By Edmund Mingle
Saturday, 01 March 2008
THE Parliamentary Committee on Population yesterday afternoon visited 'Soldier Bar', the notorious brothel at the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area, which was at the centre of a recent child prostitution scandal.
The wooden structure was deserted at the time of their visit, but the members said they were appalled by what they saw — untidy cubicles that serve as rooms for the prostitutes and their clients including used condoms.
Theresa Amerley Tagoe, chairperson of the committee, said their visit followed recent reports of the alarming increase in child prostitution and the committee was anxious to assess the situation to help it initiate the necessary policy to address it.
The visit drew a crowd of curious passers-by as the lawmakers, accompanied by uniformed and plain clothes policemen, looked around the cubicles with their small beds, and a bathroom.
The wooden structure had on it the bold inscription of an Accra Metropolitan Assembly order: "Remove before January 31, 2008."
Two young men found sitting at the entrance of the brothel said they neither worked there nor knew the owner.
Ms Tagoe said it is after the visit that the committee would urgently meet "to take a firm decision on how to deal with the menace."
Parliament she added would develop stiffer punitive measures against prostitution in the country.
Asked why they did not visit at night to witness the brisk prostitution business, she said the committee already had information about the night activities there from an investigation team.
During a raid on the bar recently, police arrested 161 prostitutes including 60 minors aged between 12 and 16.
The children were handed over to the Department of Social Welfare for shelter but they were soon released, an act which caused considerable public outrage.