As the debate on whether prostitution, commercial sex or whatever you call it, should be legalized in this country rages on, I wish to add my view point.
The argument has, of late, taken different forms and of quite some interest is that even reasonable people, amongst them medical practitioners and Members of Parliament (MPs) are entertaining a pro-prostitution position.
This debate provides an opportunity for our society to introspect and define itself as far as our moral values are concerned. Our social and moral standards as regard to sex are at a critical stage.
Any sensible and realistic person will admit that we are facing a moral breakdown in our society. Christian morality has come under fierce attack, especially in the area of sex. What the Bible condemns as elicit sexual acts has become something of experiment. Our society has not only expressed sexual permissiveness but has also created a bad atmosphere.
One way this has been done is by using softer terms to mean the things that were not tolerated by the society in the past. The word fornication, which was used to describe illicit sexual acts between unmarried people, is now referred as pre-marital sex. To be referred to as a fornicator carries a more degrading moral message to most people, while pre-marital sex makes people feel that it is an acceptable experience.
In the current debate, the phrase “commercial sex work” is preferred to prostitution.
The term adultery is no longer proffered and is replaced with the phrase extra-marital affair, which gives the impression of an additional experience. Homosexuality is softened from something which is a very serious perversion to what is termed gay variation. Pornographic literature, films and pictures are now increasingly becoming available to our society. These materials are making our society to become violent in our thinking, speech and action. All these things are affecting our moral standards and values. Some years ago, they were a taboo in our society.
Those who argue for prostitution have ridiculously argued that prostitution will decrease the spread of HIV/AIDS because of hygienic brothels. The weakness of this argument, however, is very apparent. Research. Proponents of prostitution have not grasped why HIV spreads. Research has shown repeatedly that lack of condom use; multiple partners and lack of abstinence have, in varying degrees, contributed to the spread of HIV virus.
There is no evidence that those multiple partners will want to sleep with prostitutes, or that building brothels in Gaborone will increase the use of condoms at the cattle posts, lands and some dark lit city corner after partying the night away. What has become clear actually is that the original national campaign of ABC (abstinence, Be Faithful and Condomise) has been overshadowed by a gigantic C, condomise, and the message of abstinence and being faithful has been relegated to mythology. Only morality can save this nation.
Another flimsy reason given by those who support the suggestion is that it creates employment for the unemployed young girls. This is nonsense. There are many decent employment opportunities out there. Is sex an animal instinct that should be gratified on the basis on one’s pula power?
The support of such insinuations by members of parliament, especially women MPs, is worrying to say the least. Mme Botlhogile Tshireletso, Member of Parliament for Mahalapye East, has been reported on Radio Botswana morning news as advocating the legalization of prostitution.
This is quite disappointing, especially from a woman who should be championing advocacy for laws that aim to enhance the development and empowerment of the girl child. Prostitution is demeaning to young girls who practice it. It reduces their worth.
Prostitution has no place in our society. It must be perceived for what it is: an anomaly, a society disease in desperate need of cure. A nation that plays dice with a social ill may as well be purchasing its own spiritual death “on an installment plan”. The challenge of rescuing girls forced into prostitution remains. At one level, it will encompass resolving the Zimbabwean impasse for many prostitutes in both Gaborone and Francistown who are young Zimbabwean girls squeezed out of their country because of Mugabe’s misrule.
This is also a call for Christians to begin considering participating in politics so that they can influence decent policy formulation, based on the word of God.
For too long, Christians have shunned politics, viewing it as unholy. Little do they realize that by leaving such an important area in the hands of people who are not God fearing, they are giving the devil room to manipulate the people of God?
Christians should take part in politics. They should occupy political office.
The Bible says: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom”.
People who fear God will not make laws that decay our morals.