Director of Ghana’s AIDS Commission, Professor Sekyi Awuku Amoa, has called for the legalisation of commercial prostitution "in the interest of the nation". Prostitution in Ghana is not illegal as such though soliciting and running a brothel are. However prostitutes are being arrested for possessing condoms which defeats the campaign to encourage people to use them.
”As long as prostitutes have clients, from management point of view, we have to target them and give them health service”, adding that, "it is ridiculous to arrest and prosecute women on the basis of possessing condom".
Commercial prostitution includes street prostitution and brothels along with phone sex, video and internet pornograhy and prostitution tourism. However the debate over the legalisation of street and brothel prostitution is different to the one on phone sex, video and internet sex and sex tourism which are not dealt with here.
Criminalising the profession marginalises sex workers, increases the risk of HIV/AIDS infection and violence such as rape and beatings. It also feeds the trafficking of women and girls as sex slaves which is takes place across continents and in all directions. A report on Redifining Prostitution as Sex Workers on the Internationl Agenda states
"the marginal position of sex workers in society excludes them from the international, national and customary protection afforded to others as citizens, workers or women. Their vulnerability to human and labour rights violations is greater than that of others because of the stigma and criminal charges widely attached to sex work. These allow police and others to harass sex workers without ever intervening to uphold their most elementary rights."
However decriminalisation of the profession is not enough. Sex workers who like everyone else have a right to choose the profession they want must also be afforded the same labour rights as other workers, access to medical treatement and a safe and secure working environment.
SThe legal status of prostitution is unclear in
SA and Senegal or any other Africa country. Prostitution is legal in South Africa and I believe in Senegal. African sex workers are coming together to discuss the issues: recently they held a conference in Cameroon where the idea of an African wide organisation was discussed and hopefully will soon materialise.