‘Kumasi Prostitutes Demand Their Own Single Spine’

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Signs of the Times! News One, operators of Ghanamma.com, recently reported that Ghanaian commercial sex workers in Kumasi are slugging it out with their Nigerian competitors, whose invasion has compelled them to lower their prices, tilting the Ashawo demand and supply curve in favour of the Nigerians. They blame the 'spoiling of the market' on the Nigerian agents who dump younger-looking and attractive girls on the Ghanaian market, forcing the locals to play second fiddle in their natural territories. With no Ashawo competition authority in place to hear their complaints, as we have for cases involving dumping and other trade infractions in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) system, the Ghanaians are threatening to embark on the kind of protest that employees of the Prisons service are presently carrying out. In their case, however, they would display all their wares on the principal streets in the metropolis. This is trade malpractice.

They have also contended that the Nigerian prostitutes are Ashawo while the Ghanaians are only commercial sex workers. That is good education for all of us. Did anybody ever suspect a difference between the two? The oldest profession has been with us since the days of old, and we have always associated it with all the evils we can summon at a given time, but we are yet to understand the dynamics and the nuances of the sex trade.

Meanwhile, the Assemblyman of the area, Osei-Banahene, has promised to look into the matter. How is he going to do that? Prostitution is illegal in Ghana, Right? So is homosexuality. I am not sure of bisexuality. Well, with allegations still rife that Ghana's parliament is full of homo and bisexuals, we may well expect a debate on dumping practices involving Ashawos and prostitutes. We may learn the difference between them.

All the same, dumping in any kind of trade is a serious malpractice. Already, Nigerians in Ghana are competing with their hosts for every pesewa. When they bought everything in plush Trassacco, raised the stakes in university admission and made an audacious presence in our banking industry, Ghanaians thought they would have natural control over the other sectors of the industries we have failed to improve since Nkrumah. But, President Atta-Mills gave them an even more important advantage by leaving the gates of the castle ajar for Prophet T.B Joshua. Armed robbery is now the fourth estate of the land, with Nigerians being the brains behind most of the bigger heists. And now, they have hijacked the Ashawo industry, practically snatching it from the Ghanaians and running it like a legitimate business in a country where the practice is outlawed.

We don't have information on how Ghanaian prostitutes are faring in Nigeria. From the days of 2 Lala (2 Naira), the Ghanaian immigrant in Nigeria has not really been respected, even though we literally repaired their educational system when Ghanaian teachers exodused themselves to what should by now be a rich country. Perhaps, what should interest us in this Asahwo story is the trend that Nigerians could pour into Ghana any time to compete in any industry after they have destroyed theirs. Presently, it is a fad for rich Nigerian parents to sponsor their kids to Ghanaian universities. After mismanaging Delta, they are eyeing Ghana oil. Maybe greed is what happens when a woman gives a country its name. The people of the Niger area! Let's call them Nigeria.

Kwesi Tawiah-Benjamin, Ottawa, Canada
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