“I charge five dollars for short-time and twenty for an all-nighter,”
the sixteen year old girl declares, completely indifferent to what anyone may think of her and her profession.
She is now seasoned and conditioned in her way of life and she sees no shame or point in denying it. As she walks, mannerisms of soliciting sex are permanently imbedded in every fibre of her being and she cannot help but put on a show for all who see her as there may be prospective clients about. Her beautiful youthful face is tarnished by layers of gooey cheap make-up and powders as she smiles radiantly in a practiced way, eager to show off dance moves that would put any stripper to shame. This is the existence of many a girl child trying to weather the misfortunes of life and the unforgiving economy.
Children are sent to relatives in the urban areas in search of greener pastures when life in the rural areas becomes desperate particularly in situations of the impending drought. Trustingly they are boarded on buses with visions of a nice “aunt” who will send them to school, buy them clothes, food and other basic necessities. Upon arrival, shock sets in as they are introduced to the reality of the hunt for the ever elusive dollar.Other children are trafficked across borders, the poor unsuspecting parents coaxed into releasing their hold over their off spring with false promises of a better life, education, employment etc
Increasingly cases of child prostitution are being reported in Manicaland with young girls surfacing in popular night spots and bars about town to entertain revellers. A person will leave their child in the comfort and security of their home, to go and defile and violate another person’s child forced to be a commercial sex worker because of their less fortunate circumstances. One wonders if these people take a moment to reflect on how they would feel if their own children were being violated that way. Then again that may be pointless as increasingly cases are reported of biological parents abusing their own children.
The rapidly declining level of social consciousness around moral values and behaviour is disturbing. With the introduction of technology, social media platforms and the pursuit of economic survival, guardians often fail to have sufficient time with the children in their care. Children are being brought up on television programmes, internet and peer influences without the company of adults to guide their moral behaviour. It is common to see nowadays young children seemingly prostituting themselves for material gains or to blend in with their peers. The girl child is becoming more and more accustomed to peddling her flesh in clothing that over expose her, in efforts to attract appreciative males who may treat her to food from the local food outlets, hair extensions and other desired social amenities. Fewer parents are questioning the origins of objects children bring home such as cell phones, new clothes etc, some content to have been absolved of the responsibility to furnish their children with luxuries. Hence this is contributing to creating an enabling environment for child prostitution along with orphan hood, poverty and helplessness.
Child Prostitution is also rife amongst the boy child with particular emphasis on children living and working on the streets. Street boys are being lured with gadgets, money and other benefits to the homes of well-to-do businessmen who after providing them with the necessary requirements to clean up and be presentable, then go on to sodomize them to satisfy their homosexual needs. “This has become a common way to make ends meet,” reported one 12 year old boy who has been living on the streets for over 2 years. Children involved in child prostitution often have a tainted understanding or view of sex in their adult lives having endured negative experiences inflicted upon them. Also children are often not in any position or maturity to make informed decisions thus their health is compromised as they cannot even negotiate for safe sex and conditions.
There would not be a market for child prostitution if there was no demand. Hence adults are to blame for not only introducing children to child prostitution but also for exploiting their bodies and destroying their innocence. We all play a collective part in saving children from child prostitution by reporting cases to the nearest police station or organisations such as Simukai Child Protection Programme that advocate for child rights and against child abuse.For further comments, discussion or feedback please email email@example.com or visit our facebook page: Simukai Child Protection Programme or website: Simukaicpp.org