NATIONAL: (By Yasir Habib Khan)– Child prostitution is going amok in South Africa with more than 40000 child sex workers engaged in the sex industry despite government effort to check the scourge in the length and breadth of the country.
According to NGO “Voicethierraise, about 10 million children worldwide are engaged in some facet of the sex industry. Each year at least one million children, mostly girls, become prostitutes. Children are more susceptible to HIV and other STDs.
A non-governmental organisation based in Cape Town called Molo Songololo recently organised the event to highlight the plight of thousands of victims of child abuse in South Africa and other parts of the world. According to a 2000 report by the NGO there were estimated to be around 40000 child prostitutes in South Africa. Some of them are known to have been abducted at shopping malls.
ANC government has shown great concern over media reports which allege that child prostitution is rife and rapidly growing in the eastern Free State region due to poverty.
Acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) CEO, Phumla Williams, has called on law enforcement agencies to urgently look into reports that some parents send their daughters to the streets to earn an income to help feed their families.
“Government condemns such alleged actions and reminds parents that the South African Constitution clearly states that children have the right to be loved and protected from harm and the right to basic education.
“These girls do not belong to the streets, but instead should be in school and be cared for and loved by their parents. Children’s rights are enshrined in the supreme law of the country – the Constitution, which is the cornerstone of our democracy,” Williams said.
She urged communities to work together with law enforcement agencies and report such crimes.
“It takes a village to raise a child, and what we do in defence of our children will define us as a caring country,” Williams said, reiterating government’s commitment to fighting child abuse.
Government also echoed Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s call on South Africans to stop using poverty as an excuse to commit crime.
Government has put in place systems such as the Bill of Rights, the Charter of Children’s Basic Education Rights, supporting legislation, policies and programmes aimed at protecting children.
President Jacob Zuma has also signed into law the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill, which is aimed at addressing the scourge of trafficking in persons holistically and comprehensively.
The police and the existing courts are also empowered under the Domestic Violence Act, Sexual Offences Act and Children’s Act to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence against women and children
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