Commercial Sex Workers Complain of Low Patronage in Gbarnga

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Following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in Liberia, sex workers in Gbarnga, the political seat of Bong County in central Liberia, have complained about low patronage.

The sex workers who ply their trade only in Gbarnga, are irritated because the Ebola disease is putting them out of business.

Before the outbreak of the Ebola virus disease, prostitutes in Gbarnga charged between US$ 15 and US$ 20.  And to have a brief encounter, a patron paid between L$500 and L$800 for one hour or a shorter time.

Over the weekend, the Daily Observer’s Bong County Correspondent visited some of the red light districts in Gbarnga to have an insight into how much the hemorrhagic fever had affected the world’s oldest profession and found the results were rather frightening.

One of the spots where commercial sex workers usually congregate in Gbarnga called “Facebook”, is a popular entertainment center, a stone’s throw from the County Sports Stadium.  It looks like a nudist convention or a bikini pageant where girls and women between the ages of 16 and 25 years expose their physical assets rather than covering them up. Only those men who are hard to turn on can visit the “Facebook” amid the Ebola outbreak. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Ebola is a deadly, contagious disease that can be transmitted through body contact with an infected person’s fluids and secretions, such as blood, sweat, saliva and semen.

In an attempt to control the spread of the virus, considering the transmission through sex and other body contacts, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the World Health Organization have warned that people should abstain from casual sex until the hemorrhagic fever is put under control.

“This Ebola crisis has put us completely out of business. Before the outbreak of the disease, I used to take home something good” a girl who gave her name as Baby Girl stated.

Another sex worker who refused to disclose her name told this reporter that she is a student of the Bong County Technical College and it is through this business that she has been able to continue her education over the past several semesters.

“Ebola, no Ebola, people must eat and I can’t continue to depend on my parents at this age. As I am here, I take care of my two younger brothers and my mother in the village. I send money to them through this business. I am not afraid of any Ebola. I am a child of God” another woman declared.

It was established by this newspaper that some men who are easily turned on, take the risk to do business with these prostitutes.

Ordinary citizens who spoke with this newspaper advanced that the Government of Liberia should shut down for a while all entertainment centers in the city until the disease is eradicated from the county.

It was also observed by this newspaper that despite warnings from the Ministry of Health and the WHO, midnight movers are still hanging on in the streets looking for business until the late hours.

On Tuesday the Bong County Health Team announced new cases of Ebola in Taylor Town, Yellequelleh District, a few miles away from the Phebe Hospital. Doctor Sampson Azoakoi, Nimba County Health Officer, told this reporter that there are six suspected cases of Ebola in the area.

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