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Education key to reducing sexual exploitation

The Widows and Orphans Movement in the Upper East Region is calling for the empowerment of female workers in the informal sector to report and assert their rights against sexual exploitation.

According to the Civil Society Organization, the lack of sexual exploitation education and awareness on legal processes for seeking justice against offenders in the informal sector continue to affect many female workers.

The CSO, identified inadequate financial support as one of the root causes of sexual exploitation among females in the informal sector that requires state intervention through schemes to support vulnerable females to achieve their goals.

Speaking to Citi News, at the commemoration of the International Youth Day in Bolgatanga on the theme: “Highlighting strategies to end sexual exploitation in the trades and craft industry,” some informal workers shared their sexual exploitation ordeal and called for support.

Fidaus Avuto, said, “My Madam asked us (apprentice) to buy something, so, I didn’t have the money but met a guy who promised to have sex with me before giving me the money, so I agreed. But after having sex with him, he told me he didn’t have the money to give me and that resulted in a heated argument and insults, so I left his house without the money. I was really hurt, so I will advise my friends to desist from it.”

“I was once a victim of sexual exploitation when things became difficult for me at the start of my apprenticeship, how to even feed myself was a problem. So, I met this man who bought me a phone and started giving me some money for my upkeep. And because of what he did for me, I could not deny him anything he asked for like sex and that’s how I became a victim and I would like to advise my friends to say no to that,” an apprentice, Alagmbisa Joyce, lamented.

But Project Officer at the Widows and Orphans Movement, Elizabeth Anafo, said the state has not done enough in protecting females in the informal sector against sexual exploitation.

She wants government and state authorities to provide continuous training and legal guidance for females in the trades and craft sector on how to reduce sexual exploitation crimes.

“We need empowerment and continuous education of females in the trades and craft industry because most of them are not highly educated and don’t even see sexual exploitation as an issue because for them, it’s normal. But with empowerment, they will be able to speak out and report issues of sexual exploitation to curb the menace.”

“We need workplace policies against sexual exploitation and harassment and detail the punishment for such acts”.

The initiative funded by the European Union under the ENOUGH project aims at ending sexual exploitation and gender-based violence.

Female participants drawn from the trades and craft sector in the Upper East Region received education on sexual exploitation and measures to end the menace.