12.04.2005 General News

Legalisation of Prostitution not the solution - Minister

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Accra, April 12, GNA - Hajia Alima Mahama, Minister of Women and Children's Affairs (MOWAC), on Tuesday said legalizing prostitution was not the solution to facilitating activities of organizations working with commercial sex workers.

She said instead of legalisation, the women should rather be trained in employable skills, be provided with credit facilities to start businesses, supported to continue their education, assisted in job placement and also given the moral support to quit prostitution. Hajia Mahama, was speaking at the Stakeholders Workshop organized by the Ministry to discussed proposed interventions and sectoral activities that relate to gender with a view to identifying areas of collaboration and monitoring mechanisms, and make inputs to assist the Ministry to prepare a three-year strategic plan for women.

She said sex work was gaining grounds among women and the young ladies in the country, especially in the urban cities due to poverty and low skills among them.

The Minister, therefore, stressed the need to enhance broad-based improvement in the condition of all women through their empowerment, make significant progress towards the reduction of poverty to enhance their resources and increase opportunities for sustained income generation for them.

Hajia Mahama announced that the Ministry of Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative had been directed to set up a desk to address issues relating to the informal sector, including training in entrepreneurial skills and Information and Communication Technology, which would enhance opportunities of women in both the informal and the formal sectors.

She commended the Country's development partners, nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations for their interventions in empowering women with technical, entrepreneurial and financial support to enable them to play more active roles in the socio-politico-economic development of the Country.

Mrs Francesca Pobee-Hayford, Acting Executive Director of MOWAC, mentioned Private Sector Development, Human Resource Development and Good Governance as the lists of proposed interventions reached at the last meeting with stakeholders at Dodowa last two weeks.

She said as part of the private sector development, it was proposed to continue to support economic activities of women through disbursements of credit and also work with micro level operators to grow their businesses to small and medium enterprises and industries through collaboration with other Ministries.

"We will also support the provision of equipment for agro-processing, dressmaking, pottery, guinea fowl rearing and liaise with banks to set up special lending windows for women, among other things."

Under good governance, the Ministry would put in mechanisms, to enhance the status of marginalized groups through education and training, and intensified advocacy towards the elimination of discriminatory practices against such groups, she said. Mrs Pobee-Hayford said the last intervention would seek to build and strengthen capacity for staff of MOWAC and its Departments and establish business support unit to provide services to women. Mrs Cecilia Dapaah, Deputy Minister of MOWAC, urged the public to send suggestions and proposals to the Ministry to support in achieving its goals.

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