Tension Hits Soja Bar
1/23/2008 12:16:20 PM -
'SOLDIER BAR', an Accra-based popular brothel has suddenly become a ghost town, two days after it was raided by armed policemen and 160 prostitutes arrested.
The notorious Accra brothel at Kwame Nkrumah Circle was raided by policemen last Saturday night when business was at its peak for the mostly child prostitutes who ply their trade in ramshackle makeshifts.
At around 11:00am yesterday when DAILY GUIDE visited the area, there was virtually no sign of human activity, and though a few of the child sex workers who were earlier arrested had managed to return, a tensed feeling of fear and uncertainty had enveloped the entire vicinity. The hitherto vibrant and noisy sex den which was always burning with one activity or the other had been left almost deserted.
Some of the returnee teen sex workers were seen murmuring among themselves in small groups as they narrated their ordeal.
They openly insulted and heaped curses on the police and journalists who smoked them from their hideouts.
One common thing they all complained of was the fact that the raid was conducted on a Saturday night when business was at its peak.
Though some of them were jubilating, apparently because they had returned to 'business', it was clear that the aura of security around them was visibly absent.
The doors to the bars were locked but the brothel rooms were open, albeit with no customer around. A few drinking bars around the brothel were however operating normal business.
DAILY GUIDE, in a quest to get more information, picked up a chat with the child prostitutes. Some of them noted that when they were arrested and sent to the Madina Social Welfare Centre, they never anticipated that they would be released so soon.
Others openly made mockery of the police, and bragged that no one could get them out of business.
The sex workers alleged that some of them could not find all the money they had earned on Friday and Saturday before the police team stormed the place.
They then started to drift toward their rooms and the conversation ended. Later in the day, this paper revisited the sex joint with a photojournalist to take pictures of the outside view of the place, and it was noticed that the tension had intensified. The few sex workers who were around as well as their pimps became suspicious and started to trail the movement of the two journalists.
For about 20 minutes, the picture could not be taken and the journalists had to fake phone calls and speak as if they were waiting for a friend.
During the wait, some of the pimps were seen reading a copy of DAILY GUIDE which had carried the story of the raid. One of the teen prostitutes was heard complaining to a bus conductor who was calling on passengers to board a commercial vehicle nearby.
Speaking in Twi, she expressed surprise that the press had carried the story, and complained that business would no longer be brisk for them. She added that the police and the media were unnecessarily making life difficult for them.
She blamed their ordeal on colleague prostitutes who have 'okro' mouths, and gave out too much information to outsiders.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that not all the escaped sex workers had returned to the brothel, and the whereabouts of some of them remained unknown, even though reports indicate that the police had set them free.
Meanwhile, the investigative journalist whose undercover work as a pimp at the 'Soldier Bar' led to the raid, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has expressed strong misgivings that the sex workers had been released.
'I do not blame the police because they had done their part and sent the girls to the Social Welfare Centre. Before that there had been several meetings and the agreement was that once the raid had been conducted, the Social Welfare people would take the girls through rehabilitation. Clearly, that had not been done and the girls have been released so it is most likely that after some time, they would start selling their bodies again especially when they have not been given any means of livelihood,' he told this paper.
He suggested that the entire structure at the sex base should be pulled down to prevent the girls from operating there.
'After all, they are wooden structures and since an illegality is going on there, the state should have no problems pulling it down.
'I am very disappointed that the girls were released and the owner of the brothel is still around and has not been prosecuted,' Anas added.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo