In La Apese a suburb of Accra, many landlords have evicted many long-standing tenants in favour of commercial sex workers, who pay between GH¢30 and GH¢50 a day to keep their rooms. This has created a ‘red light district’ of sorts, coincidently opposite the La Police Station.
The women are said to sit in front of their cubicle-like rooms and beckon to passers-by, offering their services for GH¢5 to GH¢20.
Late on Saturday, 18 workers were arrested in a raid as well as one potential customer aged between 16 and 37, with five originating from Ghana and 13 from Nigeria. The activities of the sex workers have caused great concern for residents. In an interview, ‘Lydia’ a local resident revealed, “our husbands now have little regard for us as they get to have sex virtually for free from these women”. She also complained that as they pay daily, landlords favour them over longstanding residents and she no longer feels the area is safe for her to raise her children in, especially young girls.
In Ghana, prostitution is illegal but widespread with varying law enforcement. Many officers take cash and physical bribes for the release of workers.
A landlord who identifies as Mr Annan Tetteh has said that “the activities of the people being referred to as prostitutes have been in existence in this area for many years, even before I was born”, suggesting this issue will not be easily resolved. Another landlord has agreed that landlords could work with police to speed up the process, but the collaboration would take a long time to implement effectively.