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28.03.2005 Regional News

Youth activist advocates legalisation of prostitution

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Kumasi, March 28, GNA - Odeneho Kwaku Appiah, immediate past president of Youth in Action, an embodiment of youth groups, has advocated the legalisation of prostitution to check the spread of HIV/AIDS and the increasing number of prostitutes.

He said it would also facilitate the chances of the state apparatus to easily identify, monitor and control activities of prostitutes. Odeneho Appiah made the proposal when he spoke on the topic: "Future Leaders and HIV/AIDS" at a forum held in Kumasi on Sunday by the New Amakom Peace Club for its members.

He said such legalisation should involve issuing of licenses to potential prostitutes, identification of their areas of operation and conditions that would make them available for medical examination regularly as well as taxing them on their incomes.

He stressed: "All the efforts of the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC) and the various NGOs at reducing the menace of the HIV/AIDS will come to nought if prostitution is not legalised and continues to be a clandestine trade".

Odeneho Appiah noted that prostitution was an age-long trade whose practice had been acknowledged by some religious faiths thereby making its eradication a very difficult task.

He expressed regret that the absence of a legislation backing the practice had paved way for all manner of people to take to it, posing health risks to unsuspecting clients.

Odeneho Appiah advised the GAC and organisations engaged in HIV/AIDS awareness creation not to focus their programmes mainly on prostitutes operating from identifiable premises like Adum in Kumasi. He said their focus should rather be on those who operated from the streets, hotels and their private residences because they posed a greater danger to the spread of the HIV/AIDS than those who were found in groups and at known locations.

Mr Bernard Ofori, secretary of the club, called on social clubs, youth groups and associations to use their various platforms to enlighten their membership more on the dangers of HIV/AIDS. He said this was crucial since it was only when they were healthy that they could contribute more positively to progress of their clubs and national development programmes.

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