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The Street Childen of Accra, Ghana

They all seem to have the same stories to tell..poverty, forced into it, lack of funds. That’s the same fate thousands of street children in Ghana are facing now. The number of street children in Accra alone has surged from 21,000 in 2007 to more than 54,000 last year, according to figures from the Department of Social Welfare. Some of them are as young as 9 years old, some work carrying loads in the streets as early as 4am until late at night, only to earn 7 cents a day.

One 15-year-old sex worker said she earns 30cents from men on a good night “servicing” at least six men a night. And because she earns a lot more daily having sex with men in the slum areas than carrying loads, she therefore prefers being a prostitute until she “makes enough money.”

Being out on the streets exposes these children to criminals and drug addicts some of who run off with their hard-earned money or rape them. Despite policies and regulations governing child labor and protection, agencies in Ghana encounter the same perennial problem as other countries...lack of funding. Social workers lack government resources to adequately respond to the needs of street children, much less to stop the problem from continuing. The existence of Non-Government Organizations advocating for children’s rights and protection have at least contributed to reducing the number of children on the streets, but still not enough.

The problem of street children is a common concern of many countries especially in poverty-stricken areas. For lack of better words at this moment, I find it shocking and frustrating that amidst their poverty, there are men in impoverished areas still willing to shell out 6 cents for paid sex. But despite the challenges these street children face, it is admirable to see that they have a strong sense of hope in their hearts that they would one day have a better and brighter tomorrow.

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