An Assessment Of Religious And Ethical Implications Of Prostitution In Ghana (Case Of Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana)

Project and Seminar Material for Sociology

An Assessment Of Religious And Ethical Implications Of Prostitution In Ghana (Case Of Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana)


Chapter One


Introduction

1.1 Background Of The Study

In exchange for the employee’s labor, the company pays the employee money. People are compensated for their abilities, attention, and efforts in meeting others’ emotional needs. The comedian, hairdresser, and funeral decorator, for example, get paid after their tasks, but we do not trade money in exchange for friendship. Human relationships must be freely provided and voluntarily exchanged in order to be ‘real’ and meaningful. What about arousal and activity in the bedroom? What role does sexual expression have in our lives? Is it possible for anything to be meaningful or pleasant if it is purchased or sold as a product?

Prostitution, like other forms of sexual exploitation, is a kind of human specialization that exists all throughout the world. Prostitution is defined in Ghana under section 279 of the criminal code of 1960 (Act 29), as amended by Act 554, as “the offering by a person of his body for acts of lewdness (sex) remuneration, despite the absence of an ordinary sexual connection.” It may also be described as the act of selling one’s or another’s services for the purpose of intercourse or other sexual acts. Prostitution, according to Lauer (1998), is defined as paid sexual interactions between a woman and her client, with the compensation providing a portion of the woman’s total income. However, in this thesis, prostitution is defined as a prostitute performing, proposing, or agreeing to do a sexual act in exchange for money, property, a token, a favor, an object, or anything of value.

Female prostitution appears to be more prevalent in Africa, notably in Ghana, than male prostitution. Prostitutes work both inside and outside of Ghana. Ivory Coast, Liberia, Monrovia, and South Africa are the most common destinations for Ghanaian prostitutes. Prostitutes are primarily found in the country’s major cities and mining towns, such as Takoradi, Accra, Kumasi, Cape Coast, Koforidua, Obuasi, Tarkwa, Akwatia, and Kenyasi. Prostitutes also operate in other important towns like as Tema, Sunyani, and Sekondi. House prostitutes (seaters) are old-fashioned prostitutes who reside in houses in various parts of towns (The Weekly Spectator, 4th October, 2008).

Prostitutes’ doors are frequently half-opened, allowing buyers to enter only for the prostitutes to follow them and negotiate, after which business begins. Other gangs of prostitutes have recently begun to operate on the main streets of cities. Roaming prostitutes are a type of prostitute. They set up shop in areas where traffic bottlenecks are expected to occur, patrolling the area to lure passers-by and then negotiating for business. In Accra, Cape Coast, Kumasi, Tema, and Takoradi, among other places, these contemporary prostitutes operate in major road areas and decent residential neighborhoods.

Another kind of prostitution that is prevalent in Ghana is “call-girl” prostitution. These prostitutes, who are mostly from the upper crust, including college, polytechnic, and university students, as well as men and women who have day jobs to supplement their income, leave their photos and contact information with hotel staff. The consumer dials the number and specifies his or her race, age, attractiveness, and readiness to partake in particular sexual activities. In today’s world of global trade, the call girl must be prepared to entertain businessmen and ladies from all over the globe. Unlike streetwalkers or home prostitutes, these prostitutes are usually better educated. They are highly appealing since they dress nicely and operate autonomously to provide exclusive services to their customers in their hotel room or in an apartment of their choosing.

In Ghanaian society, prostitution has become a very sensitive topic that is more difficult to discuss. This is because, according to tradition, a boy or girl is expected to be sexually immature until he or she is physically and socially developed (Sarpong, 1974). As a result, if the topic of prostitution comes up for conversation, it is almost dismissed or assumed to be a foreign subject that should be avoided. As a result, the seemingly unyielding stance regarding prostitution, particularly in Ghana, appears to be both cultural and religious. Prostitution is abhorred and viewed with disdain in nearly every Ghanaian society, to the point where individuals who engage in it or are accused of engaging in it do not get compassion or support from the community.

What makes prostitution (and other forms of sexual misbehavior) even more abhorrent in Ghana is that religions that are not culturally or historically Ghanaian, such as Christianity and Islam, do not condone the practice in any manner. However, recent events across the world, notably in Ghana, have made it more important than ever for people from all walks of life to review the topic of prostitution in order to place it in its proper perspective and treat it as such.

Globalization, modernisation, urbanization, rural-urban migration, unequal distribution of national resources, increased religious activities, and other factors have shaped people’s perceptions and attitudes about a variety of issues, including prostitution. As a consequence, prostitution should no longer be seen as a taboo issue, but rather as one that requires immediate attention from all individuals, regardless of their backgrounds.

It’s crucial to remember that prostitution is a multi-faceted problem that has to be handled from a variety of angles, not only by sociologists. Prostitution cuts beyond religious, cultural, political, sociological, economic, and ethical boundaries. The issue can only be addressed in its proper perspective if all stakeholders in the development process work together. As a result, prostitution is regarded as an issue that affects the entire society rather than a specific portion or division.

As a multi-religious society, Ghana believes that all human action should be guided by moral principles that are consistently promoted via the ideals of these religious activities. However, a variety of variables appear to be at play in the rise of immoral behavior. Poverty, exposure to pornographic books and films, media pouring out a growing stream of sexually stimulating ads and entertainments such as beauty competitions with contestants flaunting themselves practically naked are just a few examples. Some people assess their own sexual behaviors by comparing them to the opinions of social ethicists and sex surveys, ostensibly believing that while unconventional behavior may be bad, it must be okay if everyone else is doing it (Boullough, 1996).

Western civilization was said to have lived an extremely restricted and sexually moral existence in the pre-civilization age. Since the fall of the Roman Empire, sexual behavior was only permitted between husband and wife, and solely for the sake of reproduction. The origins of this attitude may be traced in the Judeo-Christian theological tradition, notably in Saint Paul’s New Testament teachings and early Christian leaders’ lectures such as St. Augustine’s (354- 430AD). Although these leaders believed that sexual abstinence was preferable, they nevertheless acknowledged that ‘it is better to marry than to burn’ (Coleman & Cressey, 1984).

In today’s Ghana, both young and elderly openly discuss their sexual habits wherever they go. For example, students who do not participate in open discussions about sexual matters or who do not have a sexual relationship are labeled as “chrife” and/or “christo-crazy.” Our ancestors despised magazines featuring photos of scantily dressed women, yet they are now staples of supermarket magazine racks.

Programmes on FM stations such as “From me to you,””Love links,””Looking for love,””Mmarima ahyia,””Wo ba ada anaa,” and special love corners in newspapers and other forms of media may encourage prostitution in Ghana because listeners and participants may be tempted to put what is said or seen into practice. Many African and Western film writers and producers now believe that one or two sex scenes are required for a new production’s financial success. Even television shows now openly discuss topics that would have been startling and embarrassing just a decade ago. The proliferation of social clubs, hotels, and extended jail sentences (people in detention) have all led to an increase in sexual openness in nearly every location. As a result, this researcher’s goal is to look at these current topics of concern pragmatically with the sole purpose of using ethical principles to propose practical answers.


1.2 Statement Of The Problem

As a multi-religious society, Ghana believes that all human action should be guided by moral principles that are consistently promoted via the ideals of these religious activities. However, a variety of variables appear to be at play in the rise of immoral behavior. Poverty, exposure to pornographic books and films, media pouring out a growing stream of sexually stimulating ads and entertainments such as beauty competitions with contestants flaunting themselves practically naked are just a few examples. Some people assess their own sexual behaviors by comparing them to the opinions of social ethicists and sex surveys, ostensibly believing that while unconventional behavior may be bad, it must be okay if everyone else is doing it (Boullough, 1996).

Despite the fact that virtually all of Ghana’s main faiths condemn the practice of commercial sex trading, it nevertheless exists. The religious population of Ghana was estimated to be over 90% of the total population in the 2000 population and housing census. By extension, the majority of persons involved in prostitution (both prostitutes and their clients) may be members of one or more religious institutions. As a result, prostitution in Ghana raises major theological and ethical concerns that must be addressed. As a result, the theological and ethical ramifications of prostitution in Ghana are investigated in this thesis.


1.3 Objective Of The Study

The primary aim of this study is to assess the ethical and religious implications of prostitution in Ghana;

  1. To determine why people enter into sex trade or prostitution business.
  2. To investigate the economic importance of prostitution to the individual and the region.
  3. To investigate the moral and ethical implications of prostitution on practitioners.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions guide this study

  1. Why do people enter into sex trade or prostitution business?
  2. What is the economic importance of prostitution to the individual and the region?
  3. What are the moral and ethical implications of prostitution on practitioners?

1.5 Significance Of The Study

This study is significant as it will serve as a reference material to the academic community. Also, it will contribute to the unending debate on prostitution in Ghana.

This study will also motivate religious bodies, NGOs, sociologists, ethicists and other stake-holders to fashion out the appropriate measures in handling prostitution issues in Ghana. Finally, this study is significant as it will influence the need for further research into other related areas which the study may not tackle.


1.6 Scope Of The Study

This study will only cover the Brong Ahafro region in Ghana, hence excluding all other areas. It will cover the ethical and economic implications on the individual and the region as well as the reasons to which individuals indulge in this act.


1.7 Limitation Of The Study

During the investigation, the researcher ran into a few roadblocks. These are only a few examples. Because the research area was confined to the Brong-Ahafo region of Ghana, not all locations were covered. The few responders found it difficult to answer to the questionnaire, and some were uncooperative. Moreover, despite the researcher’s statement that the study was strictly academic, several of the respondents were skeptical of the research’s goals.


1.8 Definition Of Terms

1. Prostitution:

The practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment.

2. Ethics:

The moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity.

3. Religion:

The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods


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An Assessment Of Religious And Ethical Implications Of Prostitution In Ghana (Case Of Brong Ahafo Region, Ghana)

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