COVID-19 economic crisis, pushing people in our community into crime, prostitution

Residents of Aso at the Karu Local government Area of Nasarawa state continues to narrate how the coronavirus pandemic has contributed to an upsurge in crimes and prostitution in their area.

Residents, who spoke to the Media Advocacy West Africa Foundation (MAWA Foundation), said the drive and struggle for survival as a result of the economic predicament brought by the coronavirus, has led to increased prostitution and crimes in their area.

Mr. Philip Gor, a resident of Aso, while speaking to MAWA together with his friends at the Aso A area, explained that a good number of persons who work on construction sites have been sacked from the job and are doing nothing while struggling to survive.

Gor added that although many have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, there are no alternatives from the government to help take them off the street.

He explained that a week into the coronavirus lockdown, Aso began to witness a high increase in crime and prostitution a development he attributed to economic hardship brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Joseph while speaking to MAWA said there are huge numbers of girls particularly between the ages of 13 to 15 who are now engaging in prostitution to raise money and feed their families.

“The moment it is 10:00 pm, you see many prostitutes moving around till at about 5:00 am when they will start going back to their respective houses to rest for the next day,” Joseph said.

Mr. Kyado who spoke to MAWA at his Aso residence, said since the coronavirus lockdown began the community has continued to record a high rate of crimes ranging from burglary and telephones snatching.

A police officer who spoke to MAWA and did not want his name mentioned, said the majority of the cases been treated at the police station are mainly theft and child prostitution.

“When we arrest many of them, they will say they went into stealing and child prostitution because of the hardship they go through as a result of economic predicament brought by a coronavirus, but because that is not a defence we charge them to court when necessary”, the policeman said.

This report is supported by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa OSIWA

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