Kids in Africa’s sex industry

Posted on November 23, 2015 12:00 am

There is an estimated 100,000 children in Sub Saharan Africa who are being exploited to work in a multimillion dollar of commercial sexual businesses according to new survey conducted recently. The number of falling victims of the sexual abuse is on increase and most affected countries are South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. It is affecting every country in Sub Saharan Africa. The report encouraged African governments to take the issue more seriously because it considered that the current law enforcement toward such a case as very weak.However, the report authors underlined that the law enforcement was not the only solution against cases of abusing the minors because it did not address the causes.Report said that because the core problem laid on poverty and lack of education, all elements in African societies should put sufficient efforts to raise the awareness in the communities, empower people to protect the minors and establish a safety network for children. It also notes the the law enforcement in the continent was weak because the officers were often hesitant to arrest a perpetrator because it would make a family lost their basic income.Rapid growth of information and telecommunication technology, especially the internet, played a major role in exacerbating the phenomenon of the child sex tourism.

Child abuse is the primary reason as to why most African children have ended up as commercial sex workers.In a shocking finding, the largest percentage of child abusers in Africa were found to be the parents and relatives themselves. In 2014, the report notes 48% of child abusers the parents and mothers were worse abusers than the fathers. Mothers made up 36% of perpetrators in child abuse cases while 12% were fathers. Together, parents made up 48% of child abusers in incidents recorded last year in Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola and Ghana.This has been consistent for the last five years the research has been conducted and recommends parents should learn to strike a balance between work and parental responsibilities and author’s don’t blame mothers completely. Some mothers have to juggle their career and family and are burdened by multiple responsibilities as per African traditions adding that fathers should to chip in with home duties to reduce the pressure on mothers.Report also revealed that child abuse statistics from Nairobi, Lagos, Pretoria, Accra were constantly above 55% of the total cases in their countries.On another matter,report authors hoped to see an increased percentage of children enrolled in care centres from the current 1% to 10% by 2020.“This is in line with African Union policy in encouraging the participation of women in the work force.

Nairobi, Kenya's capital has one of the highest rates of child abuse in Africa
Nairobi, Kenya’s capital has one of the highest rates of child abuse in Africa

One of the AU’s objectives is to increase the number of women from the current 25% to at least 40% of the total work force by 2025.The study showed that the largest number of cases, or 51 per cent, involved more than one type of abuse, including physical abuse. The second most common type of abuse was child neglect, which is a pattern of failing to provide for a child’s basic needs including food, hygiene and clothing. Other cases involved emotional abuse and physical violence.The largest number of cases, were caused by the parents’ “lack of knowledge and skills in child care,” such as not being able to differentiate abuse and discipline.Other cases were triggered by the parents’ social isolation, as well as their stress stemming from financial difficulties while a minority number of abusers had conflicts with either their spouse or other family members. Also, the majority of the abusers,were unemployed.One of the child abuse victims in Nigeria encountered by researchers had bruises all over her body when she was reported by her school teacher. Trying to hide her scars and bruises, the middle school student would always wear thick, black tights even in summer. Her parents would hit her whenever she didn’t meet her curfew, or did not dress “appropriately” for her age in accordance with the Hausa culture.When one of the author’s of the report visited the victim’s home in Kaduna state to speak with her parents, they told him, “Who do you think you are to interfere with our private lives? We disciplined her because she’s ours and we love her so much. What more do you need?”Her father also told the author that he, too, had been “disciplined” the same way by his parents when he was a child, and that he didn’t think ”there was anything wrong” with it.“

There is still a general perception among Hausa ethnic group that a parent knows about his or her child the best, and that children are possessions or properties of their parents rather than independent beings,” author told your blogger in chinwag. “Hausa culture which emphasises hierarchy and respect for the elders, has long favored parental rights over children’s rights. “The number of child abuse cases are increasing partly because more people are acknowledging what it is and report whenever they witness the victims or abusers.”The report said being exposed to abuse during the first four years of one’s life can be particularly dangerous, and it can severely damage a child’s social development and leave lifelong psychological scars. Abusive or neglectful behavior toward infants include limited physical contact with the child such as no kisses or hugs or other signs of affection and failing to bathe or feed the baby regularly. “Abused children cannot express emotions safely, adult survivors of this abuse can struggle with anger and have a difficulty maintaining relationships,” the report said.“It is necessary to make it mandatory for all parents in Africa with young infants to receive education on parenting, and for all medical institutions and health care workers to check for signs of child abuse when they receive children patients for regular health check-ups.”Studies have long shown that personal stress influences a parent’s behavior toward their children. African parents who are financially struggling or having marriage stress have a higher chance of abusing or neglecting their children. Now you know why African kids have no future, and are engaging in commercial sex business at tender age thanks to pedophiles roaming the continent as tourists.

Contador Harrison