I am yet to come to terms with a story I read in the Monday edition of the Daily Guide newspaper. The report was about nude pictures of girls at Tamale aged between 18 and 25 made into albums with their phone numbers left at hotels for clients to contact them for sex!
Of course, prostitution is no longer news for the fact that whether we like it or not, it is being practiced the world over. I have even heard people calling for the legalization of the practice in Ghana. The issue therefore comes as no news to many citizens of our country. I am however surprised that instead of the practice dwindling, it is moving to a higher level.
There are several issues that lead people into this practice. First and foremost, one would like to look at unemployment. Many women go into prostitution in order to earn a living. The Bible refers to our bodies as the temple of God which must not be defiled. Yet due to poverty and unemployment, many of these women are compelled to 'use what they have to get what they need'.
Another factor is broken homes and or lack of parental control. When you take the age of some of the girls involved in this kind of work into consideration, one would realize it's only a girl from a broken home or one who lacks parental control that will get involved in something like that at that age. Couples who separate without taking their children into consideration compel many of these children to become loose like animals on free range.
Some ladies simply have what I refer to as 'big eyes'. These are the ones who are never satisfied with what they have. They want to buy expensive bags, shoes, jewellery, drive big cars, wear long expensive wigs and nails and live like queens. They want to buy every new thing on the market and therefore don't care what they do to achieve that. There is yet a category of girls or ladies, especially from the tertiary institutions, who get involved in the practice due peer pressure. There are even some who see the practice as fashion.
There are other ladies who practice what I call 'silent prostitution'. This category of ladies is those who have multiple sexual partners but would not accept that they are practicing prostitution because they do not stand by the road side to engage in the trade. What then do we call one who cannot and will not keep a single sexual partner at a time?
There is something important that we often overlook whenever the issue about prostitution is raised. The practice does not only involve women! It is the men who patronize their services that make the issue worse. What is worse about this is the fact that a large percentage of the men involved are the 'big men' majority of whom have wives and children at home. Why go and sleep with a 'whore' when you have a wife at home ready to satisfy you? Only those involved can answer this question. I want to plead with the men especially the married ones to stick to their wives. The unmarried ones must also keep a single sexual partner.
There are several effects of this practice which must not be overlooked. Many of those who patronize the services of these prostitutes prefer to have unprotected sex with them. We must therefore not forget the issue about sexually transmitted diseases that are roaming about looking for people to embrace. I have heard people justifying and comparing the situation to what is happening in western countries. What we however forget is that those countries provide periodic check-ups and vaccines to prostitutes. The situation is not the same around here. The practice therefore puts both the man and the woman at risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia and even the deadly HIV AIDS, just to mention a few. The disease is sometimes transferred unto innocent people in our society.
Furthermore, some of the ladies get pregnant due to unprotected sex and the result is abortion. Since some of them have no means of aborting the pregnancy, they wait and deliver only to dumb the innocent babies in bushes and even public latrines then move on with the practice.
Also, if the issue is not dealt with now and it gets out of hand, it will get to a point when our youth will prefer getting into the profession to getting more dignified and decent jobs since it is becoming more lucrative now. What then is the future of a country whose youth prefer prostitution to other employments?
I know if we want to go deep into this issue, human rights activists will come out to defend them. The situation however goes beyond human rights issues. We have to look at the moral and health aspects of this practice. I don't think any religious body will come out to endorse this practice or profession as it is referred to.
Ghana is largely seen as a Religious country made up of mainly Christians and Moslems. None of these religions endorse prostitution. I therefore suggest strongly that religious bodies take up the issue to preach to the conscience of all those involved. Parents and families must make it a point to guide and bring up their children on the path of righteousness. Couples must always go the extra mile to keep their marriages in place to secure the future of their children.
The Tourism Ministry and the Hospitality sector must also put measures in place to check Hotels and Brothels that keep nude pictures and telephone numbers of ladies for their customers in order to take commission. Appropriate sanctions must be put in place for perpetrators since the act does not speak well of us as a religious country.
The government must also put in more effort to do away with the unemployment canker. There are many people especially the youth who are unemployed not because they do not want to work but due to employment unavailability. The government must therefore create more employment avenues to meet the demand in the country.
I also appeal to the Ministries of Health and Women and Children's Affairs to collaborate with each other to put measures in place to provide periodic medical check-ups for them as well as provide free sexual health lessons for them. This should be the last resort if all other efforts to rid our country of the practice fail.
I hope and believe everyone will come on board to play a role in solving the situation. If we are able to do this, our country is sure to have a brighter future full of hope. MAY GOD HELP OUR HOMELAND GHANA.