There is overwhelming evidence to prove that religion has failed in Ghana to a very large extent to curb prostitution in particular. It must be explained that all religions frowns on prostitution and therefore have very stringent provisions in terms of punishment for sex related crimes.
For instance Islam preaches lashes and in some cases stoning to death of persons caught in sex related crimes. This is widely practice in Islamic countries were the shariah is the common law. However, in recent times there seem to be a conflict between human rights and the shariah law. No wonder recently a woman in Iran who was to be stoned to death for adultery was spared in the last minute.
In Ghana all the religious bodies are preaching aggressively against sexual immorality in all shape and form. The sad news however is that, some of the very religious persons whose duty it is to preach about these issues are in some cases worst than what they are preaching against.
The case of “Jesus One Touch” the pastor who was alleged to have repeatedly raped his own teenage daughter is a classical example of how religion has failed in this direction. Instances of Pastors fondling the breasts of members of their church and even inserting their fingers in their womanhood abound in Ghana.
Since morality is facing crisis in Ghana including prostitution I did like to propose that the state much take up the battle against prostitution in particular. Though prostitution is currently not legalized in Ghana, the services of prostitutes are everywhere. There are prostitutes in all the 10 regions of Ghana operating according to their own terms.
The truth is that, there is no way Ghana in particular can end prostitution if we pretend about its existence and its danger to us. We can only continue to pretend about it at the peril of our lives. That will continue to expose innocent persons to avoidable danger.
My view is that prostitution must be legalized in Ghana. The State must put a framework in place to achieve this. The framework could include who qualifies to practice prostitution in Ghana in terms of age and health state. A mandatory HIV/ AIDS test including weekly or monthly health certificates to continue to practice as prostitutes, Provision of sex education for the prostitutes weekly or monthly among other requirements including how, where and when it can be practice.
Mind you, I am NEVER proposing that, prostitution should be legalized in our Churches, Mosques, workplaces, Schools, Market places etc. All I am proposing is that, it should be legalized and regularized to make the society very safe. This is something that already exists and has large patronage. Doctors, Parliamentarians, Religious persons, politicians, and students, Civil and Public Servants, Journalists etc either patronize the services of prostitutes or even engage in it.
The question to ask is, if prostitution exists in informal form and has informal clients operating “by heart” why not legalize it so that it could be monitored and regularized for the safety of the society? I think it should be legalized for the following reasons:
Firstly its legalization would minimize if not eliminate defilement and rape cases in the country. Case studies of some rapists have it that, they got involved in those heinous crimes because they are usually on “heat” and do not know where to go for the services of a prostitute at the said time. If rapist have where to go and have sex in a regularized form with an accredited prostitute our teenagers who are usually their victims could be spared.
Secondly unwanted pregnancies could be avoided. Some of our ladies engaged in informal prostitution have little or no knowledge about safe sex. It is my view that, if prostitution is legalized and prostitutes are made to attend mandatory safe sex education as a term of their prostitution licenses it could help minimize some of these avoidable pregnancies.
Thirdly, in the face of the high unemployment in Ghana- legalization of prostitution would serve us source of employment and income for the prostitutes and even the government; as tax would be taken from these accredited prostitutes and used in other sectors of the society.
Fourthly, HIV/AIDS will minimize in the country as a result of the aggressive sex education that these prostitutes would be entitled to. Other sexually transmitted diseases would minimize if not eliminated completely. When this is achieved the huge sums of money usually used on HIV/AIDS campaigns could then be use in other sectors of the economy.
It is believed that, homosexualism and lesbianism could reduce with the legalization of prostitution. There is evidence to prove that some persons gets themselves involved in these acts because by their nature they can not court women or men for sex and therefore choose those practices as alternatives to satisfy their sexual instincts.
Another reason why prostitution should be legalized is that, when the number of prostitutes is known it will help in National planning and development. There is no denying the fact the advantages that Ghana can accrue knowing the number of its formal prostitutes in the country will be available with its legalization.
Validation of prostitution can also lead to tourism and investment. There are business men who will be willing to locate their businesses to a place which is nearer to safe sex- especially those in the hospitality industries.
In Germany, Holland, and other countries prostitution is legalized and I don't know whether it accounts for the low cases of defilement and rapes in those countries. At least I know in those countries Virgins publicly auctions their virginity for money to either attend Universities or take care of their poor families. Anybody who doubts this should go to www.google.com and type in Virginity for auction!
While the state should be encouraged to do this, our religious leaders can continue to preach against all the sex crimes. I know this is a very complex topic-asking for the legalization of an issue that all religions preach against is not an easy call. The question however is that, should prostitution be legalized, regularized and monitored for the good of society, or society should continue to pretend that it is non-existent while its vagaries consumes our love ones and the society? I rest my case.
AKILU SAYIBU, UK EMAIL: [email protected]
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