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The people of Sabegu deserves a pat on the back for taking a strong stand against the naked exploitation of our young girls


There comes a time in the life of a community when it is overwhelmed by a peculiar problem; paralyzed and unable to craft a meaningful solution, it throws up its hands in the air and literally gives up. However, if the community is determined to end the problem and grope its way out of the darkness, it must take drastic steps, even if that means passing laws that are draconian, out of place and punitive.

This scenario played out recently in the Sabegu community in the Tolon district. For years, the community has had to deal with two stubborn and persistent issues: their young girls migrating to urban centers in the south, primarily Accra and Kumasi, to work as head-porters, or kayeye and the marrying off of young girls.

Resolved to find sensible solutions to the problem of kayeye, the Sabegu community passed bye laws that will punish parents who intentionally send their young daughters to labor under very difficult and abusive conditions in the south and marrying off their daughters prematurely.

Mr. Hamidu Abdul Latif, the assembly-man for the district the community stated emphatically that the community is hell-bent on ending the problem of kayeye permanently and would not hesitate to bring the heavy hand of the law on those who defy the new legislation.

I applaud the efforts of the district assembly of Sabegu and its residents and share their concerns for the plight of their young girls. However, whether these effort will act as a deterrent and ultimately pay off remains unclear.

Kayeye, despite several well-intentioned and genuine efforts by government and civil society groups to minimize it and bring it under control, has consistently defied solutions. Kayeye it must said is part of a larger social, financial and economic problem afflicting the country.

That the northern regions is the primary source of young girls marching off to the south in search of work is not in the least surprising. The region has the highest rate of unemployment in nation and the group that is most impacted are young men and women.

Idle and with no prospects of a bright future in their region, they migrate outside its borders to seek their fortunes and often take jobs that are dehumanize them. The people of Sabegu have taken a strong stance against kayeye and their efforts should be complemented by a bigger and meaningful involvement of the central government.

Of course, I am aware of past attempts to help the kayeye girls, but if the girls keep retracing their steps back to the south then it means one thing, the solutions are not working. And something ought to be done.

I still believe the government ought to do more than it is doing at the moment. It should continue finding ways to create employment for the educated and uneducated youth in the northern region. Jobs will keep young men and women anchored to their roots in their region and eventually enable them to enrich and empower their various communities.

I had the unpleasant experience two years ago in Accra of seeing a young girl, barely 18 years of age, of northern extraction being unjustly treated by her employer. It is a scene I don’t want to ever see again because it does something to your core as a human and above all, it wounds your pride as a northerner.

In a nutshell, kayeye is the brutal and inhuman exploitation of young, uneducated northern girls, the monetary compensation notwithstanding and something substantial should be done by all to keep our young girls from exploitation. The people of Sabegu have shown us how it can be done.





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