A research conducted by Dr Georgina Oduro, a Senior Lecture at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Cape Coast (UCC) has revealed a worrying trend of a high prevalence of child prostitution in Ghana.
The research, which was undertaken to assess the phenomenon of child prostitution in the country, indicated that children between the ages of 11 and 17 years were involved in the act.
Some of the children, according to the findings of the research, entered the illegal trade of selling their body through self-initiation, friends and family members to raise revenue to start a trade
Speaking during a dissemination seminar, Dr Oduro expressed worry about the increasing rate of child prostitution in the country and called for the adoption of a multi-sectoral approach in addressing the issue.
The seminar, held under the auspices of the Centre for Gender Research, Advocacy and Documentation (CEGRAD) of the University of Cape Coast (UCC) was on the theme “Gold between my thighs: Examination of Child Prostitution in a Ghanaian Metropolis”
Dr Oduro explained that the issue was a socio-cultural one that needed to be addressed in a holistic manner and called for the intensification and promotion of sex education on the menace
Dr Oduro mentioned the driving factors of child prostitution such as poverty, poor parenting and peer pressure.
“In some families, they allow the children to be sleeping out and this causes the children to engage in prostitution” she stated and underscored how festivals and funerals contributed to the promotion of child prostitution in the country.
Some of the girls recounted some harrowing experiences they sometimes encounter to the research team, revealing that some people in some instances attempted to use them for rituals.
Dr Evans Ekanem, Director of the UCC Health Services highlighted the health consequences of child prostitution to include the risk of contracting cervical cancer, unwanted pregnancy and it related complications and sexually transmitted diseases.
Others included substance abuse, mental complications, psychological harm and high risk of suicide and proposed for the information on access to contraceptive such as condom to be made available to such girls.