There are about 52,000 female commercial sex workers in Ghana, a health professional at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital has revealed.
Quoting a UNAIDS report, Dr Ernest Kwako said the population of female sex workers in Ghana is increasing, noting those involved in the trade always claim to be “traders” because female sex work is criminalised under Act 29 in the country.
According to him, there are hidden and imaginary population of female sex workers in most jurisdictions in Africa including Ghana.
The illegal trade, he held, was on the rise because of poor enforcement by the Police and in some cases, extortion from these female commercial sex workers.
Dr Kwako who is a gynaecologist at KATH made the revelation while addressing the conference of National Federation of Medical Students Association from across the world.
The conference was on the theme: “Access to Family Planning and Reproduction Health Services by Female Sex Workers”.
He observed that due to public stigmatization, discrimination and embarrassment, most of female commercial sex workers refuse to disclose their identity whenever they visited hospitals to access healthcare.
That, he explained, makes it difficult for health professionals to offer them the needed healthcare, advice and protection from various diseases including HIV/AIDS.
“They feel shy to attend hospital for regular check-ups, family planning and reproduction health because of public stigmatization,” he observed.
Dr Kwako indicated that female sex workers have rights to quality healthcare delivery despite their trade being illegal.
He thus appealed for the law on the trade to be softened so that they could easily access healthcare.