One week after President Ellen Johnson-Sileaf made a controversial assertion that prostitution in Liberia was is not illegal but improper, the President admitted she erred in her assertion.
Justice Minister Christiana Tah in an interview late Thursday evening with FrontpageAfrica Newspaper, said she was instructed by the President to make the correction that she erred in her assertion about prostitution not being illegal. Minister Tah emphasized the President explicitly instructed her not to defend her but “make the correction that she erred so that the public won’t be confused on what the law is on prostitution”.
According to the Justice, Minister President Sirleaf said “we want the public educated and not confused. I don’t want it to be treated as a political statement. If it is not true that this is illegal, then explain it to the public. Then I stand to be corrected”.
Minister Tah said she spoke with the president from the United States where she is attending the 56th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations and told her not to defend her but make the erection about her assertion on prostitution.
According to FrontpageAfrica, Minster Tah said “she too researched the legal and moral components of the panel code relevent to prostitution, saying “it was worthy to hail the President’s acceptance of such an error, she hails the President’s action as being honorable for the mere fact that the President did not ask to be defended but to be corrected, making her “job very easy”.
President Sirleaf has come under intense scrutiny since her gaffe on prostitution from the Liberian public at home and abroad, taking the President’s assertion as offensive and think her assertion gives a seal of authenticity to prostitution in the country which will incentivize unscrupulous persons to strive on her assertion which contradicts the laws of Liberia and exploit Liberian girls and womanhood at the same time painting an embarrassing portrait of the country’s image.
The Revised Edition of the Liberia Panel Code on prostitution with title, “Offenses Against Public Morality” is as follows:
Chapter 18 of the Revised Edition of the Panel Code, titled ‘Offenses Against Public Morality’, Section 18.1 under the sub-title ‘Promoting Prostitution’ states: “A person has committed first degree misdemeanor if he: (a) Operates a prostitution business or a house of prostitution; (b) Induces or otherwise purposely causes another to become engaged in sexual activity as a business; or (c) Knowingly procures a prostitute for a prostitution business or a house of prostitution”.
Section 18.2 , under ‘Facilitating Prostitution’, states: “A person has committed a second degree misdemeanor if he: (a) Knowingly solicits a person to patronize a prostitute; (b) Knowingly procures a prostitute for a patron; (c) Knowingly leases, or otherwise permits a place controlled by the actor, alone or in association with others, to be regularly used for prostitution, promoting prostitution or facilitating prostitution; (d) Knowingly induces or otherwise purposely cause another to remain a prostitute. A person who is supported in whole or part by the proceeds of prostitution, other than the prostitute or the prostitute’s minor children or a person whom the prostitute is required by law to support, is presumed to be knowingly inducing or purposely causing another to remain a prostitute”.
The Women Wing of the opposition political party , the Liberty Party were among the prominent voices and the many outcry frowning on the President’s wrong assertion that prostitution is not illegal but improper, the unabated public condemnation could have played a significant role which propelled her to bow and admit she erred.
The fact that President Sirleaf could stay in the United States on a very busy official visit at the United Nations to address the controversy her last Thursday’s assertion has caused about prostitution and not wait to return home before addressing it, knowing that she is scheduled to leave today for Liberia, demonstrates her recognition of the consequential liability it could haver on her administration and ease the tension she is expected to face when she arrives home.
Excerpts of this publication is credited to FrontpageaAfrica