Claim: Photo from sex workers meeting in Nimba county
Source: Online Parrot
Full Text: The post was done in pidgin English but we translated a few which state that sex workers in Nimba County say the business is giving them a hard time.
We aren’t mainly focused on the content of the post but on the images used stating that those pictures were of sex workers in that County.
The pidgin English version says, “Hopojoe neh in Nimba County say ley bini giving stinkaylu scent and no longer they want Monrovia kpa-kpa-kpa neh coming in their area.”
It furthered, “They told the New Dawn Newspaper that they are blue and want to put an immediate end to it. According to the paper, the commercial sex workers had a long day meeting in the capital city of Nimba County and Sanniquellie respectively. As per GNN Liberia, the intent of the hopojoe neh meeting was to organize themselves and speak with one voice to warn other young girls from putting foot into their territory. They said these girls from Lofa, Bong, Grand Bassa, and especially Monrovia bamblays, are giving them too much hard time by chaklaing their business, and have threatened that no more do they want to see them stepping in their area. Or else, bamboo will divide kola. Because of these young girls, their prices have drastically reduced from US 20$ to 10$. Now sitting stinks at US 5$, especially becuh of Monrovia ten-ten neh. 📸 | New Dawn Liberia @GNNLiberia
Since this check, the post has generated 200 reactions, 116 comments, and 24 shares.
Sex in exchange for money is prostitution, and this act is prohibited by law in Liberia. In several towns around Liberia, including Monrovia, the action is publicly seen on street corners at night.
They can be seen at entrances of entertainment centers at night, drawing the attention of males who go to those places to conduct business with them.
In Liberia, prostitution is not a legal activity; the government has attempted to outlaw it and continues to do so, but their attempts have been ineffective because prostitution is still on the rise. Police frequently patrol and raid prostitution-related locations, although offenders regroup elsewhere and frequently return to the location they fled from after some time.
Prostitution is illegal, but widespread in Liberia.
Like its neighbour, Sierra Leone, child prostitution has seen an increase in the aftermath of the civil war.
On June 7, 2023, Online Parrot, a local blog in Liberia with over 32,229 subscribers, posted a blog about a supposed gathering of prostitutes in Nimba County, one of Liberia’s largest and most populous counties in Liberia. Three pictures of the purported prostitutes were included with the post, which attracted a lot of attention and piqued our interest in checking out the pictures to confirm the claims made by the blog. We recognized that Nimba County is one of those hotspot areas for commercial sex workers in Liberia.
What we discovered:
Verification: Contrary to what the Online Parrot said, TSM discovered that all three photographs are not from Liberia or Nimba County, but rather are from various other nations or publications created around the world.
Image from Zambian Eye
The top image, which also happens to be the first on the post, comes from an article by Phil Daka that was published on March 29, 2015, by Zambian Eye, on how churches have turned into fashion shows.
New Telegraph image
The blog’s second image is a screenshot from a story by “The New Telegraph” dated 2020 that claimed two Nigerian women had been convicted of running a prostitution ring in Ireland.
The final photograph displayed above is from a piece by Temitope Adetunji that appeared on April 27, 2020, under the headline “COVID-19: task force arrests 18 Prostitutes in Ondo for Partying at Night.”
What other media outlets published:
In the New Dawn October 17, 2022 publication it reported that “Local sex workers in Ganta, Nimba County have threatened to drag the government to court for a poor economic environment that has reduced their customers’ inflow” with an image far different from the three used by the blog.
New Dawn October 17, 2022 publication image
Again on June 7, 2023, the paper for the second time reported about a meeting by commercial sex workers in Nimba County intended to protect their trade, which is partly what the blog used with different images to deceive the public into believing that those images are from the held meeting of the local commercial sex workers in the County. Like the previous article published by the media outlet, this publication carried a different image from what was posted by the blog.
New Dawn’s image publication June 7, 2023
Conclusion: Considering our research, the images posted by Online Parrot which are said to be of commercial sex workers in Nimba are misleading.
This story was produced with the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)’s support.