Makeshift Motels, Teenage Prostitution Anger Lawmakers

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Bong County District #6 Rep. Moima Briggs–Mensah wrote House Plenary on the “offenses against public morality.”

— Gender Minister, Police Chief, Others summoned 

Members of the House of Representatives have frowned on the increasing rate of teenage prostitution and the proliferation of makeshift sex-shops, brothels and substandard motels in the country and unanimously voted to summon the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Wilhemina Piso Saydee Tarr; the Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP), Patrick Sudue; and the LNP’s head of the Women and Children Protection Unit.

The trio is expected to appear before the full Plenary on Tuesday, July 30, 2019 at 11:00 a.m., in the House Chamber, to also address the issues of the sexual based violence and rape in the country.

The motion was proffered by Maryland County District #3 Representative Isaac Roland and was amended by Montserrado County District #3 Rustonlyn S. Dennis, which includes the reports on sexual based violence and rape in the country.

The House’s decision to invite the Gender Minister, Police IG and the Head of the LNP’s Women and Children Protection Unit, stemmed from a communication from Bong County District #6 Representative, Moima Briggs–Mensah, on the “offenses against public morality”, which violates Chapter 18, Sub-sections 1-9 of Liberian Penal Code.

“Honorable Speaker and Members, the issues surrounding prostitution in our country is distressing and alarming to the extent that it has connected children of early teens, increase the spread of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), encouraged rape and increased violence against women to include, human trafficking and abuse of human rights,” Rep. Mensah wrote.

She added: “Moreover, records of recent past have shown that the blatant refusal to combat prostitution has resulted to a form of encouragement for young girls to drop out of school since it is considered by them as of one the easiest means to generate money.”

Rep. Mensah further wrote: “Distinguished colleagues, it is my fervent hope, that we consider the matter with urgency and treat it with expediency, as this is speedily creeping and seeking to destroy not only the young girls but those who facilitate it as well.”

During arguments, Rep. Mensah said her communication to the House’s Plenary was prompted when she observed that tens of teenage and school-going girls were seen being carried in a makeshift lappa-be-door room, for what is termed as “short time” on 14th Street, Sinkor. According to her, the “short time” scenario is on the increase across the country.

She argued that the House should either criminalize prostitution of decriminalize prostitution to issue licenses, to regulate prostitution.

The chairperson of the House’s Gender Committee, Rep. Julie Wiah, said the rise in prostitution is not only alarming but also embarrassing, while Rep. Francis Dopoh of River Gee County District #3, proposed a holistic investigation on the rise of prostitution, arguing that is an age-old profession, dating as far back as the Holy Bible and Koran.

According to Liberian Penal Code, some of the offenses against Public Morality include promoting prostitution, facilitating prostitution and patronizing prostitution, which constitutes a felony. Others are dissemination obscene materials, indecent exposure, loitering to solicit sexual activity, illegal gambling business, abuse of corpse and cruelty to animals.

27 COMMENTS

  1. In the Sandi Society, prostitution, homosexuality, lesbianism, are not allow, instead hard work and marriage are encouraged; please as Sandi Women to confirm?
    Where are the FGM people to help these young women looking for food to live?
    It is very difficult to find food daily in Monrovia?

    • With a female VP & powerful women in the Upper &u lower House, and with decent men also, we should use all necessary resources a day if need be go eyond to add resources to protect our children, male and female. LNP & other security forces should go after the facilitators of these crimes against our children. As stated by the representative, this is a matter of urgency!

      • You can’t effectively discourage prostitution if there are no jobs for young women to make a living. Prostitution is horrible but that’s the only means to survival for some young women in Liberia. So, instead of wasting your time on law enforcement, why don’t you suggest ideas to create jobs for young women? Law enforcement is not the solution. It’s jobs, jobs, jobs.

        • Good point Phil. The citizens of Liberia are in survival mode, thus, “by any means necessary” becomes the guiding principle. So the misdiagnosis of this reality as reflected in the crocodile tears of this so-called lawmaker et al, misses the point all together. If only this so-called representative and her do-nothing colleagues could reflect a little deeper than pretending to care about the welfare of their hapless people, perhaps they will find or realize that people making just a little over $100. with $200 responsibilities a month, or majority without any source of income, will be compelled to prostitute, to steal, to become beggars, to abandon their families in some instances, or to selling few pieces of candies daily just to survive. While at that, let them compared their unjustified salaries and allowances to those people’s and the answer for whatever the pretentious quest will be right there. Not the Gender Ministry, or LNP or even the proprietors of those motels being maligned who, after all, did not go into business to cater to just prostitutes only. In that vein will liquor shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs too, where some, if not most of these prostitution arrangements start be curtailed as well? Reason why this is nothing but just a big show and from a quarter full of blabbers known for talking before thinking.

      • One thing I’d notice, the rate of separations among Sandi/FGM Women and Poro Society Men is quite high. I wonder, why so? As The Kpelles would say, Dar Taar-they’ve scattered. So what happens when they taar/scatter? They just go ahead and mingle with the rest and the cycle keeps repeating. Doesn’t FGM have something to do with it? I’ve heard men preferring to be with NONE-FGM females. Why so?

    • You can have the Sandi school, minus FGM. It has no benefits to girls or women. Infact, it is hazardous to their health and life threatening.

      • Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist ; Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator-2017 Independent Presidential Candidate)

        Do you want to tell me we do not have Women in Sandi that are MDs, Phd, Bsc, Nurses, etc. Do you want to tell me they don’t know better?

        Let the women decide on these issues. Any Poro society person will tell you its Women rights to decide NOT men. Believe me.

    • Sr. Engineer, you speak like somebody who has never been to school. When they circumcise you, you still went out looking for woman. it is you men who cannot keep your pants zipped.

      • I second that emotion, Agnes. This so-called “Sr. Engineer” aka “Peter Curran,” aka “Yarkpajuwur N.Mator 2017-Independent Candidate” is very shallow in his thinking or appraisal of the causal factors to things he likes to poke into here to our distress. This guy constantly blames the very victims that need help, alternative or support in the circumstances he doesn’t understand or disparages ignorantly. Imagine this guy as chief in his village, much more president in some utopian country. He will surely decree that all women and girls in that utopian setting submit to FGM as his perverted remedy for prostitution, or you be incarcerated. Just imagine that! And such a lunatic was cleared and certified to run for the presidency of Liberia?

        • Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist ; Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator-2017 Independent Presidential Candidate)

          FMG should only be decided by Women; NOT Men. Men should NOT tell women what to do; that is the Sandi way of doing things.

          Peter Gboyo maybe you and Agnes are more educated than me. I am here to stay. My name is real since Poro, School, UL, Europe, USA, etc.
          I will speak for my people.

          thank you.

          • Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist ; Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator-2017 Independent Presidential Candidate)

            Peter Gboyo:
            Are you one of those persons who went to LU in the 1980s to undermine President William Tolbert? You studied in the USA but never brought back any helpful idea to Liberia?

            You said I was narrow minded? No, I am far educated and have lots of experiences that the country needs to develop. I know the Candidate you are supporting but you and him are yet to challenge my academic hard work.
            Liberian and the world knows you can not come closer.

            I have to leave now to meet an American Wheat/Corn farmer to ask questions relating to our country Liberian Farming that I am developing.
            Gboyo, go back to school.

      • Agnes:
        Your entire statement is exactly the Liberian Logic that speaks against properly educated people and that is why we are in these evil conditions today.

        You are talking about most Liberian Men you know; not me. I was never part of those dirty behaviors you are talking about and will never be.

        I strongly believe in no sex before marriage which is in the interest of Women; Sandi encourages it also. But lots of Liberian Men and Women as you know will prefer talking women to rooms as this article is reporting.
        Sorry, those girls have to do such to live. I know what hunger is and I feel for those young people who find themselves in that condition for now.

        I am not the type you know. I never had any girl friend up to LU until I left for scholarship to Europe. I kept my grades up to get the little scholarship money William Tolbert gave to all students who kept their grades up. I eventually left on scholarship for Germany.
        In fact on LTI, most of my friends who didn’t have girl friends became MDs, etc; why?

        I am conservative. I believe in Dr. Ben Carson, Ms Rice, William Tolbert, etc. I also believe in very hard work.

        That hunger will not go away until we work against it. I have already done major improvements on our rice farming methods. infact I will be meeting an OLD American farmer at 5:00PM EST to as him about his Wheat and Corn growing. You should see how wonderful these thing grow here. Actually these statements are also for the public to know me; not only Agnes.

        You wrote “Sr. Engineer”.
        Yes and thank you if there is no evil feeling associated. I hope you encourage all the children, Men, people you know to have better dreams than what I had.

  2. If the Liberan lawmakers want to do something about teenage sex promiscuity, it’s all good. But the issue of sex promiscuity among the youth is not new. It’s been going on for a very long time.

    During the 15-year senseless war in our country, every Liberian, young and old, experienced some form of indignity. Young men or boys were recruited to fight in defense of makeshift territories that were controlled by warlords. On the other hand, young teenage innocent girls were preyed upon by men in order to satisfy their rotten sex drive. Sadly, these young uneducated teenage girls were made to become mothers. To make matters worse, Ecomog soldiers who came in from neighbouring countries in order to maintain peace, engaged in full sex with teenage Liberian women and women of all ages. As a consequence of their sex activity, Ecomog soldiers produced a lot of “ecokids”. I define ecokids as Liberians who were born during the war years to Ecomog soldiers. Up to date, many of those kids do not know who their biological fathers are.

    Deadly Communicable Deseases:
    Something can be done to prevent STDs. But let’s not be deluded; sexual activity in Liberia is unstoppable as well as in all the societies of the world. But in most developed societies, early intervention has made a great difference.

    Areas of help:
    * Sex education is imperative. The Ministries of Education and Gender can work cooperatively together in order to teach sex education at all schools nationwide.

    * Neighborhood Clinics, if there are any, should get involved in order to teach sex education.

    Somehow, it seems that motel owners are being blamed for excessive teenage sex. I totally disagree. The truth of the matter is that motels exist in order to make money. In addition to making money, motel owners have created jobs by hiring Liberians who perform various functions. I am afraid that if motel owners are pressurized, motels will be closed. If motels are closed, unemployment will exist. Overall, sex education should be looked into.

  3. I created the word “ecokids”. It wasn’t created in order for me to disparage anyone. God knows my heart. It is very sad for a child to be born without knowing who his biological father is. For sure, a powerful lesson can be learned from the senseless war that had been fought on our soil.

    The Lesson:
    Let’s not change an elected government undemocratically. In other words, mob action solutions are counterproductive. In the US, Trump is not liked by all Americans. Of course, there’s not a fringe group of Americans out there who have the solutions to the problems of America. Trump’s ouster is being done democratically. Maybe, “some” Liberian politicians can learn such a lesson.

  4. The Gender Minister is totally useless. Is she not able to speak about the rape issues? She is not fit for the position and should be fired immediately. This woman is a total disgrace to women everywhere.

    • Sr. Engineer, Geophysicist ; Peter Curran (Yarkpajuwur N. Mator-2017 Independent Presidential Candidate)

      She was elected. Who will fire her?

  5. According to the Daily Observer news reporter, the River Gee County Representative, Mr. Francis Dopoh of District #3, stated that prostitution is an “age-old profession” that dates as far back as Biblical or Quranic times. Yes, indeed, but what does his statement imply?

    It would be most certainly sad, if he is insinuating that because prostitution existed during those times, so it should be encouraged or continued unabated within the Liberian society today. For, it would be one of the kinds of logic that has given rise to the fatal fallacies that have seeped through the minds of the youths and have become well grounded in their ways of thinking.

    And this is so because of the corrupt influences of leaders, who do not know how to draw the lines between issues of immorality and the dangers that they collectively wrought on the nation versus their spiritual, social and legal implications. Or they might either be aware of those issues, but their perception of what is wrong; what is right; what is good; or what is bad, is warped.

    While I choose not to go lengthily into the theology of this disdainful practice, the Bible was quite clear in denouncing prostitution on both moral and spiritual grounds because it defiles man’s body. God says emphatically and unequivocally that our bodies are His temples; and thus we are experiencing the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases in our society today because of our recalcitrance towards Him and His Word.

  6. Studies have shown that for eons of years, prostitution has existed and continues to exist throughout many civilizations including ancient ones. Many controversies and taboo laws surround this practice. Both Christians and Moslems condemn it based on absolute laws of the Holy Books.

    Notwithstanding, in today’s secular world the controversies have morphed into two major camps, and they are whether to criminalize or decriminalize it. In my opinion, if the government maintains its position of criminalizing prostitution in Liberia: the brothels and other prostitution cartels will go underground; and this does not augur well for a country whose health care delivery system is in shambles. It will pose a major health care challenge to the already severely understaffed and ill-equipped health care facilities throughout the country; and so in the case of an outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), they would lack the ability to easily trace their sources because of incapacity.

    Next, gender based violence and unwanted pregnancies will increase because many men who engage in this practice are very brutal towards their female partners as they are only in search of some momentary sexual gratification and not love or babies. Consequently, as gender based violence increases, the need to hire more law enforcement agents and make more budgetary allocations to combat the criminals poses another challenge.

    However, what happens if government was to decriminalize prostitution? Studies have made some compelling cases for the decriminalization of constitution. In the first place, it will escalate government revenues as the profession will no longer be an underground one, and so the brothels will have to be legally registered and pay licensing fees. At the present government is losing money from this trade because no form of accountancy exists to track the revenues and incomes from it. Decriminalization will remove this obstacle and thus give a boost to the economy.

    Next, it will drastically reduce the rate of STD’s as the brothels will require and ensure that anyone wishing to engage in this profession must pass a battery of tests and have a license to practice.
    Last, another added benefit would be affording the law enforcement agents the opportunity to divert their time and resources towards combating other crimes of greater magnitude.

    Prostitution is a personal choice, and so nobody can dictate to two adults what they should do with their bodies. However, the fallout from individual choices often has the propensities of affecting large segments of a population including is; and, that’s why it is called a social issue.

    Therefore, while I am against sexual promiscuity of any kind, government should decriminalize prostitution and divert funds to programs that support and promote strong family values because the family is the fundamental building block of any society; and the stronger the family is the stronger society becomes. One way to achieve this is through a sound economy because studies have also shown that a major contributing factor to prostitution is a weak economy which mostly affects women as they often find themselves in dire social conditions.

  7. Paragraph 4: Point of correction:

    It ought to be Studies have ,made some compelling cases for the “decriminalization of prostitution”. Not, “…decriminalization of constitution.”

    Sorry for the typographical errors.

  8. Mr. Curan,
    Are you sure about the fact that the Gender minister was elected?
    If that is true, my God, the Gender minister is one of the luckiest government employees on earth.

    Thanks for taking your precious time to look into this Sir.

    • Mr Hney.

      Bong County District #6 Rep. Moima Briggs, was she not elected?

      I do respect Moima’s concerns seriously. We now see our hopelessness knocking at our doors and it will get worst unless we get the right leadership in place.
      A leadership that must be High-end KnowHows, Multitasking oriented in the most needed areas that will bring us to the world market quickly.

      The other point is, why are some people constantly undermining the Poro and Sandi Societies of which they have no ideas?
      Poro+Saning don’t know Christianity and Islam but we use the word “Amehner” to receive our blessings. “Amehner” is the same as “Amen” in the Bible.
      Poro+Sandi Societies are also basically pre Pharoahnic or ancient Egyptian related; most don’t know about that.
      The last time I saw a Poro+Sani symbol in the Pacific countries coming to the Americas.

      I also know where “Peter Gboyo” is coming from and going. These are the people who undermined Tolbert and are very uncomfortable when the better educated are around.

      Liberia is in trouble.

  9. Mr Curan,
    I have the greatest respect for the Poro and Sande societies. Never have I disparaged them, never will I. They don’t bother me at all.

    Mr. Curan, I am a derivative of Maryland county. We don’t have such organizations or societies. The citizens of Maryland, Sinoe, Grand Kru, Kru Coast and Gee do not go through such a practice.

    My only concern is about what you wrote in an earlier post. You said that the Gender Minister was elected. Is that your confirmed position? Ministers or Secretaries (depending on the country) are usually appointed by an elected head of state. Why should the Gender Minister be considered an elected government official?

    The specific post you wrote is a one-sentence reply or rebuttal to Agnes’s contention. Agnes argues that the Gender Minister is inept.. Said you, “She was elected. Who will fire her”?
    Was the Gender Minister elected or appointed? If she ran for that position, she is the luckiest dude.

    Not a big deal, Sir. I am humbly curious.

    • You will notice, F. Hney, that this Peter fellow is one confused and snobby little pillock trying to seek attention and relevance here, in his schizophrenic desire to become not town crier for his village, but president of Liberia. Can you imagine this chap had the audacity to contest the presidency of Liberia during the last election? It makes you wonder what in hell’s name these bozos take Liberia to be? Some pigpen, where mud and dirt are the standard? Such a dull and absent-minded one this other so-called “Sr. Engineer,” a demonstrated dunce who doesn’t even know the difference between elected and appointed officials of government, yet wants to be president? Make him president for a day and he will attempt firing all Liberian legislators and out of ignorance. Mind you, right after the election I’m told he fled Liberia to greener pastures, awaiting the next election year. But he has the galls to sit on the internet all day preaching “nationalism?” In that same warped mind he believes people who were critical of the Tolbert dispensation are “uncomfortable when the better educated are around?” What would be the basis of that fear? As if the critics of the Tolbert administration not educated too. Or even if not educated, was education not an aspiration of such persons? I happened to have been a kid at the time, but I believe and salute those who championed that cause, people who could be considered heroes and heroines in the quest for a just and equitable society for all. That, compared to the Peter Curran variety who were preoccupied with whatever the personal agendas.

      • Mr. Hney.
        I meant the election of Bong Rep #6. My respond was not meant for the gender minister post.

        Note: I am not directly talking to you; it’s for the whole nation.
        The country is massively not educated one; functionally illiterate; (not you Mr Hney).

        You have hit the point (Kru, Sinoe, River Gee Maryland, etc) vs Poro+Sandi? Is it not the direction things are going?

        Never has the Poro+Sandi Societies forced anybody from those/any regions to joint them. We do respect everyone’s culture.
        Most people from the Poro+Sandi in fact voted for President Weah; the whole Wester regions? We should alway work hard to avoid regional/tribal conflicts,
        and divisions.
        Am I looking for notice like the other political leaders (Cummings, Boikia etc…)? I am already a serious contender in Liberia like the others; why are you worrying. I didn’t campaign because Liberia wanted George Weah and I respected that. I appreciated those who voted for me and many thanks to them.

        Sr Engineer from Germany. Yes, you can’t come close. I went to school via JallahTown/LU for ca. 25years. Years of Industrial experience in those countries. The typical Liberian Gboyo will want to see me out because I am educated.
        Gboyo, the educated world is more powerful, that is my direction.

        1. Gboyo means what?
        2. Gboyo. Please give the educational backgrounds of you and your Boss?
        3. We are now back home to tell the Liberian that quality Education is the Light to their life and the country; not the Gboyo Lifestyle?
        4. The Gboyo lifestyle is extreme Evil; God will see them for his judgement.

        Fellow Liberian, These are some of the jobs all educated Liberian have to do to bring the country back in Line with the civilized world.
        Liberty for all.

  10. Thanks for the well-explained narrative brother Gboyo. I don’t want to proceed any further. As eloquent and shrewd as you are, it’s my hope that you will understand why it would make no sense to seek further clarification from Mr. Curan.

    The Gender Minister was not elected. The Gender Minister can be terminated if the president feels that her job is being performed below expectation. She serves at pleasure of the president. Our geophysicist engineer comrade ought to know this. He’s either joking or playing dumb.
    Lastly, Agnes’s perspective on the topic has been stated. Agnes is entitled to her opinions. Mr. Curan may go forward, sidetrack or say whatever he wants. I don’t think his disagreement with Agnes will swing the pendulum in his immediate direction.

    I respect Curan. I disagree with him because he’s going anti-clockwise.

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