On Saturday night I went out to dinner. 13 crew and I ate Liberian sushi at a restaurant that was designed for Westerners. It was called "The Living Room". The inside was furnished with couches, large coffee tables, exotic drapes, and candles. Our food was brought to the coffee tables and we ate our sushi on the couches. You felt like you were at a trendy city restaurant. A friend commented that, "It's hard to believe a place like this exists in Liberia".
While we were eating, I noticed to western White men in the room next to ours. Their are no indigenous white skinned people in Liberia, other than Africans with Albinism. When you see light skin you know the person was imported from another country. The first question that come to my mind is, "I wonder what they are doing in Liberia".
It would be interesting to know the final number of foreigners currently residing in Liberia. Monrovia is filled with NGO's. Vehicle form The Red Cross, Mercy Ships, Samaritan's Purse, and the Geneva convention can regularly be seen in the streets. Also, there are over 15,000 UN soldiers, who carry very large guns, meandering the roads and ensuring Liberia's safety. Seeing the constant tension of Monrovia, if the UN was not here, it is very likely Liberia would still be at war. Liberia boasts the UN's second largest peacekeeping presence in the world.
A few weeks ago, a kind UN worker gave a few friends and I a ride from the city to the ship. On the ride home, he told us that the restaurant we were at fills with prostitute's every night. Prostitution is on the rise among teenage girls in Liberia. They specifically target western men, knowing that these men can easily afford to pay 5 to 10 dollars for their services, which is not a large sum of money for a westerner, but is a very good days wage for the girl. It's one of the few opportunities she has to make any money at all.
The white men I noticed in the sushi restaurant were accompanied by two young Liberian girls, who were probably half their age. I could clearly see a gold wedding band's on both men's ring fingers.
I don't know who they were or where they were from, but as I watched them feed sushi to their guests, I felt disturbed. I wondered who their wives were. I wondered what the girls were thinking. I wondered if the men had children at home.
Rape is a terrible problem in Liberia. In some area's as many as 3 out of 4 women have been raped. I cannot even imagine what that would be like. Men who prey on women are true cowards.
But I find western men who come to Liberia and employ teenage prostitute's equal in their cowardliness. They know the problems of the country. They know that these girls have very little and many prostitute themselves simply so they can survive. They are suppose to be here to help. They use their high economic status to fulfill their lusts at the expense of young girls.
As a woman, I cannot imagine selling my body to a man for any price. But these girls give themselves to strangers, who care nothing for them, for as little as 5 dollars. My heart breaks for them.
Women are meant to be treasured and treated with respect.