Abuja, Nigeria – On Thursday, April 5, 2023, a 30-year-old man, Victor Emeka, was remanded in a correctional center by a Dei-Dei Grade 1 Area Court in Abuja for allegedly swindling a commercial worker. Emeka, of Mpape, Abuja, was charged by the police with criminal breach of trust and theft, which he pleaded not guilty to.
The judge, Mr. Saminu Suleiman, ordered that the defendant be taken to Suleja correctional center until May 5, when the facts of the case would be reviewed.
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According to the Prosecution Counsel, Mr. Chinedu Ogada, the complainant, Sandra Orogbo of White House Hotel Abuja, reported the case at the Zuba Police Station on March 17. Ogada alleged that the defendant went to the hotel, and patronized the complainant with a promise to pay her N2,000 for her services on March 16.
After the complainant rendered her service to the defendant, he refused to pay her. The defendant further deceived the complainant to Suleja, collected her cell phone valued at N60,000, and ran away. The defendant was eventually arrested and handed over to the police for investigation.
The offense contravened the provisions of sections 265 and 287 of the Penal Code, Ogada said.
Commercial workers have long been subjected to exploitation, harassment, and abuse, with many facing daily dangers while trying to make a living. The case of Sandra Orogbo is a reminder of the risks involved in the profession, as some clients may refuse to pay for services rendered or worse, resort to violence.
Many workers operate in precarious conditions, lacking access to legal protection and medical care. As a result, they often suffer from discrimination and stigmatization, which can further exacerbate their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.
Efforts to decriminalize sex work and provide legal protection for sex workers have been ongoing in Nigeria and other countries. Advocates argue that decriminalization would enable sex workers to access legal protection and healthcare services, reducing their vulnerability to exploitation and abuse.
However, opposition to the decriminalization of work remains strong, with some arguing that it would encourage human trafficking and increase the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
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Despite the ongoing debates about the decriminalization of sex work, cases of exploitation and abuse continue to be reported regularly. The case of Victor Emeka serves as a reminder of the need for stronger legal protections for workers and harsher penalties for those who exploit and abuse them.
It is hoped that the legal system will provide justice for Sandra Orogbo and that the case will serve as a warning to those who seek to exploit vulnerable individuals. In the meantime, efforts to provide legal protection and healthcare services for sex workers must continue to be strengthened to ensure that they are able to work safely and with dignity.