Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/7/2014 (6 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 (6 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 November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Africa

Obianuju Ekeocha: Western Giants Launch Dangerous and Controversial Contraceptive in Africa Watch

Image of Obianuju Ekeocha - I am only one African woman, but from where I stand I choose today to speak up, to lament, to complain and to shed silent tears for my fellow African women, with the hope that by the end of today, my words and tears may reach and touch the hearts of people of goodwill around the world who will join me in defending the dignity of the African women.

By Obianuju Ekeocha

Who will speak up for the women of Africa? Who will lament the crass disregard for their well-being? Who will complain about the cruel disrespect with which they are being treated? Who will shed tears for the irreparable damage that could befall them? I am only ... continue reading


Boko Haram undermines stability of Nigeria Watch

Image of At least 45 people were killed in a Boko Haram reprisal attack on a village in northeastern Nigeria, the epicenter of the Islamists' five-year insurgency.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the Nigerian army has made movies to retake two small villages overrun by the Islamist sect Boko Haram, another terrorist attack was launched by the terrorist group claimed the lives of 45 people. The mood here is one of confusion with the population ... continue reading


Humanitarian truce declared in Libya to evacuate civilians Watch

Image of The truce doesn't appear to have been respected.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Forces loyal to the retired General Khalifa Haftar fighting Islamist groups such as Ansar Charia in Libya has reached a boiling point. The two sides have since agreed to a humanitarian truce in order to evacuate civilians from battle zones. ALGIERS, ALGERIA ... continue reading


Former African child slave speaks out Watch

Image of Anti-slavery campaigner James Kofi Annan is pictured at a school run by his charity Challenging Heights, which helps former child slaves.

By Emma Batha, Thomson Reuters Foundation

At six years old James Kofi Annan was sold into slavery. For seven years he risked his life diving into the murky waters of Ghana's vast Lake Volta to untangle fishing nets. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Today Annan runs a charity which is credited with ... continue reading


Terrorist threat remains relevant in Egypt Watch

Image of Said group, Ansar Beit al Maqdes, doesn't intend to give up and threatens to go far in its war against the Egyptian decision-makers, including military power which toppled former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Egypt is likely to become a favorite target among militant Islamist groups. The alleged interference of Marsha al Sissi coupled with his commitment to wage war against Islamist militias is likely to inflame like-minded terrorist groups in the region. ALGIERS, ... continue reading


21st Century SHAME: Almost 36 million people living as slaves worldwide Watch

Image of Mauritania was again the country where slavery was most prevalent by head of population while Qatar, host of the 2022 World Cup, rose up the rank from 96th place to be listed as the fourth worst country by percentage of the population.

By Katie Nguyen, Thomson Reuters Foundation

Almost 36 million people are living as slaves across the globe with an index on Monday listing Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Haiti, Qatar and India as the nations where modern-day slavery is most prevalent. LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The Walk Free Foundation, ... continue reading


Eleven drug smugglers arrested south of Algeria Watch

Image of The connection of these smugglers with Islamist armed groups is heavily felt among the civil society, wherein security remains the chief concern.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

Eleven smugglers were arrested this past weekend in Algeria's south by the People's National Army. News of the arrest was made in a statement released by the Ministry of Defense and was relayed in local newspapers. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic Online) - In the ... continue reading


Sixteen people injured in Cairo metro train explosion Watch

Image of Since the fall of former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt has been regularly shaken by the attacks.

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

An explosion injured at least 16 people in a subway car in Cairo. The attack came day after Egyptian terrorist groups pledged their allegiance to Islamist State. These groups wasted little time, detonating the train bomb on Thursday. ALGIERS, ALGERIA (Catholic ... continue reading


VIDEO: What's scarier than a shark? How about a GIANT COBRA on the beach! Watch

Image of A man strolling along the beach encountered a Cape Cobra, while it was taking a dip in the pool to soak its skin prior to shedding.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A South African man had the shock of his life while strolling along a Cape Town beach, when he encountered a deadly snake. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Jeffery Rinks, a Cape Town local, photographed the deadly Cape cobra in the shallows of Hout Bay, as it was ... continue reading


Ansar Beit al-Maqdess, Egyptian jihadist group pledges allegiance to ISIL Watch

Image of In an audio posted on its Twitter account, a reported Ansar Beit al-Maqdess recording says

By Kaci Racelma (Algiers, Algeria)

The Egyptian Ansar Beit al-Maqdess jihadist group, announced its allegiance to Islamic state earlier this week. The group's loyalty to al Baghdadi's organization comes as no surprise as other groups in North Africa have already pledged their allegiance to ISIL. ... 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, Ezekiel 34:11-12, 15-17
11 "For the Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I myself ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 23:1-2, 2-3, 5, 6
1 [Psalm Of David] Yahweh is my shepherd, I lack ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:31-46
31 'When the Son of man comes in his glory, escorted ... Read More

Reading 2, First Corinthians 15:20-26, 28
20 In fact, however, Christ has been raised from the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 23rd, 2014 Image

Bl. Miguel Pro
November 23: Born on January 13, 1891 in Guadalupe, Mexico, Miguel Agustin ... 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