered some of the girls, who are between the ages of 19 and 25, are taking the security measures in view of increased cases of gangrape, rituals among others, in the state lately.

The Markurdi Sex Workers who admitted to staying in that area because the place is always bubbling and never lacks patronage, disclosed that even though the “business” is risky due to the security situation in the country now, they can’t stop because they need the money to survive.

“Just like most girls here, I also have my personal okada man that I pay daily or weekly depending on how much I make. He usually takes me and my customers; for those who don’t have car, to wherever we are going at night.

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“For somebody who has a car, I will join him in his car, while he (Okada) follows us with his motorcycle. We do this for security reasons.

“There have been cases of some men who take some girls here home and want to use them for rituals, or gang rape them. Also, some men will pay for short time and want to stay longer than expected without paying extra money when they get to the house.

“In such cases, I just take off with my Okada guy, who usually wait for me to finish if it is short time.

“Whatever happens, the Okada guy who waits outside sometimes, can call for help if he suspects something fishy going on, or he can trace the girls to those destinations if they disappear, or get hurt so much that they can’t narrate what went wrong.

“There are also cases where some customers are not comfortable with our arrangement, and we just let them go. They get scared because they feel we are trying to set them up to get robbed, ”one of the girls, who gave her name as Rose told Persecondnews.

Checks by Persecondnews revealed that some of the Markurdi sex workers collect between N1,500 to N4,000 in return for yielding their bodies to the men.

“We collect N1,500 for short time, but if you buy us beer and meat, pepper soup or food, we can accept N1,000. But for all night, it is between N3,500 and N5,000, depending on the person.

“For me, I always prefer short time and I’m okay with just one or two customers because I don’t have strength like the other girls who are into hard drugs to enable them ‘service’ as many men as possible a night.

“I do this just to afford three square meals; you know the country is hard and I don’t come everyday, only weekends,” another girl who declined giving her name said.



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