The story that picked my interest last week was about Immigration asking for the authority to deport foreigners found using the services of commercial sex workers.
I have visited different towns and found many women and men, who appear decent, turning out to be commercial sex workers. It is difficult to determine who is engaged in this trade.
In countries where prostitution is legal, it is easy to identify the buyers and sellers. The prostitutes have planned zones and brothels are well laid out. These are also known as Red Light districts.
But how will one determine a prostitute in Rwanda where there are no demarcated areas for commercial sex workers? In the countries where prostitution is legal, the prostitutes even have ID’s.
But I wonder what standard the Immigration officials in Rwanda intend to use to determine who should be called a prostitute and who shouldn’t.
Won’t they be forced to indiscriminately round up everyone? Will we hold everybody standing on the streets suspect?
Such a move will not stem the commercial sex work. What the authorities need to do is address the underlying causes of this vice.
They should find ways to create employment for redundant girls- only then will they definitely leave the streets.
At the moment, the matter of who fuels the commercial sex trade, the buyer or the sellers, is still a matter of debate. I’m afraid that deporting foreigners in the name of fighting prostitution will be a futile exercise.
It is not that I’m defending this act. Indeed, I abhor the act itself, considering the risks and the stigma associated with it.
Testimonies from women who have worked in such a business indicate that it is common for them to accept unprotected sex, on request- at a little extra pay. This shows you the amount of risk involved.
Therefore, eradicating it is important; prostitution fuels the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases and halting the spread is essential.
Those agitating for the authority to track the sex workers should be aware that in this is almost impossible; sex workers will come up with new tricks to circumvent the law.
Apart from targeting the poor women, who stand along the boulevards waiting for customers, those engaged in higher- class commercial sex work will be very difficult to detect.
I also believe the money used in carrying out investigations before a successful criminal prosecution of those suspected of prostitution, may be more than what would be used to rehabilitate the sex workers.