Five hundred and one children between the ages of seven and 19 in some communities in Accra who engage in, as well as being at risk of engaging in commercial sex, have been rescued by International Needs, an NGO in Accra.
Out of this number, 96 of the children were victims while 405 were at risk of engaging in commercial sex.
They are from communities which include Bubiashie, La, Accra Newtown, Mallam Atta, Nima and Maamobi, all suburbs of Accra among others.
The Child Rights Programmes Manager of the NGO, Mrs Joyce Odame, made this known at a ceremony which marked the end of the first phase of the programme, which started in July 2011 and ended in June 2014.
The project was to protect and rescue children from commercial sexual exploitation, as well as rehabilitate them, and was funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian government.
She said 406 of the children were placed in formal school while the rest were given the needed equipment to learn various vocations such as hairdressing.
Mrs Odame said the children included those from poor homes with unemployed parents, neglected and abandoned children, school dropouts, as well as teen mothers.
She said 256 of the children were screened for sexually transmitted infections and 424 were registered for National Health Insurance.
Mrs Odame said 176 parents were linked to Initiative Development, Ghana, a financial NGO, to secure loans to start businesses to enable them to support their children.
“A total amount of GH¢97,450 was disbursed and each parent received between GH¢300 and GH¢400. Thirty-two of them have repaid their first loans and have gone in for their second,” she added.
In spite of the successes chalked up, Mrs Odame said they faced many challenges during the implementation of the projects which included high dropout rate among vocational skills trainees, unplanned pregnancies, unsupportive parents, as well as uncooperative trainers.
However, Mrs Odame said in spite of these challenges the aims and objectives of the project were met and was happy that a two-year follow-up project had been approved by the donors.
She said there would be among other things a provision of business start-up kits for 30 vocational skills graduates.
The Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Mrs Joana Adamson, pledged her country’s’ support to assist in putting an end to sexual abuse of children.