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General News of Monday, 11 December 2006

Source: Gye Nyame Concord

‘Fa wo to begye sika’ syndrome rises

*Study reveals troubling link between poverty and homosexual exploitation of Ghanaian children *Tourists most guilty culprits

A NEW study has revealed disturbing trends of homosexual violations of male children and given credence to suggestions that a number of Ghanaian youth are lured to the practice of homosexuality through exploitation of their monetary needs.

The study, conducted by a not-for-profit organisation, Save The Children, revealed alarming cases of sexual exploitation of male kids, with almost 56 percent of children -186 out of 300 - interviewed across the country confessing that they have been sexually exploited or involved in homosexuality for money.

Others also revealed that they have been forced into the practice by elderly persons.

The research, yet to be published, shows that child homosexuality is predominant in most coastal areas of the country and is especially widespread at Osu and La, all coastal areas in the national capital.

Speaking to GYE NYAME CONCORD, the Research Coordinator, Mr. Edmond Aquaye, disclosed that most children interviewed confessed that they were sexually abused by tourists who had anal sex with them and paid huge sums of money after the act as compensation.

He said the research established that children, who fall victim to the act of sodomy, were most vulnerable to economic and social upheavals, extreme poverty and depravation.

The same research undertaken last year recorded very insignificant numbers in the cases of homosexual violation of children compared to the latest study, which according to Aquaye shows a threefold increase in the number of cases recorded.

According to Aquaye, the latest findings must wake all agencies involved in the welfare of children to find solutions to the problem.

The Research Coordinator regretted that most of the abused children stand a high risk of acquiring all forms of sexually transmitted diseases, including the deadly HIV\AIDS.

He said abuse and exploitation of children in the private and public spheres for economic, sexual and other reasons have been identified as a major drawback in the country’s quest to protect its children.

There is therefore the need for legislation to be passed in all urgency to strengthen the legislative framework for dealing with perpetrators and to mandate relevant institutions to perform definite tasks for protecting, recovering and rehabilitating children.

The study made recommendations on the need for collaboration between the Immigration, Police and hospitality industry to help identify tourists bent on exploiting children for their sexual needs. It also called for the need to commit necessary resources and time to strengthen institutions of state responsible for promoting and protecting the rights and welfare of children.

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