The sex industry has been growing in Ethiopia especially in Addis Ababa. Over a year ago, the city saw massage parlors, with their special feature of ‘happy endings,’ flourish. The businesses became so profitable that they have continued to grow and grow consistently.
As the sex industry never lacks creativity, now, there is a new kind of business in town, okay maybe not new but let’s say “growing” business. And that is the unofficial “Fird Bets” meaning court houses. At this specific faux court, the defendants will not have lawyers that will stand for them and the verdict is very harsh.
The whole thing usually targets foreign tourists, although locals are not safe from it as well.
The court houses are normal villa houses around the city. These places, according to some sources, work in collaboration with tour guides. The tour guides persuade tourists to go check out these so called court houses.
Once in the court house, the tourists are provided with whatever they want, be it food, drinks or drugs. And then of course there are those beautiful women. The evening is spent with lavish service and the tourists have ‘the best time of their lives’ but the catch is, throughout the unlimited drinks, the good food, the lap dances, the sex and the entire good time, nobody talks about how much it is all going to cost.
Soon the good time comes to an end and the verdict come in. The tourists who were having the time of their lives just minutes earlier are brought down back to earth with a huge bill they have to pay. Individuals are asked to pay up to 40,000 birr for one night.
Surely, that is a shocking amount even for foreigners (Did you know, they don’t all have an infinite amount of money?). The tourists, wobbling in shock, confusion and fear, protest that the verdict was completely unfair and they don’t have that kind of money and shout out a lot of “What the hell kind of place are you running here!” and other statements like that.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter how much the victims protest, not paying is not an option. If an individual persists on not paying, they risk being beaten up, and almost all the time, the victims end up paying before situations escalate to that stage.
Obviously, this should be illegal along with other sex related businesses. But there is a reason why it will never be; it just has a significant fan base. In a country where prostitution is ‘illegal’, it really is anything but.
In the past, it was hard to actually find working women on the streets because either they would stand by the side of the road really late at night or stay inside the very limited bars and brothels. But now, times have changed. In most places, the working women start lining up as early as 8 in the evening. If you don’t believe me check out the Chechnya red light district from among the many streets around the city.
We have now openly embraced strip clubs, something that was done pretty much underground just a few years back.
So yes, times are changing, and the industry will always be there. But the problem with some aspects sex related endeavors such as the ‘court’ houses is that they are nothing but scams hoaxes, cons or frauds. The proper transaction of service and money doesn’t exist.
Chances are, this particular kind of business will continue to flourish as the law continues to look the other way.