NPR Scare! Ebola Destroying Prostitution

NPR finds a new reason to worry about Ebola.

Forget death – there’s another reason why Ebola is dangerous, according to NPR: the virus is destroying the sex market. 

In a recent piece for taxpayer-funded NPR, Nurith Aizenman and Graham Smith reported on “Sex, Love And Ebola” in a piece highlighting how “The Prostitutes Are Not Happy” in west Africa. Due to Ebola, “Wedding dress rentals are way down. Condoms are no longer a hot item. And prostitutes are having trouble finding customers,” the authors lamented.  

With 300 cases of the virus cropping up per week in Sierra Leone, NPR “wanted to find out how the epidemic has impacted these more ... intimate facets of daily experience.” For the piece, the news organization visited the “sex market” on Lumley Beach road. 

While prostitution is illegal in Sierra Leone, the market is “widely tolerated,” the authors reassured. 

One woman explained to NPR that, “Before, we used to sleep with a guy, and he'd give you enough money and do good things for us." Now, with Ebola’s economic impact, she said, "We are really suffering." 

Before Ebola, she worked as a waitress and a maid – but NPR showed concern only for her current job. 

The news organization continued to count the ways Ebola impacted the sex market. “There's also more competition on the streets,” NPR reported, as well as “a lot of men are afraid prostitutes might have Ebola.” 

A prostitute named Fatima complained to NPR about men trying to underpay her – while she supports a 5-month-old-baby and her mother. NPR pitied, “On nights when she goes home empty-handed she says a prayer: ‘Next day, maybe God will provide customer for us.’” 

Later in the report, NPR also noted Ebola’s effect on the use of condoms and the wedding industry. 

NPR has a thing for using taxpayer money to discuss sexuality – from hyping transgender shows to suggesting “getting lucky” for St. Paddy’s Day.

— Katie Yoder is Staff Writer, Joe and Betty Anderlik Fellow in Culture and Media at the Media Research Center. Follow Katie Yoder on Twitter.