Behind the glitz and glamour of Lagos’ bustling nightlife, a dark reality looms for young girls who are lured into the world of sex work. This reality is the subject of the highly anticipated release of ‘Domitilla: The Reboot’, a film that serves as a stark reminder of the challenges these girls face in Nigeria’s sex industry. As the film hits theatres this weekend, it is clear that the issue of sexual exploitation in Nigeria cannot be ignored. Despite sex work being illegal in Nigeria, it remains a prevalent occupation in many urban areas, with young girls often being coerced or forced into it.
Poverty is a vicious cycle that feeds prostitution in Nigeria, and young girls from impoverished families are often the most vulnerable to its clutches. The lure of coming to big cities like Lagos and Abuja is high; higher still is the cost of living in these cities. With limited access to necessities like food, shelter, and clothing, many young girls feel they have no other option but to sell their bodies to survive. For many, the promise of quick cash and an escape from destitution is the only way out. The sad reality is that without proper education and job opportunities, these girls are trapped in a cycle of poverty and exploitation. This can have devastating consequences.
The world of sex work in Nigeria is murky, and young girls are often lured into it, in part through human trafficking. Traffickers exploit their vulnerabilities, promising them a better life in the city or abroad. However, they are forced into the sex industry as soon as they arrive at their destination. This creates a cycle of debt bondage, where girls are trapped in sex work to pay off travel expenses. Once trapped, they face a host of dangers, from physical and sexual assault to contracting sexually transmitted infections and murder through ritual killings.
The release of ‘Domitilla: The Reboot’ is a poignant reminder of the complex issues surrounding sex work in Nigeria, particularly for young girls. Poverty, human trafficking, and limited access to education and economic opportunities create a vicious cycle that traps many girls in prostitution and sex slavery. While we must address these root causes to create a safer and more equitable society in our country, it’s equally imperative to acknowledge the nuanced experiences of sex workers and to strengthen law enforcement around violence against women. In addition, more economic opportunities need to be provided for women and girls. By approaching the issue with empathy, compassion, and a commitment to dismantling systemic oppression, we can move towards a society where all women and girls can live with dignity and respect.