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Regional News of Saturday, 18 January 2014

Source: myjoyonline.com

Forced into prostitution at 16; 18-year-old tells her story

An 18-year-old girl forced into prostitution by the strangling economic circumstances is urgently calling for assistance to come out of the trade.

The girl, whose identity will not be disclosed, said on Joy FM's Ghana Connect programme Friday that she was forced into the practice at age 16 after her mother, her only caretaker, fell ill.

Abandoned by family members and family friends, the little girl took to selling her body in a desperate attempt to raise money for her education at the SHS level and to take care of her sick mother.

She said she slept with three men, sometimes four men, who many times did not give her the monies she bargained for.

"At the age of 16, I started all this business. Sleeping with different men, it's not easy. Because of my books."

Incidentally she was not alone in the trade. Girls of her age were in the business too.

"Some people will take us to a hotel, beat us. Three guys can have sex with us without paying us. They will use us as they like. At times, they will take us to the forest and do what they like to us," she narrated.

Despite the horror and stigma that come with the trade, the 18-year-old insists she is unable to stop because it is the only source of income for her sustenance.

Her mother, whose ailment drove her into the trade died. She eventually had to drop out of school because the money was not enough to cater for her expenses.

Panelists on Ghana Connect could not but sympathize with the story of the young girl. A child rights activist Bright Appiah said the victim's story is only a tip of a bigger problem. He called for a support system that will be responsible for the vulnerable in the society.

A parent who had two daughters, described the girl's story as "pathetic". She said the society must take collective responsibility for the situation.

A blogger, Naa Oyo said girls must begin to look at other innovative ways of making extra money. As students, they could write notes for their colleagues and charge them for it, or wash clothing for residents close by and take money.

Listeners touched by the story of the victim pledged monies to help alleviate the condition of the victim.

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