Saturday, June 07, 2008

“My mother said I could help the family more if I left school to be a sex worker”

Source: IRIN

*The following are excerpts from the aforementioned article:

Janet Camara (not her real name) told IRIN her mother urged her to leave school and become a sex worker in early 2008 when it became clear that food and fuel prices meant her mother could not support the family on her own. Janet agreed to do it, becoming one of an estimated 250,000 sex workers in Guinea, according to a local non-governmental organisation.

“My father left a few years ago and my mother supported us by selling odds and ends in the market. I have three brothers and three sisters, and until the end of last year we were all in school. But as food prices rose my mother had more and more difficulty buying enough food for us to eat.”

“I was in my final year– my exams would have been this year - and one day my mother said I could help the family more if I left school to be a sex worker. I didn’t want to leave my friends behind but I thought I might earn enough to buy myself some nice clothes or a phone, and bring money home to my family, so I agreed to do it.”

“I bring home rice, bread and plantains – I help my mother a lot - but I can’t buy anything more because life has changed here - prices are rising so high my earnings only cover the basics.”

“Now I regret leaving school because I miss my friends, and I didn’t know this would be so hard. I suffer a lot. I take an HIV test every six months – organisations come around and offer them to us. I try to always insist clients use a condom but sometimes it means I have to charge them lower prices, and I end up losing clients that way.”

“We get a lot of military men here, but they often round us up in their trucks and take us out to the fields to rape us – and they end up paying nothing at all.”

“On a good day I’ll make US$33 but there are many days when I don’t make anything. The amount that a client will pay varies between US$3.30 and US$20, but that’s unusual. During religious festivals I may make nothing at all for weeks - Ramadan is the worst time.”

“Since I’ve been on the streets over the last year I’ve seen more and more young girls doing this work. I imagine most of them are leaving school like me, but I’ve also heard of some students continuing their studies during the day. I’ve also seen young boys working on the streets – they are more hidden but they exist.

Click here to read the full article!

*Note the abovementioned excerpts are direct quotes from the article and thus all credit and references should be afforded to the authors/sources.

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