COVID-19: ‘Men are running away from us’ – Sex workers in Delta lament

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Commercial sex workers in Delta State have cried out over low patronage because of the coronavirus.

Already, economic and commercial activities have been grounded in not only the state but the country at large as the deadly virus has infected about 51 people and killed the former Managing Director of the Petroleum and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Mr. Suleiman Achimugu.

Low patronage has forced hotel and shopping mall owners to place their workers on compulsory leave in Asaba, the state capital, until the tension surrounding the disease subsides.

This came as markets, schools, club houses, playgrounds and recreational centres are set to shut down across the state.

Sex workers said they were facing hard times within the metropolis as patronage has dropped for fear of having contact with unsuspecting carrier of the disease.

An Assistant Manager of one of the five-star hotels on Mariam Babangida Way in Asaba, Mr. Godwin Johnson, yesterday said the disease had put his job on the line.

A club attendant on the popular DBS Road in Asaba, who identified herself simply as Vidal, said 10 out the 22 workers at their “Rock and Roll” organisation, had been placed on standby, owing to low patronage.

She said: “Since the disease hit Nigeria through Lagos State and Abuja, and government emphasised restricted access at air and seaports, and banned mass gathering, offering of social amenities and playing of danceable music at clubs drastically dropped within Asaba metropolis. The aftermath is the job insecurity we have been plunged into.”

Vidal said sex workers had recorded low patronage since the outbreak of the disease as customers suddenly lost interest.

A proprietor of an establishment that provides accommodation, foods and drinks on DBS Road, who pleaded anonymity, was optimistic that the disease would be a blessing in disguise.

She said: “We overcame Ebola, Monkey-pox, and Lassa fever as a nation. Coronavirus will not be an exception. The spread has seriously affected nightlife. Male customers have stayed away, female counterparts are lonely. There is low patronage now.”

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