Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

5/7/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

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.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

5/7/2014 (1 year 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'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Africa

Pope Francis tells Ugandans to remember their saints and to live by their example Watch

Image of The Pope, speaking in Uganda says that openness extends not only to our loved ones, but to our enemies as well.

By Ann Schneible, CNA/EWTN News

Marking his first full day in Uganda with Mass to celebrate the nation's martyrs, Pope Francis said the call to be missionary disciples falls on all of us, whether at home or abroad, with our families or among our enemies. Kampala, Uganda (CNA/EWTN News) - "Like the ... continue reading

FULL TEXT: Pope Francis speaks to Kenyan youth, and how to avoid terrorist recruitment Watch

Image of The Pope Francis delivered lengthy, powerful answers with his own anecdotes, revealing that he carries a rosary and a pocket-sized Stations of the Cross with him every day, which he said keep him from losing hope.


An impassioned Pope Francis went off-the-cuff in a vast, widespread speech to Kenyan youth, touching on challenging topics such as how to stop youth from being recruited to terrorist activities. Nairobi, Kenya (CNA/EWTN News) - The encounter fell on the Pope's ... continue reading

A special look into the inspirational meeting between Pope Francis and Kenya's poor Watch

Image of


During his tri-nation visit to Africa this week, Pope Francis made a stop at a slum in Nairobi and praised those he met for their love of and emphasis on community and relationships - over what he called a vacuous, "unbridled consumption" that often plagues the West. ... continue reading

Will Pope Francis make a powerful change in Kenya? Watch

Image of Pope Francis arrives in Kenya -and chooses to spent time with the poor instead of rich Kenyan leaders.


Pope Francis arrived in Nairobi, Kenya today and has already ruffled feathers by choosing to join a resident of a Nairobi slum for dinner, rather than accepting President Uhuru Kenyatta's dinner invitation. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In an act worthy of his ... continue reading

'I had my hand on the door': Woman survives Mali hotel attack Watch

Image of Kathie Fazekas survived a terrorist attack at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Mali (ABC).


Following the Mali hotel attack that claimed the lives of 19 victims, Kathie Fazekas, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) employee, has stepped forward to reveal her terrifying experience with a gunman just outside her hotel door. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading

Pope Francis to visit Africa: 'How do you reconcile mercy and war?' Watch

Image of Pope Francis will be visiting Africa from November 25 through November 30.


Pope Francis is set to tour three African countries -Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic - November 25-30. Pope Francis is expected to address the secular lifestyle, competing Christian faiths and violence on the continent. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) ... continue reading

MORE THAN 20 DEAD - Terrorists holding over 100 guests, staff hostage at luxury Malian hotel Watch

Image of Armed gunmen, at last count eight men brandishing AK-47s, quizzed hotel guests about their knowledge of the Koran before they freed 80 people.


Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorists have seized the Radisson Blu Hotel in Bamako, the capital city of the African nation of Mali. At least 20 people including, a Belgian worker, a French national and two Malian security guards are believed to have perished in the ... continue reading

The terrorist group MORE DEADLY than ISIS that you NEED to know about NOW! (WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES) Watch

Image of Boko Haram is the deadliest militant group in the world (Getty Images).


Despite the recent Paris terror attacks and ISIS extremism in the Middle East and Africa, a new study released at the Institute of Economics and Peace at the University of Maryland found that the Nigerian militant group Boko Haram is the deadliest group in the world. ... continue reading

Was Queen Nefertiti's hidden tomb finally found? Two secret chambers may have been discovered in King Tut's tomb Watch

Image of Dr. Nicholas Reeves spotted what appeared to be a secret entrance, uncovering the


It's very exciting news for the archaeological world. Researchers at King Tutankhamen's tomb say there are new indications of hidden chambers that may be concealed by walls. Infrared thermography used to measure the temperature of each of the walls of the tomb ... continue reading

Cairo, Moscow vehemently deny Islamic State's claim they downed Russian jet over the Sinai Watch

Image of Officials are going through the plane's wreckage to determine what led to the tragedy.


Confusion reigns over the air tragedy that sent a Russian airbus plunging over the Sinai in Egypt the weekend. Altogether, 192 adults, 25 children, and seven crewmembers, all 224 people onboard were killed. Islamic State has released a video allegedly showing ... continue reading

All Africa News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • Daily Readings for Tuesday, December 01, 2015
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video
  • 'I HAVE GIVEN YOU FULL WARNING.' Dark Days - Did Pope Francis just ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • Who's really dying? Tragic reports surface revealing Russia kills ...
  • Heartbreaking true story of American allies in Iraq denied ...
  • St. Eligius: Saint of the Day for Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Romans 10:9-18
9 that if you declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and if you ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 19:2-3, 4-5
2 day discourses of it to day, night to night hands on the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 4:18-22
18 As he was walking by the Lake of Galilee he saw two brothers, Simon, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 30th, 2015 Image

St. Andrew
November 30: Andrew, like his brother Simon Peter, was a ... Read More