“When we sleep with different men, their faces, clothes or even the bad odour emanating from their bodies are of no concern to us, it’s the money we want and it’s the money we get,” a predominant phrase that runs through all the conversations of commercial sex workers.
Pleasure and having fun might come as a bonus to them, but a prostitute’s focus is to make customers enjoy the sexual bouts worth the price.
“As for me, whether you are married or single, tall or short, fair or dark, I don’t even care how you made your money, all I want is the money,” a 32-year-old plump commercial sex worker told this reporter as she made an attempt to hold his male organ.
Although her attitude didn’t come as a surprise, it got me a bit scared. I immediately walked to another prostitute who was younger and slimmer.
Leaning on a kiosk behind the Obra Spot, Sophia (this and all the other names in this article are not the real names of the persons referred to) stretched her hand and demanded GH¢10 before talking to me.
Not comfortable with how the rest of them were looking at me, I smiled at her and walked away as my heart beat faster.
World of the prostitutes
Commercial sex workers appear colourful and very attractive in noticeable and skin-tight dresses which expose the curvaceous parts of their body.
They stand at vantage positions at various popular routes of men, particularly in front of restaurants, hotels and night clubs.
At Kasoa, they are mostly spotted at Liberia Camp, XXX and other popular hangouts, but in Accra, they are spread everywhere. Places such as the Tip-Toe Lane and Obra Spot are a few of the areas at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle where they hunt for their men.
They are not difficult to approach, except a few who appear a bit choosy with their clients.
Over the years, prostitution has evolved as many sex workers no longer stand on the street but have found ways of getting to their customers.
With the introduction of technology and social media, those women who are either too shy or too proud to expose their faces on the streets at night use the social media to search for customers.
They put their contact list and their rate card on some online sites and would never show their face until they are convinced it is time for business.
Even though it may come at an expensive cost of having to endure pain, especially those who allow men to have anal sex with them, money is a big motivation to make prostitutes ignore the pain they encounter daily.
“I do not discriminate against any of my clients. Whether you prefer my anus, blow job or any part of my body, if you can afford it, you will get it,” Francisca who plies her trade around Tiptoe lane, near the Kwame Nkrumah circle, said.
Having enough money to buy designer cloths, pay utility bills and, support their respective families provoke prostitutes to take those risks.
According to Rebecca who plies her trade at London Bar, close to Weija on the Accra-Kasoa road, “I specifically target the fraud guys because they have the money.”
Asked how much she charges and the risk that comes with it, she said it depended on the duration she spent with her clients and other extra services.
“Some of the fraud guys have friends who come to visit them and they may also demand to sleep with you. When this happens, you can make a lot,” she said.
Rebecca, in plying her trade, seems not to be entirely concerned about the hazards, claiming that there was nothing in the world that didn’t come with a risk.
“You may have to sleep with them over and over again in a day. Sometimes you get abdominal pains, depending on how big the man’s genital organ is. Nevertheless we have a painkiller we take to reduce the pain,” she said.
Irrespective of how desperate these prostitutes are to make money, sleeping with men is not always something they do.
Apart from their monthly menstrual cycle which intervenes, prostitutes also have their free periods.
“Most of us use the free period to visit kinsfolks and undertake other personal matters,” Jennifer, a prostitute at Liberia Camp in Kasoa, said.
According to her, when prostitutes meet, their conversation centres primarily on their experiences with customers.
“We mostly talk about the gains, pains and the plots that go with the profession,” Jennifer said.
Prostitution is a big business for many of the young girls who either have no job or want quick money.
In their separate interviews with the Daily Graphic, most of them said they had made tremendous gain from the profession.
Ms Landy, who claimes to have been a prostitute for close to 10 years, said: “I have bought two taxis and I am about to finish my two-bedroom house.”
Aside from her, another prostitute, Lucy, said: “I am paying the fees of my brothers in the university and supporting my mother’s fish business.”
According to her, she is in the process of buying two plots of land at Buduburam in the Central Region on which she intends to build a four bedroom apartment for lease.
The sex workers are abused by either their clients or even some members of the security services. Society shuns these people, as they regard them as social outcasts.
Lady Pan, is a 19-year-old sex worker, said although she has not suffered physical abuse, her friends had been victims on many occasions.
“Most of them return home with bruised faces claiming they were beaten by their customers. On one occasion, Mama Dee, a close friend of mine, was stabbed and abandoned in the bush by two guys after they had repeatedly slept with her,” she recalled with her eyes shut.
She said sex workers who suffered physical abuse, for fear of losing their regular customers during that period, nursed their injuries, concealed the bruises on their face with heavy makeup and resumed work the next day.
“The thing with prostitution is that if your client comes and they do not find you, they will get someone else. And trust me, once another lady gets hold of your man, there is no turning back.”
According to Lady Pan, the only way to succeed as a prostitute is to be tough with your clients as most of them are cheats and bullies.
Prostitution is big business and in order to join one must have some sort of connection.
At some notable places in Accra and Kasoa, for a prostitute to be allowed to ply her trade, she must first register with the leadership in charge of the business in the area. Examples are Liberia Camp 18 Junction and Tiptoe Lane.
Members know one another so well that they can easily spot an outsider on the first day.
Ms Julie, a member of the group at Liberia Camp, said: “If you are not a registered member and you go hunting in the area, you will receive severe beatings and be stripped naked.”
“We do this to ensure discipline in the area because some outsiders (prostitutes) may steal from the customers and might not come to the area again,” she said.