Social media as platform to sell sex

The advancement in technological trends has played an integral part in the lives of many individuals with the emergence of social media.

Unlike in the past where people wrote letters through the Post Office, people are now able to make cheap WhatsApp, Facebook and WeChat phone calls or send messages to distant places instantly.

Prostitution has now gone digital through the social media

People have found social media useful in many ways. Some have taken advantage to ply their trade on social media various platforms.

Goods and services offered vary. Selling sex has not been spared, with some women posting their nude pictures or clad in revealing clothes.

Their adverts come with mobile phone numbers and offers of sexual encounters never before experienced to attract clients.

In Malawi, Section 137 of the Penal Code criminalises public indecency and people have been charged for having sex in public, engaging in pornography and homosexual activities.

Wikipedia defines public indecency or indecent exposure as ‘the deliberate exposure in public or in view of the general public by a person of a potion or portions of his or her body in circumstances where the exposure is contrary to local moral or other standards of appropriate behavior which is punishable by law, with imprisonment terms ranging from 5 to 14 years’.

Asked to say whether the law applies to nudity on social media, national police spokesperson James Kadadzera asked for more time to establish any link.

Random interviews revealed various perceptions on the matter.

While condemning women who are into the trade, Karen Kadzombe a fourth-year student at Blantyre International University, says regulation of social media is one of the biggest challenge the country is facing.

She says given proper mechanisms such as what exists in some countries, censoring social media would be ideal because such adverts are bringing shame to women folk.

“It is so appalling to see nudity on social media. I would like to see authorities do something about it,” she says.

Katarinah Mwamvani, a trainee journalist in Blantyre, agrees with Kadzombe on calling on authorities to act with the urgency the matter deserves.

She says women should find other means of plying their ‘trade’ other than using the social media which is patronised by thousands of users worldwide.

“There are dating sites, even right here in Malawi. Why can’t they use such platforms rather than using Facebook for their ungodly acts? Ngati akufuna azikaima munsewu basi, osati kuziyalusa kotereko (if they want they should just go stand by the road sides),” she argues.

Gender and Women’s rights activist Emma Kaliya, however, says the world has changed, which has altered the way people think and act; hence, it is hard to control their emotions and actions.

Kaliya says the fast-pace in the emergence of social media has also contributed to the way people organise themselves, which is hard to control.

She further blamed men for patronising such platforms, instead of just ignoring. n

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