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Opinion - The churches’ approach to prostitution

2021-02-05  Staff Reporter

Opinion - The churches’ approach to prostitution
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Reverend Jan Scholtz

Prostitution has often been characterised as the “world’s oldest profession”. The concept of women as property, which prevailed in most cultures until the end of the 19th century, meant that the profits of the profession most often accrued to the men who controlled it. 
Men have traditionally been characterised as procurers and customers, but they are increasingly being identified as prostitutes.   They generally serve male customers and sometimes impersonate women.

Prostitution in various forms has existed from earliest times. It is dependent on the economic, social and sexual values of a society. It has been secular or under the guise of religion. In some societies prostitution was believed to ensure the preservation of the family.
In a survey conducted in which 20 women prostitutes were interviewed, only two seemed to be happy with their way of life. 
The following causes are given: lack of affection on the part of the home and family; lack of support from the parents and extreme poverty; an unfaithful husband, ill treatment of the wife, to mention a few.  

(Sr. Bernadette Mbuy-Beyi, The African Women and Prostitution, in Woman who are you? 1998)
Where is the church when millions of women choose to seek a way out of their condition? Is there something that the church can offer to this problem? The problem of prostitution is spreading fast like the Aids disease in the world.  

Prostitution is a great danger because it is a strong carrier of the Aids epidemic. Prostitution is an insult to the African Renaissance. In light of our present cry to give a new meaning to Africa it is important that we seek means to overcome this problem though it seems impossible. 
Prostitution has framed itself into African culture with the name of polygamy, only that the man is legally bound to many women. 
It is important that religious institutions should begin to speak out against this problem that is further pulling Africa down the drain. 
How are we going to address the issue of AIDS in Africa it we don’t seek means to eradicate the strong carrier of Aids, namely polygamy and prostitution? It is time that the churches take this issue by their teeth and address it, by creating favourable conditions for those who are trapped in prostitution. 

It is time that the churches should take an active stance in policymaking so that these issues receive greater attention. (New Era, 15 January 2021)
Churches across the world must take an active stance because this problem is an international problem.  It is not going to be helpful if churches only make policy statements, but they should seek a solution to the problem. 

Churches that already have programmes that are currently running should evaluate this and seek more useful ways to address the problem. They should also exchange their ideas and challenge other churches to follow their example.
Prostitution is a major challenge that the church is facing today. There is an urgent need that the church should play an active role in this regard. 

By assisting in restoring the full humanity of those who are enslaved, by economic conditions or by force, but it is the task of the church to challenge higher institutions of power, namely the government and big businesses to take an active stand on this issue.

The church must introduce projects that will assist in bringing those who are enslaved by prostitution out of it. 
In the same vein, favourable conditions need to be created to ensure the survival of this individuals who are ensnared.  
Projects that the church can introduce are to empower individuals with skills that they create jobs for themselves. 
An example is Uganda, where the churches have come up with a number of projects which have helped the women encounter God’s love in a broken world. 

Kibuye Women’s Poultry Project provides income for the women. This is one of the 1995 rolling projects which were implemented on the revolving scheme principles. 

Out of the 25 members trained, 14 were targeted for the first phase and provided with 200 day-old broiler chicks.
In conclusion, it is important for the church to show God’s grace by aiding victims of prostitution to rehabilitate and repurpose their lives without our judgement.


2021-02-05  Staff Reporter

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