A Senior Lecturer of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Cape Coast (UCC), Dr Georgina Oduro has revealed that a recent research conducted by her department observed that nine-year-old or younger children in the Central Region are engaged in child prostitution.
The children, according to her, revealed that they were introduced to the business by their peers, sisters and also as a general trend they followed.
The children also indicated that their parents could not afford their needs and as such shirk their responsibility, hence, their involvement in such a practice.
According to Dr Oduro, she was shocked by the answer she received when asked of the type of men the children mingled with.
“As for men, when it comes to sex they don’t mind whether you are a child or an adult but it’s all about their enjoyment”, one of the respondents said to the researcher.
Dr Oduro who doubles as Advocacy Coordinator for Centre for Gender Research Advocacy and Documentation of UCC made this known at a needs assessment meeting to address child marriage, among others, organised by the Central Regional Department of Gender.
The assessment meeting which was funded by United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) attracted students in basic schools and second cycle schools in the Central Region with the aim to educate them about the risk involved in child marriage.
Dr Oduro who spoke on the topic: The Implications of Child Prostitution and Child Marriage on the development of the Girl Child, charged the children not to take advantage of poverty or lack of parental care and get themselves into bad habits.
On her part, the Central Regional Director of Department of Gender, Mrs Thywill Eyra Kpe said Central Region recorded the second highest increase of 8.3% in child marriage from 22.2% in 2006 to 31.2% in 2011 among the 10 regions.
According to her, data collected from 5,112 pregnant teenagers in the Central Region by the Ghana Health Service between July and December 2016 also indicated that 23.8% of the girls aged 13 to 19 were cohabiting while 5.3% were married.
Mrs Eyra Kpe stated that teenage pregnancy and defilement have been identified as a major driver of child marriage by both adults and children.
This, she explained, has enormous effects on the progress of girls from basic to Senior High School and the tertiary levels of education.
According to her, recent monitoring visits conducted by the Department of Gender in some of the 2017 Mentorship and Girls Empowerment Summit participating schools, indicated that although these girls are doing well in their schools and communities.
However, parental and community leadership support to overcome the challenges of child marriage and teenage pregnancy has remained a huge barrier.