Child Sex Market in Ghana-A cruel Crime‏

This is the Circle interchange at the time it was inaugurated. Picture : Douglas Anane Frimpong

Accra, Ghana, March 22, 2019// – Abena (real name withheld) is fourteen years old and lives with her mother in a kiosk around Adabraka, a suburb of the capital of Ghana, Accra.

Her mother sells foodstuff during the day. According to Abena, she began going out with some of her friends in the evenings in 2016 to entertainment spots around Adabraka and Circle vicinities at that tender age.

The first week in her commercial sex trading profession “I was scared of having sexual intercourse with any man”. However, her friends cajoled her and she had sex for the first time with a certain callous half-cast man for a pittance.

Abena said it was painful and when she got home, she only told her mother that she had a ‘boil’ on her ‘organ’ and that was all. Her mother did not even find out why she was going out at night neither did she ask to see the so-called boil.

To cut a lengthy story short, with free consultancy advice from friends and experienced sex workers she managed to become ‘good’ at managing men; she knows how to allow entry into her depending upon the appearance, attitude, size and quantum of payment. Abena said she ‘charges’ depending on the appearance and personality of the client.

The young men are charged anything ranging between GH¢20.00 to GH¢50.00 for a short period (usually an hour or two). While, the malicious old men pay between GH¢15.00 to GH¢30.00 for a short period, saying the old men are easily to discharge hence the lower of their payment.

Additionally, the young men are also charged anything up to GH¢100.00 for a night sleep (usually known as long period). Abena disclosed that indeed none of her friends will go home with a client until it is about 10pm or 11pm and they must leave at their business centre by 5am. This she explained gives them a shorter working period.

They also added that they do not like repeating the act because they believe it sometimes leads to familiarity and the tendency for the client to ask for free sex. Abena added she got into the business because her mother could not pay for her school fees and other expenses which led her to drop-out from the school.

Her mother used to give her GH¢5 daily to fend on. Initially, her mother had to pay daily rent to the owner of the kiosk they lived in until her mother was able to construct hers which among others have aggravated her mother’s financial situation.

Indeed, life has not been smooth sailing for the family. She therefore though it prudent to engage in the ‘night life’ to make things easier for the family.

Abena points out that sometimes she makes over GH¢100.00 per night, but this not adequate to share with her mother and five siblings and also save part for rainy days. Also, she needs to keep her appearances beautifully to attract more customers.

Her hope was to be able to save some money and start a table top shop business to help complement her mother’s effort, but it looks like that is becoming a mirage. She is hoping that she would be able to manage things and start a something afresh to eke out a living.

There are thousands of Abenas in major cities of the country, especially Accra and Kumasi. Indeed, it is important to note that many ‘havens’ have sprung up across the country for the likes of them. It is in these ‘havens’ that men who are interested in having carnal knowledge of young girls go and satisfy their sexual ravenousness.

In Kumasi, the second largest town of Ghana, the most populous location for this barbarous act is the Race Course where thousands of young ‘displaced’ girls have been enticed to go in the evenings to engage in multiple sex with just about any man who comes around and pays the prescribed fee area which sometimes can be as low as GH¢10.00 per one short sex act.

Another area in the Kumasi metropolis, which has become home for this obnoxious activity is the Roman Hill area, where young girls start training for eventual practice in Accra.

In Accra, the central point of this ungodly sexual activity starts from Circle, Adabraka, Madina and some hotels in Tabora . To add up, most hotels and guest houses in Accra have ‘ladies’ for guests on demand.

Interestingly, in all these locations either in Accra or Kumasi and other parts of the country, one finds these very young girls aged 11 years up to 17 years plying the trade under the control of older men who act as their pimps.

Men who patronize these ‘baby girls’ do not have any reason for having sex with them except that some of the men claimed that the ‘baby girls’ are more ‘succulent,’ whatever that means, and in other African countries like South Africa, Nigeria and others the men claimed that these baby girls, especially those who are virgins have not been infected with any Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), notably the HIV/AIDS virus and others. They also claimed that older women have been overused, a stupid assertion to make.

Considering the state of cleanliness of the rooms or shacks in which these young girls operate, one begins to wonder what the regulatory bodies like the Ghana Tourism Authority, Ghana Police Service, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies are really regulating the tourism and accommodation industry of the country.

The law has given the Ghana Tourism Authority the absolute authority to regulate the accommodation business with the support of the respective assemblies and you will wonder whether it worth it.

It is important to stress that prostitution of any kind is illegal in Ghana. If any female is found to be practicing the “thigh trade” she will be dealt with severely.

The media has reported several arrests of prostitutes by the personnel of the Ghana Police Service but nothing punitive comes out of those cases to deter others from engaging in prostitution.
Ghana is gradually attracting the attention of the world traveler and many of them come to this country for different purposes especially depending on which country the visitor comes from.

Most people will choose a destination to satisfy a peculiar interest like the Disporan brother or sister who will want a little of the history of the inhuman Slave Trade and perhaps get an insight into the living structure of the Ghanaian extended family settings. Other too would like to take advantage of social laxity to trade in sex.

Though foreign participation is not yet large it is just a matter of time that the foreign visitors will start thronging those places in their numbers and the effect will be more young girls joining the fray.

Child prostitution is a frightening reality and UNESCO indicates that “all forms of sexual exploitation are incompatible with human dignity, and therefore violates fundamental human rights, regardless of the age, gender, race, ethnicity or class of the victim”.

Most sex workers feel frustrated and worthless because there do not seem to be any prospects for a ‘retirement benefit’, though this is now true of many workers in the Third World because of poor economic planning and management by our governments.
In fact, research results show that where this practice is common and encouraged because of the money it brings, any financial profit it produces is inevitably annulled by the problems it generates for the individual or the family.
In order to escape the ‘pitfalls’ of this barbarous crime, the government should revive its social mitigating programmes to ensure that they are more meaningful and beneficial.

The country needs huge investments in housing, reduced cost of medical care and quality education. Funds supposedly set aside for job creating opportunities should be implemented in a way loans given out should be recoverable.

Most of these girls have been forced to either drop out of school or probably not go to school at all because of the inability of their parents to take care of them. It means the base line is poverty.

We as a nation need to take decision that will help ameliorate the effects of poverty on the people. Ghana is a country which bounds in so many natural resources that are needed elsewhere in this world to turn things around. We are also fortunate to have some amount of infrastructure for processing some of these resources into finished products.

However, the people of this country hardly enjoy the benefits of their God-given resources simply because of the inability or absolute failure of present and past governments to take bold and implementing decisions that will ensure that the country grows industrially.

By Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, African Eye Report


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