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Prostitutes Blame Hardships On New Churches 

Cartoon used for illustrative purpose

Cartoon used for illustrative purpose

Some prostitutes at Miniferme quarter in Yaounde have blamed mushroom churches and bad economy for the slowdown in business.

“The money we used to have in two days, we now take two weeks to work for it. All the generous men have disappeared into thin air because of born-again churches and poverty,” said Caroline,one of the prostitutes, with a nostalgic expression on her face.

She said now they are forced to sleep with about fifteen to twenty men a night to be able to have ten thousand francs, thus making the job more hectic with less profit.

“A decade ago, whenever salaries were out, some big guns would hire us for the night, just to dance, booze, and eat pepperish pork and fish with them, not necessarily to sleep with us,” Caroline said. Today, however, Caroline said they work at a deficit.
Brutal Customers

“Some regular customers come to borrow sex when there is no money and we give them. Apart from selling on credit, we also have to take care of ourselves to look good so as to attract clients,” said Caroline.

She added, “We often change our hairdo daily, because some brutal customers root off the wigs on our head when their enjoyment is at the peak,” she continued.

Caroline said the saddest part of the sex business is when men negotiate for their services for FCFA 10,000 and above, and after a long tiring night, they give them counterfeit money.

Another sex worker, Merlène, said they go for medical checkups daily. They equally take painkillers to reduce the abdominal pains they feel after being ‘galloped’ by men of different shapes and sizes and equally to reduce the pains due to the acrobatic postures they take in order to impress clients and cause cash to flow.

“All these require a lot of expenditure. The landlords of the brothels are on our necks when we fail to pay the day’s rent of FCFA 3000. They don’t care if we have worked or not, so our livelihood absolutely depends on this business,” said Merlène.

Church Roadblocks

With a bitter tone, a certain Casandra blamed new churches for the drastic drop in their business.
“Before the coming of these churches, both bachelors and married men used to storm our brothels, requesting for a moment of pleasure. But the advent of Pentecostal churches has put sand in our garri,” said Casandra.

“Some of our former regular customers now come to us not to buy, but to preach repentance. Others come with evangelisation tracts instead of cash,” she said.

According to Casandra most of the married men who could have come to them are now faithful to their wives, while the young ones go for marriage to avoid fornication as they claim God hates it.

Casandra said some former customers now preach that their bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, “so a man who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her and thus defiles his body.”

She said that their effort to capture a Christian client is sometimes aborted when these churches begin their night of praises and prayers, and the echoes reach their brothels distracting the men.

Some will say,“Madam I am sorry to disappoint you. I have made up my mind to follow Jesus and to keep myself pure. I cannot afford to defile my body by indulging in this ungodly act of sexual immorality.”

According to Casandra, sometimes business is so hard that they spend a whole night in the cold without any customer and when they succeed to have one whom they see as last resort; a nearby church will drive him away with their conscience-pricking sermons.

Other prostitutes complain about the impromptu police patrols that sweep them off the streets,sometimes keeping them in cells for days. Because of this, the prostitutes say they are forced to go into hiding.

One of the prostitutes said the police stormed their brothels recently and shut them down as well as the strategic bars where they easily got customers.

“Trading underground is not easy despite new strategies that we employ. At times, we put signboards ‘houses for rent’, where we usually stand and write our phone numbers on them to facilitate the task for our clients to trace us. Wise customers may understand, while others do not,” said Geraldine.

“But if we are fortunate to have understanding call boxers around us, we arrange with them to link our customers to us and we pay them a certain commission depending on the price we bargain with the client in question,” Geraldine continued.

Some prostitutes said even when they retreat to street corners, petty thieves upset their business as sometimes they snatch their hard earned-money while demanding sex for free. When they fail to comply, the hoodlums threaten to denounce them to the police.
The Law

The government has made lives of prostitutes even harder by instituting laws facilitating marriage and this is indeed a big barrier to them.

Also, marriage counselors in churches now drill women on how to be good wives, thus the men feel contented and so do not solicit the services of prostitutes anymore.

Successful marriage tips given to women reduces the tendency for quarrels and when men are fine with their wives, they don’t spend time out with prostitutes; given that some extra-marital affairs are prompted by nagging wives.

“The media have also contributed negatively to reduce the number of people who solicit our services. Everywhere you look you only see sensitisation notices here and there. People now look at us like canker worms pregnant with deadly diseases to inject into their healthy bodies,” said Caroline.

By Solange Tegwi(Siantou Journalism Student On Internship)

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