Child Prostitution On The Increase

By Ayodele Deen Cole

A Senior Child Protection Officer at the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children Affairs, Loma Conteh has disclosed that child prostitution is on the increase across the country, despite the enormous effort by the government and its partners to curb the immoral practice.

She made the disclosure recently while giving an update on some of the negative social activities taking place nationwide. Child prostitution is crime in the country, under the Child Right Acts of 2007. According to the senior child protection officer, the increasing trend was as a result of high level of poverty in the country and also the effect of the just concluded Ebola outbreak in the region. Loma Conteh said that they have been working with relevant stakeholders like the Freetown City Council and the Sierra Leone Police to monitor their spots but that they are yet to make arrests as, according to them the child prostitutes most often than not hide and run away whenever they spot them. She furthered that some of them lie to the authorities that they over eighteen years. “It is a shameful act for the country as most of these children sell their bodies for a ridiculous sum of Five to Fifteen thousand Leones,” Loma revealed adding that they are being owned by unknown pimps who are operating illegal brothel across the country.

As part of their plan to curb this menace, the Ministry of Social Welfare Gender and Children Affairs is planning to commence a new project that will target parents, instead of the children. According to Loma Conteh, the new project will be an advocacy program that will educate parents on how to take good care of their children. At a public forum organised by the Open Government Initiative (OGI) in the Western area rural district town of Waterloo, the head of Child Welfare Association, Gabriel Renner said that increase in child prostitution is one of the major social challenges facing the country presently. The activist blamed this situation on the lack of personnel to fight sexual and gender based violence cases in the country.