Sex for sale: Where are we heading?

When 'sex phone' ads hit dailies and call girls hop into SUVs on streets, you know our values have taken a nose dive.

Ayesha Jehangir February 03, 2011
On a recent trip to a juice shop in Lahore, my husband and I noticed a huge black Cygnus car stop at the turn across the road.

After closer observation, we saw two women, both around the age of 25, dressed in bright silk step into the jeep that careened off.

Two other women were left behind. After some 20 minutes, they too stepped into a Camry and sped off. My husband and I looked towards each other simultaneously – we knew what we just saw but did not have the guts to admit what was going on so openly at 11:30 pm on one of the busiest roads of the area.

“Westernisation!” my husband murmured.

The other day, a news story at the front of the city page of a famous newspaper said ‘Sex phone’ ads hit dailies. The story stated how prostitution on the phone was advertised on rates as low Rs100. It was no less than a shock to see how we, as a society, have fallen by our moral and ethical standards.

When a gynaecologist says that her number of unmarried patients have strikingly increased in the last five years, when the telecom companies offer codes where callers can get names, numbers and recorded messages of other callers, mostly those ‘lonely and looking for a friend’ and when there are sudden sprouts of controversial guest houses in every town, one is forced to think where our values are headed.

When a friend read the same story about the phone ads, she exclaimed, “Westernisation!”

However, I disagree with my friend as well as my husband.

Why do we always blame the West for our wrong doings? And even if we were adopting western values, why do we only acquire the negative aspects? Why can we not learn to leave our seats for senior citizens or pregnant women on buses? Why do we not learn to stand in queues and follow traffic rules?

The answer is us. The actual problem lies within us and will keep worsening if we do not pull ourselves back and amend our ways. It’s still not too late.
Ayesha Jehangir A sub-editor on the Lahore desk of The Express Tribune. She graduated from Kinnaird College with a masters in mass communication and is a Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Fellow of Journalism at DW, Bonn.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.