Feature Article of Thursday, 19 April 2012
Columnist: Abdul-Razak, Yakubu
THE LETER TO THOSE THAT MATTER FOR THOSE THAT MATTER: My Vision Of A Free Or Reduced Sex Offence Nation (THE SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRY)
In fighting against violent crimes against women and children, as well as the sexual exploitation of men, women, and children, a sex offender registry is a valuable and necessary resource that Ghana is currently lacking. A registry that includes the names, Age, location, work place, current residence, nature of past convictions, physical description, and photograph of all people who are sex offenders, and those who purchase sex. This would make communities across Ghana aware of dangers in their area, and will dissuade sex offenders from making repeat offenses.
In a study conducted by researchers by Prostitution Research and Education, sex buyers and non-sex buyers from Boston, Chicago, Scotland, and England were asked, “What would deter you from buying sex?” 91% of non-sex buyers in Boston, 88% of Boston sex buyers, 85% of England sex buyers, 92% of Chicago sex buyers, and 89% of Scotland sex buyers agreed that the number one deterrent would be being added to a sex offender registry. This response was ahead of others such as being advertised on a billboard or newspaper, time in prison, and greater criminal penalty (Farleyetal 37). If we want to lower instances of sex trafficking and prostitution in Ghana, then a sex offender registry is a necessary asset that must be created.
A registry would make sure that sex offenders wouldn’t be reintegrated unnoticed in society. It would ensure that concerned families would know when a sex offender moved into their area, and would enable people to look out for one another in keeping their communities, workplaces, schools, institution, homes, neighborhoods and villages safe. Employers would be able to use the registry when searching for new employees, schools could search it when looking to hire new teachers, and prominent figures of Ghanaian society would be exposed for their misdeeds. Local law enforcement will be more informed of their jurisdictions and will be better equipped to fight crime. In the United States, research has been done to suggest that as many as two thirds of inmates have returned to prison just a few years after their initial release (Prescott 2). This makes having law enforcement become aware of their jurisdiction even more important.
Ghana’s Foreign Missions/Embassy’s and the Ghana Immigration Service should consider as requirements aiming to further protect our country from foreign sex offenders such as pedophiles and sex tourist to properly check and work with their foreign counterparts who have the sex offenders registry in place, and in the event where the country in question does not have a sex offenders registry they should also require properly and certified criminal records of all visa applicants before they are issued with visas to enter into the country. This will not only protect our nation from sex offenders but will go a long way to enhance our internal security and promote peace and development in Ghana. We would also have succeeded in protecting the women and children who are mostly the target groups for all these sexual offences and safeguard the future of the children of Ghana.
Child Sex tourist, pedophiles, and mostly human trafficking rings take advantage of developing countries like Ghana which is aiming to booster its national income through tourism, by using its flexible immigration checks to slip through the country undetected. Whereas other sex offenders will disguise themselves as Aid workers and volunteers of all kinds in other to gain access to children in orphanages, schools in rural villages, theater and drama groups and other social places where they can easily prey on the target groups who are mostly children.
The registry should be given a consideration in Ghana and it will be a great honor to have the support of the following: Members of the public, Concern Parents ,National Youth Authority, Members or the Media, Local and International NGO’s ,Civil Society Groups, Government Agencies, Religious and Opinion leaders and our traditional authorities to help champion the creation of the sex offenders registry which will be an online website that will be available to all districts and national security agencies that can be accessible be all .
BY: YAKUBU ABDUL-RAZAK (Programs Director- Enslavement Prevention Alliance West Africa) EPAWA DATE: April 17, 2012