The economic recession has struck the sex market in the Paradise City of Calabar, Cross River State, forcing sex workers to slash their charges to an all-time low of N400 per insertion and N1, 500 - N2, 000 per night for home service due to diminishing patronage. An operator of one of the hot red light zones in the city, Madam Becky (not real name), who spoke in Pidgin English, told Niger Delta Voice that since February, the girls have been complaining of “bad market.”
“Why you dey ask me all this kind JAMB question sef, u sure say u no be police? Na because you buy me drinks, wetin I fit tell be say Buhari government no favour us at all, if na before, u no go see girl plenty like that for here, except say Ekelebe people dey disturb. We dey settle them well well, but since February, the business don bad well well,” she lamented.
At some of the brothels and spots in Calabar South visited by this reporter, the story was the same. A street walker, Princess, who spoke to our reporter after much haggle, purchase of a bottle of beer and food for her, said: “I finished My WAEC before I joined this runs oo, my father died that same year and my mother is not too strong to take care of all of us.”
“My father’s people accused our mother of our father’s death, so life has indeed being difficult. I actually came to Calabar in November 2015. I am from Orlu in Imo state but I started this business in Owerri before I moved to a joint in Obiagu in Enugu. Then for a change of environment, I decided to come to Calabar , last year, because I heard that there is usually a boom during the Calabar Carnival and I witnessed it, but things started changing around February,” she said.
According to her: “We used to collect a minimum of N500 naira for a round of sex but it started going down after that Valentine celebration. My customers in a day before used to be between 20 –35 when business was good, but as I am talking to you, my highest in a day is no longer up to 18 or 20 when there is a boom.”
“Upon say I be slim-fit, the only time we have business now is when they pay salaries, during festivities and public holidays,” she asserted. At a spot on Lugard Street, one of the call girls accosted our reporter, saying, “No be N500 again oo, Buhari don make us bring down the price, port one and get one free “ she said.
“If you want home service, just tell me na only 2k I go collect but you go buy be drink and suya ooo with Indomie, but if you want sharp sharp, na N500 I go collect for one round ooo, “ she added.
According to her, “We just dey manage to survive, wetin man pikin go do, people no dey patronize us like before again, de only hope wey we get some time na some of our regular customers and during some weekends and holidays, but we nor get choice than to reduce wetin we dey charge before,” she asserted.