The Movement of Widows and Orphans of the Upper East region calls for the empowerment of women workers in the informal sector to denounce and assert their rights against sexual exploitation.
According to the Civil Society Organization, the lack of education on sexual exploitation and awareness of legal procedures to seek justice against offenders in the informal sector continues to affect many working women.
The CSO has identified insufficient financial support as one of the root causes of the sexual exploitation of women in the informal sector that requires state intervention through programs to help vulnerable women achieve their goals. .
Talk to Citi Newsduring the commemoration of the International Youth Day in Bolgatanga on the theme: “Shining light on strategies to end sexual exploitation in trades and crafts”, some informal workers shared their ordeal of exploitation sex and called for support.
Fidaus Avuto, said: “My Madam asked us (the apprentice) to buy something, so I didn’t have the money but I met a guy who promised to sleep with me before giving me the money, so I accepted. But after I slept with him, he told me he had no money to give me and this led to a heated argument and insults, so I left his house without the money. I was really hurt, so I will advise my friends to refrain.
“I was once a victim of sexual exploitation when things got tough for me at the start of my apprenticeship, even how to feed myself was a problem. So, I met this man who bought me a phone and started giving me money for my upkeep and because of what he did for me i couldn’t deny him anything he asked for like sex and that’s how i am become a victim and I would like to advise my friends to say no to that,” lamented a trainee, Alagmbisa Joyce.
But Widows and Orphans Movement Project Officer Elizabeth Anafo said the state had not done enough to protect women in the informal sector from sexual exploitation.
She wants government and state authorities to provide ongoing training and legal advice to women in the trades and crafts sector on how to reduce crimes of sexual exploitation.
“We need empowerment and continued education of women in trades and crafts because most of them are not very educated and don’t even see sexual exploitation as a problem because for them it’s ‘is normal. But with empowerment, they will be able to speak out and report issues of sexual exploitation to stem the threat.
“We need workplace policies against sexual exploitation and harassment and detailing the penalties for such acts.”
The initiative funded by the European Union under the ENOUGH project aims to end sexual exploitation and gender-based violence.
Participants from the trades and crafts sector in the Upper East region received education on sexual exploitation and measures to end this threat.