2005-03-18 16:07:27This article has been read 1163 times.
There are concerns in the Upper West region that an age-old practice of kidnapping young girls for marriage is creeping back with alarming consequences.
Reports from the region say girls who are mostly teenagers are often seized on their way to school or to the farm and taken away to be married to suitors.Joy News investigations indicate that the practice of child elopement is said to be high in places like Sissala East and West Lawra Nadowli and Jirapa/Lambusie districts.
Officials say efforts to check the practice have yielded very little response.
This is partly because sometimes parents whose children are kidnapped are often aware of the diabolic plans of the prospective suitors who also influence them with gifts.
The Ghana National Commission on Children and the National Council on Women and Development have embarked on massive educational programmes to reverse the trend, which has gone deep into the fabric of the people.
Apart from carrying out programmes such as seminars, workshops and drama they also intend arresting and prosecuting perpetrators of the practice.
But often the sentences handed down to offenders are insignificant and not deterrent enough.
The practice is having an effect on the education of young girls in the region.
Officials say already only few girls attend schools and so with the elopement practice their situation has been worsened.
Mrs Claire Der, Regional Co-ordinator of GNCC said in an interview with Joy News said that the practice had stalled the education of a lot of girls in the region.
She said in view of the high rate of sexually transmitted diseases especially HIV/AIDS it was dangerous to allow such practices to persist in communities.
She therefore appealed to the government to recommend stiffer punishments for those engaged in the practice.