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Children and youth in Ghana must be empowered in order to prevent sexual exploitation

Posted on Jul 31, 2014

ECPAT International published a country monitoring report today, outlining the status of action against the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in Ghana.

The report is one of a series of reports examining countries around the world and their policies and laws to protect against CSEC. ECPAT’s Ghana monitoring report looks at all of the manifestations of CSEC within the country, including child prostitution, child sexual abuse materials (child pornography) and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. 

Ghana has made progress in strengthening legal frameworks for the protection of children from CSEC and has developed comprehensive national laws that conform to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, Ghana has yet to ratify the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. It is crucial that Ghana ratify this treaty in order to bridge gaps in the country’s legal framework by introducing important legislation on child pornography and child prostitution. 

ECPAT is also concerned with the prevalence of child marriage within the country. One in four girls in Ghana will be married before reaching their 18th birthday. Child marriage deprives girls of opportunities for education, social mobility and financial independence. It is imperative that the government address this issue and ensure that girls in Ghana have the opportunity to choose when they wish to marry.

Encouragingly, steps have been made to involve children and young people in the promotion and protection of their rights, suggesting that the Ghanaian government recognises the importance of child participation. Going forward, it is important that government agencies and NGOs create youth initiatives that foster awareness about the different forms of CSEC. ECPAT believes that it is necessary to engage children and youth in vulnerability reduction and response strategies in order to create a youth population that is aware of their rights and recognises available resources to prevent exploitation. 

Acting National Coordinator for GNCRC (ECPAT Affiliate in Ghana), Barima Akwasi Amankwaah comments, “GNCRC believes that, with one purpose, different strategies and very passionate programmes, efforts of Government, development partners, child rights organisations and with children involved in CSEC programming, we together can make the commercial sexual exploitation of children a thing of the past.”

The full report on the status of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children in Ghana is available here

The official media release can be accessed here.

About GNCRC: The Ghana NGO Coalition on the Rights of the Child (GNCRC) is an umbrella organisation and ECPAT affiliate in Ghana. It aims to build the capacity of law enforcement to protect children from CSEC; build capacity of local youth groups in areas, including peer counselling, media relations and lobbying; raise awareness and provide training on children and youth participation; and identify areas of regional collaboration.             

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