Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/7/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Important status symbol in impoverished African nation leads to many poor decisions

Sierra Leone is one of the poorest nations on Earth. Located on the African continent, which already roils with starvation, political instability and uprisings, Sierra Leone stands out for its lack of economic and social development. Mobile phones for this country's young are important status symbols, so much so that teenage girls gladly prostitute themselves in order to have one.

A mobile phone in Sierra Leone is a status symbol -- that for teenage girls, comes at a very steep price.

A mobile phone in Sierra Leone is a status symbol -- that for teenage girls, comes at a very steep price.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

5/7/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in Africa

Keywords: Sierra Leone, mobile phones, teenage girls, prostitution


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - These desperate measures by these girls put them at increased risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, a study by Save the Children says.       

"Mobile phones represent everything that an adolescent associates with being young, hip and fashionable. They are part and parcel of the idea of what they want to become, and to get them they engage in risky sexual behavior," Krystle Lai, the research author says.

Find out how you can fill the gaps to end world hunger - by going here!


"Young girls are driven to seek older, richer men who can afford to buy them mobile phones, but the economic power in these relationships is unbalanced and influences the bargaining power of using a condom," Lai adds.

Once the more destitute girls own a phone, the maintenance and top up may mean they have to continue selling their bodies.

The research conducted in Freetown, the nation's capital appears to reflect a wider global trend. The report said there was growing evidence that the demand for mobile phones was among the key drivers for young girls in low-income countries to engage in prostitution.

Freetown girls use prostitution, or transactional sex to buy fashionable clothes, good exam results, known locally as "sexually transmitted grades" and even food.

The girls often have different partners to meet different needs. "One girl at school was in love with three boys. One of them did her (school) assignments, one would buy her clothes, and the other one bought her phone and other things like money. One man won't do," one girl told researchers.

Using the local lexicon, an "old pa" can be over 50 years old, the "big man" is 25 to 50 years old and then there are the young guys who the girls are actually attracted to, the report said.

One girl told researchers: "The 'old pa' ask . the girls to just touch them but usually no sex. The 'big men' ask for everything ."

While fathers in Sierra Leone came down hard on these solicitations, mothers were often fully aware of their daughter's activities and chose to ignore them, or even encourage them.

"If there is nothing at home, the mother will ask the girl to go out and 'find something.' This word is very common in the community. If your mother says this, you know what she means," one girl said.

Lai says punishing mothers is not the answer. Its sex offenders who should be penalized.

"Sex offenses must be punished to the full extent of the law, which says anybody aged under 18 years is a child, and identifies any form of sexual relationship with a child as an offense warranting five to 15 years imprisonment."

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Africa

Gang rape of 16-year-old girl highlights Kenya's attitudes towards sex crimes Watch

Image of Hundreds of activists marched on Kenya's police headquarters in protest last year after officers held three suspects in the case but released them after making them cut the grass at a police compound.

By Katy Migiro, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The arrest of a second youth in a high-profile case in which a 16-year-old girl was gang raped and dumped in a pit latrine, breaking her spine, shows Kenya is starting to tackle its "epidemic" of sexual violence, campaigners said. (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - ... continue reading


Algerian government supports military intervention against Islamic State Watch

Image of The head of Algerian diplomacy, Ramtane Lamamra has ruled out any Algerian participation in the international coalition against the Islamic state.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The international military intervention against what is commonly known in the Arab world as DAESH or Islamic state had become "inevitable," according to Ramtane Lamamra, Algerian Foreign Minister. Lamamra had been on the sidelines of a meeting held this week in ... continue reading


Radical Islamic groups take refuge in the Sahel after bombings in Iraq, Syria Watch

Image of Western interests are the main target of the Islamic groups on operation in the Sahel and North Africa.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Radical Islamic groups linked to Islamic State have begun to mobile in the Sahel region of Algeria. This is happening concurrently with the U.S.-led airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. The government of Algeria has since been placed on a high ... continue reading


Ebola is manufactured crisis, Liberian doctor says Watch

Image of Dr. Broderick is a former professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Liberia's College of Agriculture and Forestry.  He is also a scientist, who has taught for many years at the Agricultural College of the University of Delaware.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With Ebola ravaging much of West Africa, there are now claims that the crisis is part of a more nefarious plot to test vaccines and drugs on stricken humans. Liberian physician Dr. Cyril E. Broderick, Sr. is making these claims - and presents disturbing facts ... continue reading


U.S. ready to expand sanctions against military, political figures in South Sudan crisis Watch

Image of At least 10,000 people have died and more than a million people have fled their homes in South Sudan since fierce fighting erupted last December in the capital of Juba.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Frustrated with the lack of progress in ceasing the ongoing hostilities in South Sudan, the United States now says it's ready to expand sanctions against political and military figures. Ambassador Donald Booth said recent measures, including sanctions last week ... continue reading


It's already too late for millions: Experimental drugs may be key to stopping Ebola outbreak Watch

Image of Aid workers in protective gear pick up the bodies of those killed by Ebola in Sierra Leone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines might be available before the end of 2014, and could then be given to health workers and other high risk people. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An ... continue reading


Fears, superstition, paranoia and slow international response is cause of widespread Ebola outbreak Watch

Image of Medics load an infected Ebola patient onto a plane for medical transport.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced that the current West African Ebola outbreak is the most challenging the world has seen in the last few decades. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "[You have] a very lethal disease, placed in a setting where the ... continue reading


Extensive search to neutralize terrorist groups in Algeria begins Watch

Image of A rally at the Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi Ouzou was held by citizens, students and activists of the MAK, or Movement for the Autonomy of Kabylia to honor Gourdel, the victim of the Islamic State-affiliated Djound al Khalifa.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Less than 36 hours after French tourist Hervé Gourdel was beheaded by the Islamist terrorist group Djound al Khalifa, the National People's Army of Algeria continues to rake the mountainous areas where the incident occurred. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading


Two doctors for an entire county? A frightening look at Liberia's understaffed medical teams Watch

Image of A medical team take care of an Ebola infected boy in Liberia.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Liberia, one of the West African nations hardest hit by the Ebola outbreak, has a major lack of medical personal. This number is so low, that for a county of 85,000 people, it has only two doctors. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In Bomi County, two doctors ... continue reading


Things to come: Beheading of French tourist foretells more violence from Djoun al Khalifa Watch

Image of

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Shortly following the beheading of French mountaineer Hervé Gourdel by agents of the terrorist organization Djoun al Khalifa, the Islamic State has offered new threats against France, its citizens and its allies. The threats are in response to U.S.-led ... continue reading


All Africa News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 23:20-23
20 'Look, I am sending an angel to precede you, to ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 10-11
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 18:1-5, 10
1 At this time the disciples came to Jesus and said, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 2nd, 2014 Image

St. Leger
October 2: Leger was raised at the court of King Clotaire II and by his ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter