Child Sex Market in Ghana-A cruel Crime
Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh,
Accra, Jan 22, Ghanadot - 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 2004 to entertainment
spots around Adabraka and Circle vicinities at that tender
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
Abena says 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
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 says she 'charges' depending on
the appearance and personality of the client.
The young men are charged anything ranging between GH¢2.00
to GH¢5.00 for a short period (usually an hour or two).
While, the malicious old men pay between GH¢1.50.00 to GH¢3.00
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¢20.00 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 explains
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 says
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
GHP30.00 (¢3,000.00 old Ghana cedis) 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's prudent to engage in the 'night life'
to make things easier for the family. Abena points out that
sometimes she make about 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 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¢2.00 per one short
Another area in the Kumasi metropolis, which has become
this obnoxious activity is the Roman Hill
area, where young girls
start training for eventual practice in
In Accra, the central point is a brothel located at Circle,
just behind the Airport taxi rank. It is called "Soja Bar".
Initially it was one location ranby a man who claimed to
be an ex-soldier and his wife. However, a split occurred
and the woman quickly set out her own joint for the same
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.
who patronize these 'baby girls' do not have any reason for
having sex with them except that some of the Ghanaian 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 Tourist Board,
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 Tourist Board the absolute authority to regulate the
accommodation business with the support of the respective
assemblies and you will wonder whether it worth it.
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
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
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
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
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.