34 percent of girls under the age of 18 were married off to adults in 2021.
Editorial Comment

Fight girl-child abuse

IT IS worrying that transaction sex involving young girls is on the increase. 

While a report was done on rural Matabeleland, transaction sex is now rampant across the country and the government must do something to end the scourge that is slowly and surely turning cancerous.

According to statistics from a survey conducted last year in rural Matabeleland, about 

5 000 young girls were impregnated, with many of them ending up as victims of child marriages.

This was attributed to increasing poverty levels in the region as a result of the prevailing harsh economic environment in the country.

“Children are suffering a lot in rural areas as miners and others take advantage of them by engaging in sex with them in return for money for basic needs.

“In Matabeleland North and South — particularly in Nkayi, Bubi, Umguza, Umzingwane and Lupane — I recently conducted a study which revealed that at least 10 girls in each village had fallen pregnant.

“Most of these girls were living in difficult circumstances and so they engaged in transactional sex to survive,” gender and social inclusion specialist at Fathers Against Abuse, Nixon Nembaware, told the Daily News.

What is worrying is that parents were reportedly not chastising their children and in some instances they are reportedly behind the young girls’ shenanigans to earn some money for upkeep of the whole family.

According to a recent report by the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, deep poverty, fuelled in part by increasing inflation, has pushed great numbers of vulnerable Zimbabwean women living in the country’s towns and cities to enter commercial sex work or “transactional” sexual relationships.

The exchange of gifts or money for sex is now common among women aged between 15 and 45 years.

“It is less gifts like perfumes, dresses, haute cuisine dining and jewellery – as in richer and more sophisticated societies – than cash for basics like groceries, rent and school fees for the children of single mothers. Some have dared to demand cars in exchange for sex.

“The phenomenon, in a culture where all social indicators indicate catastrophic decline, reflects… “something for something in love.”

Transaction sex involving young girls is a three in the battle against HIV and Aids.

It is despicable and should be proscribed by all right thinking Zimbabweans.

The government has to take concrete measures to ensure an end to child prostitution. Perpetrators of such must be gaoled for a long time as a deterrent to would-be offenders.

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