I had never believed the story of teenage prostitution and dropout till I encountered one myself on one Saturday evening. I had decided to conduct an eye witness research to prove or disprove the rumor of teenage prostitution which had been pervasive in the community where I live. Yes! It was real. At the Total ‘A’ feeling station in Koforidua, it was a field day for Ama and other young teenagers who had lined up questionably dressed holding their hand bags. Some smoked, some drunk alcohol, others had bottles of soft drinks whiles a few had their hands crossed on their chest. I saw shinning lips of varying colors and the piercing sound of chewing gums were dominant. As I drove and parked my car, many of the young girls competitively approached me and asked me the question, ‘short or long’ literally meaning whether I preferred having sex within a short time period i.e. Short or engage their services throughout the entire night i.e. long. Each of this offer categories had its own price with the ‘long’ being more expensive. I securely packed my car and went to the cafeteria to pick a can of energy drink perhaps to keep me active to aid me embark on my mission. I then sipped a portion of my drink and moved to do my girl hunt. I wittily engaged each one I encountered for at least five minutes even if I was being ignored. During this period of my negotiation with them, I looked out for their age, educational history as well as parental responsibility history. During all this period, my pocket recorder was set to record the conversation. I got enough information from all the young prostitutes I had engaged and set out to engage Ama who appeared isolated from the rest I had earlier spoken with. Ama looked tall and slim in stature, fair in complexion, wore a beautiful smile with innocent face, she displayed a set of diamond looking white teeth, sounded very intelligent, and she spoke eloquently similar to a tertiary school graduate. She was seventeen (17) years old. We negotiated a price deal but I rejected her price request and moved towards my car. Whiles I was about to enter my car, Ama run towards me and politely engaged my attention. Those were her words; ‘I don’t care about the price, please take me along’. I stood speechless for a while, gave her some money, my complementary card and advised her to back out of the sex trade. I then drove home in the darkest middle of the night. Ama was the first person to wake me up from bed the next morning through a phone call to render her appreciation for my kindness and to ask if I could grant her the opportunity to meet me at home. I asked Ama to rather meet me at my office. As if Ama was herself a clock, she arrived exactly on the dot of our scheduled time. I then had a dialogue with Ama about her educational life as well as that of the prostitution trade. My extensive dialogue with her revealed that she dropped out of Senior High School (SHS) in the first year and took to prostitution after she had been influenced by peers in the prostitution trade. According to Ama there were enough evidence from her friends both materially and financially to let her sign up for the job at that time. Ama claimed she defied and resisted all attempts made by her parents to stop her mission at that time especially when she realized the business was lucrative. According to Ama, her parents were poor but they did everything within their means to take her to school and could not blame them in any way for her predicament. Ama claimed she had many people of her kind at total ‘A’. With tears running down her cheeks, she told me she could clearly see a dark future ahead of her and begged to be taken to school again. She also wept for her colleagues in the prostitution trade and wished they could meet people like me and also have a change of mind. I led Ama to her parents for reconnection, reconciliation and subsequent re-enrollment in the SHS.
I suggested we see a trained counseling psychologist to have her tested for the Human immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) which both parents and Ama agreed to. Sadly, Ama was tested positive to HIV but told me that she intended to become a campaigner for HIV awareness to advise young people on the need to obey their parents, shun bad company, and to resist any attempt made by peers to draw them into any bad behavior. This she intended doing after completing her tertiary education. According to Ama, a key element of success was obedience to parents and all other well-meaning authorities.