On the 12th annual International Sex Workers day which is celebrated every year on March 3, the Movement of Vulnerability and Empowerment (MVE) an NGO in Sierra Leone is calling on the government to legalize prostitution.
Prostitution is illegal in Sierra Leone and commercial sex workers are often harassed by the police. They accuse organizations like the MVE of encouraging underage girls to work in ghettos, bars, pubs, etc as commercial sex workers. The MVE is quick to brush off these accusation.
“We don’t allow anyone below the age of 25yrs to work as sex worker,” says Ms. Felicia Williams, a commercial sex worker and Public Relation Officer of MVE.
“I am a mother of two beautiful kids that are going to school, I care and cater for them. I won’t encourage them to get into prostitution until they are 25 years old,” added Ms. Williams. The MVE has branches across Sierra Leone which registers sex workers and encourages them to have healthy and protective sex lives.
“Most of these women are married myself included, because of that we wouldn’t want a situation wherein they will take sicknesses from the street to their homes,” said Ms.Watey Kondeh, a commercial sex worker and co-ordinator at the Cline Town division. Ms. Kondeh stresses on the area sex workers being harassed by the police and gangsters in Freetown.