A Senior Lecturer of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Cape Coast(UCC), Dr. Georgina Oduro has revealed that a recent research conducted by her department observed that nine-year-old children and even younger children in the Central Region are engaged in child prostitution, MyNewsGh.com’s Asana Gordon has filed.According to her, in an interview with a section of the children, they said they were introduced to the “world’s oldest profession” by their peers, sisters and also as a general trend they followed.
Also, they indicated that their parents cannot afford their needs and as such shirk their responsibility, hence, their involvement in such practice.
According to the Senior Lecturer in reference to the research, she asked them the type of men they are mingling and the reply shocked her:
“As for men, when it comes to sex they don’t mind whether you are a child or an adult but it’s all about their enjoyment”.
Dr. Oduro who doubles as Advocacy Coordinator for Centre for Gender Research Advocacy and Documentation of UCC made this hint at the needs assessment meeting with adolescent on child marriage, teenage pregnancy and SGBV towards the development of community guidelines to address child marriage among others organized by the Central Regional Department of Gender.
The assessment meeting which was funded by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) attracted students in basic schools and second cycle schools in the Central Region with the aim to educate them about the risk involved in the child marriage.
Dr. Oduro who spoke on topic: The Implications of Child Prostitution and Child Marriage on the development of the Girl Child”, charged the children not to take advantage of poverty or lack of parental care and get themselves into bad habits.
On her part, the Central Regional Director of Department of Gender, Mrs. Thywill Eyra Kpe mentioned that Central Region recorded the second highest increase of 8.3% in child marriage from 22.2% in 2006 to 31.2% in 2011 among the 10 regions.
According to her, data collected from 5,112 pregnant teenagers in the Central Region by the Ghana Health Service(GHS) between July and December 2016 also indicated that 23.8% of the girls aged 13 to 19 were cohabiting while 5.3% were married.
Mrs. Eyra Kpe stated that teenage pregnancy and defilement have been identified as a major driver of child marriage by both adults and children.
This consequently, she explained has enormous effects on the progress of girls from basic to Senior High School and the tertiary levels of education.
According to her, recent monitoring visit conducted by the Department of Gender in some of the 2017 Mentorship and Girls Empowerment Summit participating schools, indicated that although these girls are doing marvelous exploits in their school and communities, parental and community leadership support to overcome challenges of child marriage and teenage pregnancy has remained a huge barrier.