It is without gainsay that the spate of prostitution has become alarming. However, these women of the night have accused the police of abuse, as they carry out their illicit trade.
In a recent documentary by Advocaid, some of these ladies of pleasure have alleged that they are often harassed, abused and extorted by night patrol police officers.
In his response to the issues highlighted in the documentary, the Inspector General of Police Francis Munu said, he “received a request from Advocaid Sierra Leone [they] wanted to have audience with me in order to present me a documentary on the experience of commercial sex workers with the police especially as they conduct their night patrols.”
The documentary, he added “contained series of allegations by commercial sex workers as they encounter police officers at night. They complained about harassment, abuse, exploitation and several other [issues].”
IG Munu explained that Local Unit Commanders (LUC’s) in charge of stations were also invited to listen to the allegations made and in order to help proffer solutions in addressing them.
The IG added, “having listened to the allegations and having heard various accounts given by various interventions of LUCs we are of the view that these people are in conflict with the law because what they do [as trade] is illegal [since] the laws of the country did not recognize prostitution… [notwithstanding they have rights to be protected].”
The IG argued that he cannot tell what is happening at night and what are the experiences of these prostitutes, however “if the allegations are true then the officers have to improve on their performances. If we have the evidence against any officer engaged in any disciplinary infractions then we would have to take disciplinary action, but first we try to educate them let them understand what are the critical issues; what their protective role should be as to the people under their custody. After which if the [officers] fall foul with the law again and the [victim(s)] have the evidence then we can take disciplinary action [against the office involved].”
The IG noted that it is difficult for the police to prosecute, “you can not prosecute prostitution bringing in only one party because it takes two to tango.”