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General News of Friday, 18 October 2013

Source: The Weekend Finder

Legalise sex trade – Prostitutes begs Mahama

Prostitutes in the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Area (STMA) in the Western Region have urged President John Dramani Mahama to legalize the sex business.

The prostitutes, who are from various parts of the country and operating in the oil city, are also advocating the introduction of a national policy to legally back their trade.

Furthermore, they want President Mahama to play a leading role in the formation of an Economic Community of West African Prostitutes (ECOWAP).

Weekend Finder has gathered that there are three different categories of commercial sex workers operating in the oil city.

The first is the 'Moderate' group made up of mainly trafficked girls, migrants and minors who have been introduced to the business by their guardians.

These people are either from local fishing and farming communities in Ghana or migrants from countries in the West African sub-region such as Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Togo, Burkina Faso and Mali.

The second group is known as the 'Super Divers', made up of high class ladies who are interested in only expatriates and they target tourists.

The last group is called the 'Smart Ladies' made up mainly of middle class ladies who deal with all kinds of clients. Their charge is GHC50 for 'short time' and GHC100 for 'long time' and for them to stay the night with the client, they are open to negotiations.

Demanding money before speaking to Weekend Finder in separate interviews last weekend during their business hours, the prostitutes explained that they want major trans-formational policies to be introduced by the government to streamline their activities and make their business attractive and sustainable.

Ms. Mary Amponsah, who first made the request on behalf of her colleagues, explained that even though there are dangers associated with the trade in which one woman sleeps with many men, they are in it because of joblessness.

She called on the government to address the insecurity associated with the trade such as abuse by recalcitrant clients and the various security forces.

Also, she called for the licensing of all prostitutes in the country for easy identification and taxation.

Hostel facilities and other housing projects could be provided by government to address the accommodation problems most of them are currently facing, as that has made them depend on hotels where they pay exorbitant amounts, she said.

"If we are registered, they can check on us, monitor our steps, and conduct medical review of all members from time to time, so that in the end, they can tax all of us to improve revenue generation in the country. In addition, they can educate us on sexually transmitted diseases, but at the moment, nothing of that nature is happening and that is not good," she said.

Ms. Amponsah, who is in her late thirties and a single mother belonging to the Smart Ladies group, said she and many others in the trade hope to marry someday, adding that presently they want to maximize the gains in the business and also build other businesses.

"For instance, I have a cold store in Accra that I run, but I still need money to keep it in good shape, so what I am doing right now is to get enough money to support the business. I also want to help my brothers and sisters who are in school to continue with their education. This is because I had to drop out due to severe poverty and other financial challenges that my parents could not handle. Besides, through this business, I single-handedly managed my late mothers' funeral without any support from any family member," she told the Weekend Finder.

Another prostitute, Ms. Veronica Abban, who is one of the Moderates, said she left school after Junior High School, claiming that she was introduced to the trade by her friend.

"Though I was introduced to the job by my friend out of ignorance, I can confidently say today that I have benefited from the sex trade because I have been able to take care of myself without having to depend on any family member. In fact, I have suffered so much in life.

I remember selling all kinds of things just to survive, and yet I couldn't deal with the challenges that were coming, until I was introduced to this job."

Ms. Effia Alhassan, one of the Super Divers, who only deals with expatriate workers, said she joined the trade out of the broken heart she experienced.

"I was dating a military officer; sponsored him and when he graduated and became an officer, he dumped me. In fact, I had a broken heart, and decided I will never have anything to do with a black man. Currently, I sell my body to only expatriates, and that is what is keeping me in business. I don't deal with blacks, because I have come to realise how disappointing black guys can be, so I am careful with my trading activities," she said.

Currently, more than 60 prostitutes are operating in the oil city.

Their ports of call are mostly joints like The Champs, Last Hours Beach, Africa Beach Hotel, Zenith Hotel, Vienna City, KQ Lunch Box and Face 7.

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