Akin to the ancient city of Pompeii within Greco-Roman era, sex tourism has existed for time immemorial in the history of human anthropology. Irrespective of the grim of its reality, it has existed till now. And the city of Koforidua has not been exempted from this ancient trade practice.
Professor Thomas A. J. McGinn’s work on the “Lupanar of Pompeii” in Rome’s excavations show that the trade of Sex Tourism is not new and might last as long as the earth continues to revolve around the sun.
Koforidua may be known for many other things. The beauty of its women, the “flowers”. The famous mountain, “Obour Tabiri” that provides a panoramic view of the city, the famous historic “Kenkey Factory”, the historic “Jofa Bread” and more.
Unlike the works of Professor McGinn who investigated historic sites and provided rare facts in his authoring of “the economy of prostitution in the Roman world” which is recorded to have begun around 79AD, when it began in Koforidua is unknown, what is known is that this practice goes on.
While hotels in every city would easily be associated with the sex trade, the practice came in various forms.
The first to be mentioned in this piece is the “sex for hire”.
This was, and is the practice where the “well to do” would require young beautiful ladies to join them in parties, meetings or seminars. In modern times, these have a new pseudo name, “laptops”. The term became popular with meetings of the elite, and one would often hear terms or phrases like, “they are going to Akosombo with their laptops”.
In the early 2000s, terms such as “containers” were used to describe the transportation of these “flowers” of Koforidua to organized events. In the year 2003, a research work published by “hearts of the fathers”, a non-governmental organization found out that these “containers” had spread from the township to include younger ladies from the senior high schools in the city, and further added that they had also lifted their game from servicing clients within the region to other regions like the Greater Accra and Tema. Of course, there were requests and there were middlemen (pimps) who ensured that the business was well done. Some of the groups had become so famous they were “servicing” foreigners.
Unlike the other aristocratic hiring of “flowers” for the practice, there is the usual brothel where one could visit as “walk-in clients” to be serviced. In the past, only “Bula Spot”, a popular drinking spot and event centre was known for its brothels, however, over time, newer places emerged.
Known places such as Total 2, Big Ben Shoes – Railway, Legion Hall, and recently Casa Bar have all emerged and the latest places with secret and opened “market centres for sex trade”.
In September 2018, the Municipal Chief Executive of the New Juaben South, Hon Isaac Appau Gyasi called for the demolishing of the Bula Spot after swoops by the police arrested some female sex workers and their clients. This has not in any way affected their activities as they have even become brisker, all it takes is a walk at night and one can find out for himself or herself.
This class of the trade is the case where clients leave their call cards with hotels for their clients to pick up and call them, this group of female sex workers (FSW) became the latest and new generation of FSW in the city with the emergence of tertiary institutions in the regional capital, it is believed that most of the “service providers” in this category are from tertiary institutions in the city. These would not stand by the roadside, neither would use brothels but would be available for “pick-ups” depending on how “deep” one’s pocket was. They are said to be the taste of the high and mighty in society who visit the regional capital for funerals, conferences, seminars and the likes.
Not the best of professions that anyone would dream or aspire but it is one of the oldest and might never end. Just like the Lupanar of ancient Pompeii, places for sex tourism would continue to emerge over time, as you read, a new one is probably emerging somewhere in the city.
Should the government start thinking of regulating their activities? Is Ghana ready for a “formal sex trade industry”? All these and more are questions that emerge whenever sex tourism comes up for discourse.
The next time you visit Koforidua, just beware you are in one of those cities where the good the bad and the ugly exist.
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Akesse Moise Sanza is a Travel & Tourism Consultant, Travel Blogger, Anti-Human Trafficking & Safe Migration Advocate and a Traveler. He's available to assist you plan your next vacation (at a fee).
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