An analysis of the law and the effectiveness of government and non governmental organisations’ interventions in curbing under age commercial sex work in Epworth and along the Mukuvisi river bank Harare, Zimbabwe
Nyakurerwa, Teckla Sekai
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Child prostitution has become a global phenomenon which raises concern and alarm. In Zimbabwe children as young as eight years old are engaging in prostitution in the area along the Mukuvisi River and in Epworth, Harare. Child prostitution has become an acceptable source of livelihood in these two communities, due to lack of alternatives. Despite the prevalence of the practice and a comprehensive legal framework to curb it implementation of the law is lacking and the young girls continue to be sexually abused. This study investigates interventions that have been made by the government and by nongovernmental organisations in curbing the practice, in line with human rights obligations. The research adopted several methodological approaches. The women’s law approach was important to show the interplay between the law, policy and life. Lived experiences of the young girls in prostitution were used as the starting point. This approach in combination with the grounded approach unearthed the reasons behind this disturbing practice as well as the gaps in the implementation of the law. The human rights approach was employed to show the deficiencies in the law and its implementation in comparison to international human rights standards. Qualitative research methods were an important source of information through the use of interviews. The research revealed a number of factors which have pushed children into prostitution. The demand side of child prostitution was investigated and findings were made as to why young girls were in demand. Emerging issues such as the influence of relatives and peers offered new perspectives on the issue under research. The role of law enforcement and social services is also investigated to highlight the deficiencies in the law and policy. Interventions and strategies are proposed to effectively end the abuse and exploitation of children involved in prostitution. The interventions include legal, social and political interventions. The strategies point to the need to fully implement the law and policy in order to afford full protection against child sexual abuse to children in prostitution.