In Sokoto, which is a Sharia state, commercial sex workers are totally ignored by the society. At the same time the State government does not agree that they do exist - after all, how would they operate in Sharia law? Of course, this is not true.
“Mummy markets” are very common in the Northern States of Nigeria where Sharia is practiced. These are places where the army has control and there are alcohol and women in plenty. As the army is under the Federal Government, the Sokoto State governor cannot impose the no alcohol rule on them. However, these are the only places where you can get alcohol. Within the “mummy market” in Sokoto there are two brothels. One has Muslim girls only and the other has Muslim and Christian girls.
Our organization 3Ps is trying to rehabilitate them so that they can leave that trade. We train the women in different skills such as tie & dye, soap and pomade making and home economics. This has proved to be more effective than just talking to them and asking them to leave their trade. So far about fifty women have left the “mummy market” and are doing their small businesses elsewhere. Recently one of them got married and is really happy in her new home.
Our organization also organizes activities on HIV & AIDS within the “mummy market”. This has not been easy as the State government has banned any education on sexuality.