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General News of Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Source: Kent Mensah, The Child Alert

Topless Ghanaian Teens on Postcards

…Ghana Post Serves as Sales Point
Nude pictures of unsuspecting Ghanaian teens are being used on the covers of some postcards selling in the country.

Painstaking investigations by The Child Alert(CA) have uncovered a group from Benin and some whites as those behind this illegal business.

The postcards, CA learnt, are not only selling as hot cakes in Ghana, but have a booming market outside.

CA's investigations revealed that most of the sexually explicit scenes involving the children and teenagers were taken in the northern parts of Ghana and some parts of the Volta region.

The poor and innocent teens are deceived to expose their breast down to their waistlines whiles others are made to expose their full back at beaches for photo sessions.

Our investigations had it that the clique behind the postcard production comes to Ghana intermittently as tourists and liaises with some Ghanaian adult agents.

The agents lure these innocent teens with sweet promises such as travelling abroad for such unusual pictures and pay them pittance after.

To our surprise, a state institution, the Ghana Post Office (GPO), serves as the conduit of sales for these nude postcards.

CA grabbed two copies of these postcards at the Kaneshie Post Office's postcards stand, going for GHp40 (¢4,000) each.

The Nkrumah Circle branch of Ghana Post, which is sharing same premises with Gt, had run out of stock as at the time this reporter got there last week Tuesday.

All efforts to get in touch with the Managing Director of GPO, Mr Dua Adonteng, to explain why his institution is engaged in such lustful business were unsuccessful.

Most often, the excuse given us on phone was that he was in the middle of meetings and would get back to us.

Meanwhile, a source had hinted CA that the printers and publishers of the postcards, HPS, lace their illicit act with beautiful scenes of Ghana on other postcards to cover up their nefarious activities.

The pictures of the postcards with the inscription - Colours of Ghana Going to the Market and Visage of Northern Ghana - were taken by one Emile Hazoume and Lionel H and that all electronic mails sent to them to get their side of the story have not been replied.

However, officials of the Ghana Tourist Board (GTB) have condemned the business.

A Public Relations Officer at the GTB head office at Tesano, Mr Jones Nelson, disclosed that his outfit warned HPS to refrain from such business since last year and was shocked to see the nude postcards still in circulation.

He said the GTB cannot help now because their Legislative Instruments (Laws) restrict them to operate strictly in the hospitality confines. These include hotels, guesthouses, restaurants, and beaches among others.

Mr Nelson said: "This is a social issue and it's the police that should handle it."

Meanwhile, Code 8 of the GTB's Tourist Behaviour brochure states "Avoid taking pictures of nude people, children or adults, or people in ragged apparels..."

But the code does not ascribe any form of punishment for culprits.

A magistrate, who wants to remain anonymous, frowned on the activities of HPS. "It's illegal to use pictures of children and people under age for commercial activities. It's against their human rights. It's against the Children's Act 560."

A Children's Rights Activist, Mr Bright Kweku Appiah of Children's Rights International, described it as an indictment on the dignity of children, saying that "children must be respected and their integrity must be preserved because they are the future".

He condemned the brains behind the act and called on the security agencies to call the management of Ghana Post to refrain from this behaviour.

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