By: Sheku Putka Kamara ( LEGENDARY COLUMN )
The other day, we organized an Old Students’ Event in Lungi and so I had to show up as the First and Founding President of the St. Joseph Old Students’ Association (SaJOSA) Lungi. Everything was almost memorable save for a few observations that were largely actually informed by some of my colleagues. After the day’s event, we wanted to hang heads as founding pupils of the school and so we had to hang out to discuss ways we could come in as old pupils. The rest is history, but I am moved at how colleagues have been supportive towards this course. In few months, I look forward to the positive actualization of our set plans, by God’s Grace. But let’s settle on that just for a little and move to the focus of today’s Legendary Column.
That night, we were at a certain club. One of my colleagues who I’d gladly give anonymity asked that I should write about Teenage Prostitution. To that my friend, the rate at which young girls and ladies hustle at night should be a concern. My colleagues wanted this to go viral and so since they are aware that I talk and write for a living, among other ventures, they saw me as the best bet. Clearly, they have a point. From my observation and theirs, it was clear that a lot of young girls (possibly below 18years) are fending for themselves in the streets. With such occurrences, you’re tempted to ask, what happened to responsible parenting? I however note how some of such situations could be out of control. Terrible, to say the least!
In a place like Lungi where some Foreign Nationals now call a place of work, the vulnerabilities of some of these teenagers is an expression of the obvious. What makes things even more disturbing is that most if not all of such occurrences are happening in the open. You can imagine.
The other day, I was reading an article that made a case that some of these young people are victims of society. While I understand such a position, I strongly believe that these are matters of individual choices. Where there’s humanistic dignity and sanctity, what pleasure would one get to sell her body for less than $50? We may argue that society has attempted to condition some of our country men, but what happened to reasonability and logical precision?
When nude videos were parading social media a few weeks ago, almost everyone was bashing the ladies and hardly the gents. Many a time, some of such prejudicial gender stereotypes have preconditioned how some people engage in certain discourses. To me, choices vary. I will argue that sanctification also does. So, it’s more like a free world, save for religious perspectives.
On the causes and effects, we’re likey to hear that some of such persons are victims of neglect and or related norms. As a result, their involvement in such crafts could even question their right to life. There have been reports of people that have met their ends in similar situations. Being education dropouts is another notable effect. To most if not all of such persons, education is never primary. The focus is get some daily bread no matter how hot, tough and rough things may seem.
A possible solution has to be action driven. How do we ensure that we take young people off the streets? Are these very young people ready to leave the streets? These are tough questions that require honest answers. Maybe it’d be cool if Government would devise a monitoring mechanism for situations of this nature. It matters. If you’re not 18 and over, you cannot give consent, but what do we do in situations where the very teenagers attempt to give consent? You see?
Concerted efforts are really and truly needed in all of this. There should be no room for child prostitution in society. I may have used Kaffu Bullom Chiefdom, Lungi (my hometown) as a case study, but reports have it that these are national occurrences. So, we all have to take action. Such underdevelopment could negatively portray Sierra Leone globally. We all could solve this if we so desire. Until then, I’m done for today.