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28.10.2008 Social News

Alternative Livelihood For Sex Workers

By GNA -

THE Ministry of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC) is to assist prostitutes with alternative livelihoods.

This followed a Ghana News Agency publication which brought to light the willingness of some prostitutes in the Accra metropolis to quit the age-old “profession”.

Mr Valentine Kuuzume, Chief Director of MOWAC, said in an interview that four prostitutes  and their children who currently live with the Reverend Godson King Akpalu, General Overseer of the Goodnews Evangelical Mission International (GONEMI), the church which shared the word of God with them before they repented, would undergo counseling, assessment and, thereafter, be given some micro- credit to support their areas of interest.

He said other former drug addicts and armed robbers who were with the church would also be supported with loans to help them earn a decent living after going through counseling and assessment.

Mr Kuuzume commended the church for the initiative that complements government's efforts by helping make better people out of commercial sex workers and other social misfits, and expressed MOWAC's interest to work with the church.

He said the Ministry would organise a bigger forum where stakeholders would be invited to find a lasting solution to the problems of prostitution, among others.

The meeting which would be held in about a month, would have representatives from the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) and other women's rights protection agencies.

He said the request for a rehabilitation centre was a future project as the bigger forum would discuss it, but added that these came with their own challenges as some of the inmates could be stigmatised and discriminated against.

Mr Kuuzume appealed to GONEMI to collaborate with other churches, faith-based organisations and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to continue with the good work.

Earlier at a meeting with representatives of the church and the ministry, Rev. Akpalu said GONEMI has a special calling to reach out to people such as prostitutes, armed robbers and drug addicts to transform them to become useful beings to themselves and society.

He expressed regret that despite their efforts to go into the ghettos and “reach out to our unfortunate brothers and sisters, we do not have enough resources to accommodate and rehabilitate them”.

He said this militated against their efforts to bring them out totally from their past lives as most of them went back to the ghettos.

Rev. Akpalu, therefore, appealed to the Ministry to complement the church's effort by establishing a rehabilitation centre for them.  

The centre, he explained, would enable them to reach out to a large number of people who would be in constant touch with them.

He noted that only four out of the over 225 prostitutes who expressed their willingness to stop their trade during their mission week celebration were with the pastor, while the rest had gone back.