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Prostitution is the exchange of sex for money; it is very common in Liberia. The act takes place openly on street corners in Monrovia and many other cities in Liberia. Mostly involved are teenage and adolescent girls between the ages 20 and During the night hours, they can be seen posted at entertainment centers attracting and calling the attention of men who come to transact with them.
Many persons, including me, have wondered why a woman would offer her body for sex in exchange for money. There are mixed reasons; the underlining factor is poverty. Some believe that the cause is also linked with peer pressure. Yet, there are also people who say it is one of the easier ways to make fast money. One of them I spoke with told me she got involved with prostitution because she cannot afford to take care of her many responsibilities with and for family.
However, for whatever reason, the act dehumanizes the individual and takes away the pride of a woman. Yet, in total disregard for the effects, many young women chose to go this direction. Women involved in prostitution normally are not respected in their community; many persons look down upon them and consider them foolish. So most of them would rather leave their communities and go to a distant place where they are not known in order to hide their identity.
Peer pressure is one factor that leads girls into prostitution. Drug intake is often common amongst girls in prostitution. In fact, it is widely agreed upon that the drugs they take cause some mental disorders; they get addicted and see the act as a normal way of life. Often times, young girls are influenced by their peers; and when they get a taste of it, they disobey their parents and take to the street.
Prostitution is not a legal act in Liberia; the government has tried and is still trying to curtail the act but all efforts seem fruitless as the act continues to be on the rise. The police periodically patrol and raid places that play host to prostitution, but offenders regroup in other areas and most times, after a while, return to the very place they were run out of from.