Mr. Speaker, my interest this morning in the Statement is a focus on the beneficiaries of child prostitution. Mr. Speaker, the hon. Member who made the Statement did intimate that sometimes those children benefit financially by indulging in prostitution. But my interest is not in the benefits which go to the children but the benefits which go to those who visit the brothels, those who visit these children, those who force these children into such immoral acts.
Mr. Speaker, who are those? If the children who are prostitutes are prostitutes because of their background, where they come from, whether their parents are poor, whether they come from broken homes, what about the men who visit those places.
Who are their parents too? What kind of morals do they have? Mr. Speaker, this Statement brings me even to the question of rape. Sometimes, you find a situation where a young girl with no breasts, very tiny ones fall prey to a big man. A very old man. Mr. Speaker -- [Laughter], visits his sexual desires on the girl who is almost a baby. I ask myself, what can a man get from a very flat breast, from a very young girl who does not even know what to do.
I am making this point because I remember that I heard and read about a research work which said that many people who lived in our country and elsewhere were mad, and crazy. It should be craziness which should make an elderly man go in for a baby. It should be craziness; it should be madness.
Mr. Speaker, let me come home to child prostitution. Where are the parents of these children who are into child prostitution? Who are their dadies and mothers? Sometimes responsibility in looking after and training a child is shifted on to teachers unnecessarily. What kind of home do they come from? Who are their parents? Are they orphans? They are not. Coming to the issue about even movies, the right kind of movies for children to
watch. Whose duty is it to ensure that their children watch the right kind of movies at the right time? Parents should have time, they should have time for their children.
The issue is that we live in an age where money is glorified. It does not even matter where you get it from. We live in an era where as a Shakespearean will put it “fair is foul and foul is fair” - It is an era where when you get money it does not matter where you get it from. Parents most at times do not question why their children wear certain kinds of dresses and clothes which they never bought for them.
Mr. Speaker, sometimes you see your child with so much money in her purse, and it is clear that you did not give the money to the child. It is high time that parents also spent time questioning the lifestyles of their children. It is high time that the churches spent more time on children. Mr. Speaker, I have seen children who have fallen prey even to pastors and Reverend Ministers. What kind of self control is lost in our country?
Mr. Speaker, with due respect, human beings are not animals, therefore, the ability to control your sexual desires and to visit it on the right person is what makes you human. Mr. Speaker, it is high time that our law enforcers looked critically at this issue.
Let me continue by looking at the role of the churches and religious leaders. Why do I ask? We have Sunday schools; we have councillors but I realize that children of today are not protected at all. Mr. Speaker, when I was a child, every time that we closed from school, I ran fast with my friends home because the loving arms of a mother were there waiting to welcome me. Mr. Speaker, these days children get home and it is not the fault of parents but nobody is there. They fall prey to anybody.
I think that the reason why young children and young girls are looking for areas of expressing their love in a way that we call prostitution is that some of them have never known how it is to be loved by their parents.
Mr. Speaker, how many parents -- I am talking about fathers -- How many parents even give their children a hug. How many of them tell their children they are beautiful. For young girls, the fact that daddy looks into their eyes and says you are beautiful is enough to make them feel proud. Mr. Speaker, if that is never said at home then what happens is that the first time that the child gets into the streets of Cantonments, Bawku, Cape Coast and any man in trousers, who respects her says “you are beautiful, I love you”, oh, she feels she is in Heaven.
It is high time parents made the girl- child felt so important, so beautiful that when they come out nothing will make them fall away from their morals.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, we are talking about Parliament and this Statement has been made in Parliament. What is the role of Parliament and Parliamentarians in making sure that the children in our constituencies do not fall prey to child prostitution? Can we do some counselling? The traditional leaders, can we talk to them? These days, children grow and grow better and faster than we grew. Mr. Speaker, a child of twelve or eleven years might have very big breasts. These days the way they grow up is very alarming. When you see a child who has all these features, it does not mean that that child is of age.
I think that we should educate the whole country. It is high time that we talked to all the men and the women especially that when you see a child who has a good body, it does not mean that that child is of age. That child can be your own child. That child can be your sister's child;
that child can be an orphan; that child is looking for direction and we should not take advantage of them. That is why I want us to be able to look at all the laws which relate to the protection of children.
For me, child prostitution is tanta- mount to not even child abuse but to human rights abuse. It is a human rights issue. Children should not be allowed to mistreat their bodies that way. No man. Mr. Speaker, we should find stiffer punishment for men who visit those places, who horde children who should be their children and visit their sexual desires on them.
Mr. Speaker, sorry for my highly emotive language - who will not be emotional when you are talking about the girl-child who is like the roots of a tree, who is the future mother, that child without whom no boy will be born, without whom there cannot be a wife, without whom there cannot be a mother.
I thank the hon. Member who made the Statement for arousing our interest in a topic so crucial to the survival and the fundamental growth of our nation.