Opposition Senator Wilfred Abrahams has called for a “serious discussion” on the issue of prostitution in Barbados.
Speaking in the Upper Chamber during debate on the Trafficking in Persons Prevention Bill, 2016, the Immigration (Amendment) Bill, 2016 and Criminal Assets Recovery Fund Bill, 2016, Abrahams, who is an attorney-at-law argued that though illegal, prostitution was carried out on the streets of Bridgetown.
Abrahams, who is the caretaker candidate of the Opposition Barbados Labour Party in the constituency of Christ Church East also questioned why members of the Royal Barbados Police Force were not clamping down on the illegal sex trade while pointing out that homosexual and transvestite prostitution was being practised in Pinfold Street, the City.
“Prostitution exists right in Pinfold Street. It exists in Crumpton Street right outside of Harrison College. It exists in Bush Hill, the Garrison, St Michael, it exists right opposite Hastings Police Station in Christ Church,” he told members of the Upper Chamber.
Knocking Barbadians for what he called their hypocritical approach to prostitution, Abrahams recalled that when he resided at the Garrison, St Michael in close proximity to former Chief Justice of Barbados Sir William Douglas, there was a tacit agreement between lawmen and ladies of the night that once they kept to the side of the road opposite to the Chief Justice’s residence they would be allowed to engage in the illegal practice uninhibited.
Abrahams also said court records would show that no one has been prosecuted in Barbados for engaging in prostitution for a very long time.
He charged that Barbados’ reluctance to have a serious discussion on the issue of prostitution creates other issues for the country.
“I believe that not everybody who is engaged in prostitution is a victim. Now I am not saying I support the practise, neither am I saying I am against it, I am saying that we as a country, not as a party, need to discuss the issue.
The attorney said one of his clients, who admitted she was a prostitute, said she had made a conscious decision to go and feed her family since she had no job and was in debt.
“That was her position. We like to think that everybody in prostitution is a victim. The right or wrong of it I am sure the Church will have its say,” Abrahams acknowledged.
He cited another case where a Guyanese client who was encouraged by one of her friends to come to Barbados to take up a legitimate job was forced into prostitution after she could not find a legitimate job to make a contribution to the home.
According to Abrahams, the client admitted to him that some nights when she was on the streets, she slept with as many as seven men to get enough money to satisfy her basic needs.
He said she further admitted to him that she was forced to sell her body at Bds$60 for 20 minutes or part thereof.
The Opposition Senator warned that when a woman was forced to sell her body to as many as seven men a night she exposed herself to all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases.