Wearing white to symbolize purity, worshippers throughout the city of Dakar gathered to pray on one of the final nights of Ramadan. To purify the soul and purge sin, they hadn’t eaten all day and refrained from drinking, smoking and having sex — which during the holy month is only allowed among spouses at night.
Ramadan is bad news for the sex workers on the streets of Senegal, a country where 94 percent of the population is Muslim and prostitution is legal.
“It’s a rough month,” said 31-year-old Fatou Diop in downtown Dakar.
Djiby Sow coordinates health programs at Africa Consultants International and works with local groups in Dakar that offer health services and counseling to prostitutes.
“The worst impact is during the first two weeks,” he said. “People are very pious then. Business goes back up toward the end of the month.”