Home » Breaking News » Children at risk of Commercial sexual exploitation … Beaches, hotels among hot spots …Parents asked to be vigilante

Children at risk of Commercial sexual exploitation … Beaches, hotels among hot spots …Parents asked to be vigilante

Parents and law enforcement agencies have been advised to be on a high alert especially at Beaches, Hotels and other tourism destination to save unsuspecting Ghanaian children from commercial sexual exploitation by foreign Nationals.

The caution follows an observation of a latest upsurge in commercial sexual exploitation of Children in the country.

“Child Sex Tourism(CST) as a form of commercial Sexual Exploitation of children is an  increasing threat for children in Ghana,” according to a  report released recently by  the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) Coalition on the Right of the Child (GNCRC), Defence for Children  and Plan International Ghana.

The report reveals that the key hot spots of such occurrence are in tourism destinations including beach resorts, hotels and other notable identifiable places for leisure activities in the cities.

Perpetrators of these heinous crimes include domestic and international tourists and migrant workers in fishing, construction, entertainment, mining and oil sectors, the report said.

The Report  titled ‘Child Sex Tourism and Child Sexual Exploitation’ which was  part  of  the 3rd   cycle Universal Periodic  Review mentioned that Minors,both boys and girls are involved, with girls being the victims in the majority or those at the highest risk. Boys are believed to be mostly sexually exploited by international travelers from the West (mainly mentioned are the US and Europe) and Asia (mainly mentioned are China and Korea).

Ghana is a signatory to other international and regional conventions such as the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child among others, the country urgently needs to still deal with issues of Child Sex Tourism and Child Sexual Exploitation (CSEC).

The report recommended  that Ghana  needs to step up its efforts to prevent and combat trafficking in persons and protect  and assist trafficked victims by protecting victims internal and across boarder and ensuring  their access to medical, social, legal and counseling services; by ensuring adequate conditions for the  victims to make complaints; and by conducting investigations and punishing those responsible.

Currently, issues related to CSE and CST are either addressed as child labour issue or as a sexual abuse or violation issue.

Many individuals and organizations do not understand the issues related to CST and CSEC. Because of the challenges with level of knowledge, majority of individuals and donors have also not prioritized these issues, which is affecting the development of girls in the society.

Existing child protection laws and policies do not adequately address specifically CST and CSEC and other child protection on-line issues including molestation, bullying among others.

According to the report, due to the inadequacy of the laws to protect victims or potential victims, stakeholders are not able to address the issue using the applicable laws and legal stand point therefore making prosecution a bit difficult to adhere to.

The issue of Child Sex Tourism and Child Sexual Exploitation is not an individual or specific set of groups’ responsibility therefore the government should priorities CST related activities and channel resources including funding to local actors to help direct focus to combat the CST threat.

The report also recommended that, existing child protection laws and policies need to be amended to make specific reference to CST. There is the need for government to adequately resource the law enforcement agencies to fully protect children from sexual exploitation by tourists and travelers.

Local actors (child protection agencies or NGOs) must be supported to form or align the objectives of existing children’s clubs (or peer educators clubs) in schools and communities to engage and empower them to be active in their own protection from all forms of sexual exploitation.

It said Social services for victims should be scaled up and improved across the country. For example, shelter to accommodate children rescued from commercial sex by DSW, DOVVSU.  Among others.

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) is a type of sexual abuse. Children in exploitative situations and relationships receive something such as gifts, money or affection as a result of performing sexual activities or others performing sexual activities on them.

In 2015, the Ministry of Gender Children and Social Protection  launched a comprehensive Child and Family Welfare Policy which taps into the positive traditional values, principles and protective practices and mechanism of effective system that resonates with Ghanaians and service providers.

The policy was guided by key principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1992 Ghana Constitution, and the Children’s Act 1998 (Act560). It was also meant to provide guidance to the reform of child and family welfare programmes and activities, as well as establish a coherent system, while aiming to empower children and families to better understand abusive situations and make choices to prevent and respond to situations of risk.

The 22-page book focuses on policy framework, the child and family welfare system, institutional arrangements, as well as research, advocacy, monitoring and evaluation process.

The policy also gives legal classification of a child, childhood, child and family welfare system, child protection, child protection system strengthening, community, community structures, family, harm, social protection, welfare, well-being and young people.

 

By Mohammed Suleman & latifa Carlos  

 

 

 

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