A hospitality facility operating as a brothel under the name Zenith Hotel in Takoradi has been closed down by the Ghana Tourism Authority. The nationwide exercise spearheaded by the Tourism Ministry is to clamp down on unlicensed facilities. The closure forced the eviction of several prostitutes from the hotel.
The gigantic Zenith Hotel, a 2-storey-building located in the centre of the city, is the most popular brothel in Takoradi where women of all shades allegedly offer sex for money.
It has many stores at the front view; it houses two churches, and other businesses including a driving school, a tailoring shop, a drinking spot and a gambling centre. The facility aside prostitution allegedly promotes other social vices such as drug peddling.
There are 17 rooms, mainly single and double, which serve as the brothels with each of them accommodating between two to three prostitutes and in some cases four. The rooms have been partitioned such that the prostitutes can serve their clients simultaneously. The toilets, kitchens and bathrooms are in very unhygienic conditions. The rooms have very little exposure to air leaving a pungent odour.
The hotel’s license, obtained in 2007, has expired, and without a renewal, the facility is being used for commercial sex work. When the team of policemen, and officials of the Ghana Tourism Authority led by the Deputy Tourism Minister, James Agyenim-Boateng entered the facility, the Caretaker who ushered them in, absconded during an inspection of the facilities.
The team chased out some prostitutes who were serving their clients during the operation. Close to 30 of them, Nigerians and Ghanaians were ejected together with their belongings as they hid their faces from the cameras.
Police say their statements will be taken after which they will be set free. All other businesses and churches operating in the hotel were also ejected and the hotel locked up until further notice.
The Deputy Tourism Minister, James Agyenim-Boateng told journalists the prostitutes were not the target.
“Its parts of our efforts to bring all the people in the industry who are not playing by the rules within the law. Our primary focus is not the commercial sex workers here. We came here to close down the facility because it is operating without a license. But we could not allow people to occupy these rooms since the hotel has no license. So we had to politely ask them to pack out for us to lock up the place till such a time that the Hotel will procure a license,” he explained.
He said the exercise would be sustained and those found culpable penalized accordingly to ensure sanity in the hospitality industry.
“What we want to trigger, is to use some of these exercises as catalyst to remind these industry operators that they are not on their own. This industry is regulated and guided by the law so anybody who finds himself under the law, we will do whatever it takes to bring them within the law and part of these measures include the closure of facilities. Under the Legislative Instrument (LI), the penalty comes in two ways, a fine of cash or a jail term not exceeding twelve months or both” he noted.
SOURCE : Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/Radio Maxx/Takoradi
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