Clampdown on sex workers around the Olympic Stadium may mean that most of the 15 condoms allocated to each of the 10,500 athlete in camp may have to be used in other areas.
At a major game such as the Olympics, sex itself is an athlete. The organisers may not have created a specific event for it but they recognise that it is a dominant force that has to be accommodated in certain ways.
This is evident in the number of condoms already awarded to the 10, 500 athletes in town – 150,000 coming to 15 per head. It does not matter whether or not you win any gold or bronze, everybody is thus a medalist when it comes to the condom largesse.
A mischievous folk says if he were the spouse or lover of any of the athletes, he would simply demand that they text to him the particulars of the condoms they received, so that on returning home, he would demand that they account for all the condoms allocated to them.
Beyond such a joke, the development has been raising nerves in some ways. Some people are alarmed that ‘unholy’ sex has to be so much anticipated and accommodated. But there is the indication that some athletes have already started putting the golden ‘gloves’ to appropriate use.
“There’s a lot of sex going on at the Olympics,” Daily Mirror quotes women’s football goalkeeper Hope Solo as saying. “I’ve seen athletes having sex out in the open, getting down and dirty on grass between buildings.”
It is not clear how long the saintly goal tender will be able to be a mere observer, and how many other athletes feel the way she appears to do. Curiously, the intra-camp sex festival – sexlympics, if you like – may be compounded by the fact that in the months that preceded the commencement of the games, the police drove away many sex workers around the Olympic camp in East London.
Particularly affected are sex workers in several brothels in Newham, an area that is although “a deprived area of London borough”, will remind many Lagosians of Allen Avenue, Lagos, where commercial sex workers are usually found on the street under the cover of darkness. Ordinarily, the proximity of Newham to the stadium should mean a big business for the sex professionals but they were cleaned off the streets to make the place more presentable.
With up to 80 brothels closed, a government initiative supporting East London prostitutes, Open Door, has intervened in the plight of the sex workers. The principal coordinator of Open Door, Georgina Perry, recently said, “For the last two years we’ve seen a real increase in police activity in relation to sex work in the Olympic host boroughs,” said Georgina Perry, who runs Open Door, a government project supporting east London prostitutes.
“Some of the women who sell sex have experienced so many brothel closures that they are now working on the street, and that is a much less safe place.”
Our correspondent’s survey of the affected parts of Newham day and night in the last few days shows that the government’s big but controversial stick has shattered the dream of the sex workers to make good money as many other Londoners now do. The fallen brothels did not rise while no prostitute was seen lining the street, at least not the way you easily see on Allen.
Unlike in Nigeria where sex workers are still largely officially marginalised, prostitution is legal in the UK. This means that sex workers too were sure to earn from the £13bn that Prime Minister David Cameron has predicted the Olympic Games would attract to the economy in the next four years.
While a media report notes that the Metropolitan Police say the intention behind the raids on the brothels goes beyond the Olympics, the fact is that the prostitutes are only peeping from afar while their darling trade is being coveted within the Olympic Park or stadium.