Child Abuse 

And Sexual exploitation in South Africa

Some South African farmers make use of children to work on farms. They are vulnerable to be exploited and are made to work for long hours, and are paid in liquor. See case study 1

The gang culture in South African townships is part of our history of oppression, and is influenced by a variety of socio-economic factors.  Reasons for the formation of gangs have been identified as;

bulletA break down of the family structure resulting from measures put in place by the past government that forced parents to travel far distances to get to work or to work away from home.   
bullet

The Group Areas Act - that stipulated where non-whites could live and dictated the resources available to them. 

bulletThe policy Bantu (low level) education aimed to direct black or non-white children to the unskilled labor market, commonly known as gutter education, was put in place to ensure white control and prosperity. 
Black, disadvantaged youths find security in gangs where they can highlight their identity and empower themselves economically.  These young boys, with no skills to empower them, fall prey to the organized gang bosses and unscrupulous employers who recruit them to participate in the sexual exploitation, abuse and trafficking of girl children.  See case study 2  

South Africa has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Amongst the methods used by these gangsters include:

bullet

Girl children being trafficked into the gangs.

bullet

Girls in the gang recruiting girls off the street by inviting them to the house becoming friends with them and eventually introducing them to drugs. 

bullet

Male members in the gang recruit girls at clubs.

bullet

Girl children being abducted.

bullet

The girls are held captive for periods ranging from a few days to 3 months.

bullet

The girls are forced on hard drugs and eventually become addicted.

The trafficking industry is one of the fastest growing and most lucrative criminal enterprises in the world.  Profits are enormous; generating billions of dollars annually toward the coffers of organized crime syndicates, and is second only to drugs and guns.

Cross border trafficking of children and drugs date back from at least the nineteenth century, and was primarily from eastern Europe and organized by criminal groups with transnational links in Europe and the USA.  Today the operations remain the same, but have become more sophisticated and involves many more regions.

Only recently has South Africa introduced the schools act making education up until grade 9 or 15 years of age compulsory. (See children's rights to education and protection as stipulated in South African Bill of rights.

Some of the countries where child sexual exploitation and abuse occurs: America's Countries in North and South America. Asia Mainland China Taiwan, Thailand and India. Eastern Europe Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Estonia and Slovak Republic. Africa Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

South Africa does not exist as an island.  The countries listed above (and many more) is part of a global scenario that is infiltrating and destroying the heart and soul of our future generation that supposedly have to create or take over the reigns - as future leaders.

I will end with an excerpt from Thabo Mbeki’s inaugural speech.

“Those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value.  We too, as the peoples of South Africa and Africa, must together run our own Comrades Marathon as comrades who are ready to take the road together, refusing to be discouraged by the recognition that the road is still very long, the inclines very steep and that, at times, what we see as the end is but a mirage. When the race is run, all humanity and ourselves will acknowledge the fact that we only succeeded because we succeeded to believe in our own dreams.”  Thabo Mbeki (inaugural speech).

This is what Africans aim to achieve.  We challenge the rest of the world, especially those countries involved in child slavery, abuse and exploitation to join forces and rid the world of this evil practices. End

Article written by: Miss Z. - Business Science Student, and actively involved in the global plight of destitute children.

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