Friday, February 8, 2008

CHRAJ worried over child prostitution

CHRAJ worried over child prostitution

The Ghanaian Times, Friday, February 8, 2008. Page 3 (News)

By the Times Reporter

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), has called for a campaign to create awareness about challenges that lead children into prostitution. “Prostitution should not be imputed to economic necessity,” CHRAJ said in a statement signed by it’s acting Commissioner, Anna Bossman, yesterday, commenting on the recent arrest of suspected child prostitutes among 161 sex workers and their subsequent release from custody of the Social Welfare Department.

It called for an awareness creation campaign on the intractable challenges of poverty, exploitation and rights abuse facing these children, saying, “it is vital to enable the facilitation of a safer world for them.” The statement said the campaign must be undertaken with a sense of urgency and urged the government to step up the efforts through resource allocation, political action, increased co-operation and focused partnership with the law enforcement agencies, the media and civil society.

CHRAJ said it was difficult to assess the extent of child prostitution because that type of exploitation and abuse was usually hidden and most children felt too much guilt, shame and fear to seek help. It advised communities and families to be alert to these abuses and to expose them when they occur to save children from needless stigmatisation and psychological trauma.

CHRAJ further called on agencies such as the police, prosecutors and public service and the general public to seek the well-being of children in areas of health, education, protection from abuses and violence and in combating HIV/AIDS. It described escape of the children from the care of the Social Welfare Department saying it was “a critical setback since it created more opportunities for these children to be continually abused.”

On January 19, 60 minors were among the 161 sex workers arrested in a raid on a brothel at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle and taken to a shelter for maintenance, rehabilitation and re-integration into society. However, 45 of them were released from the Department of Social Welfare at Madina where they had been kept, under unexplained circumstances.

The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs blamed the department for allowing the girls to leave but the department claims they escaped. An Accra-based international non-governmental organisation, Children Rights International, on January 25 threatened to institute legal action against the government if it fails to investigate the circumstances leading to the release of the girls.

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