Participants after the launch
Participants after the launch

Network to champion sexual exploitation prevention launched

The Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund in Ghana, last Thursday, launched a network to champion the prevention of sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment in the country.

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The Protection from Sexual Exploitation, Abuse and Harassment (PSEAH) network will serve as a pool of facilitators on sexual exploitation, abuse and harassment-related (SEAH) issues in the country.

It will also serve as a safe space for victims to report all forms of SEAH matters.

Rising cases

The Director, Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, Ministry of Health, Madam Emma Ofori Agyemang, who launched the network on behalf of the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, lamented the rising cases of violence and harassment and charged the network to promote SEAH-free environment, especially at workplaces.

She said SEAH cases were found to be highest among the age group of 22 and 23, representing 67 per cent, adding that most of the cases occurred during daytime working hours.

She said the Greater Accra Region had the highest incidence of 35 per cent followed by the Ashanti Region, 27 per cent.

Risk factors

Speaking about the underlying causes and risk factors of sexual exploitation and harassment, Madam Agyemang said 21 per cent of the cases recorded occurred as a result of personal differences and disputes, while 20.5 per cent occurred due to the abuse of power at workplaces, with 15.21 per cent attributed to socio-cultural norms that supported violence and harassment.

“Inappropriate organisation set up, arrangement or behaviour accounted for 14.78 per cent while discrimination and gender stereotype also accounted for 14.07 per cent and 11.88 per cent respectively,” she added.

She said 38 per cent of the reported cases had not received any form of attention, with 29 per cent of all the cases settled amicably.

The Director called for the establishment of comprehensive measures at the enterprise and national levels to support efforts towards the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.

The Chairman of the Network, Dr Anthony Ofosu, said there was a need for awareness creation for people to understand what appropriate behaviour at the workplace was.

“Nobody can touch you in any way that he or she wants, because it is not right,” he added.

Empowerment

The Executive Secretary, Samuel Hackman, of the Country Coordinating Mechanism of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, said the network brought together representatives from government agencies, the UN System in Ghana, development partners, civil society organisations, adolescent girls and young women, and the principal recipients of the Global Fund grants in Ghana to champion the campaign.

The CCM Ethics Officer, Catherine Bentum-Williams, appealed to all to join a social media campaign dubbed, "PSEAH is everyone’s responsibility" for a SEAH-free society. — GNA

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