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SRHR Actors For Increased Development of Young People

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World Day of the Fight Against Sexual Exploitation - 4th March

World Day of the Fight Against Sexual Exploitation - 4th March

Wednesday 25th March 2020

By Andy Rakotovao

This year is the 12th edition fo the World Day of the Fight Against Sexual Exploitation, which was initiated by NGO GIPF (Groupe International de Paroles des Femmes).

Sexual exploitation or sexual activity for commercial purposes is « any sexual activity in exchange of valuable things ». In other words, sexual exploitation turns a human being into a mere commodity and is a violation of the basic human rights of a person.

A common worldwide sexual exploitation form is sexual exploitation of children, this involves using children or adolescents in sexual activities. Children that live under poverty, crisis situations or even were left on their own are the most vulnerable and exposed to the risk of child prostitution. Early marriage can also be seen as sexual exploitation in exchange for money or something like that. According to Shirley Mark Prabhu, an HIV specialist at the UNICEF Asia-Pacific Office, « child prostitutes doesn’t exist. Any so-called child prostitute under 18 years old is a victim of sexual exploitation. Doing so violates their rights to health, education and having a childhood ».

In Madagascar, we often hear about sexual tourism but according to the Terminology Guide for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, sexual exploitation of children in the context of travel and tourism refers to sexual exploitation of children by tourists, travelers and outsiders, whether they are nationals or foreigners. This happens in touristic towns such as Nosy Be, Antsiranana, Tuléar, Tamatave, Fort-Dauphin and also in the Capital, Antananarivo. According to the global monitoring report of the implementation of fights against sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes led by ECPAT International and ECPAT France, the age group of underages in prostitution falls under the age of 15. Among these underages, some are in prostitution to fulfill their basic needs as they are from impoverished families. Some are in due to the influences their surroundings, especially their close friends, have over them, to the existence and development of places like bars, karaoke rooms, massage parlor that allow underages to get in.

Sexual exploitation of children can have physical, psychological and social consequences. Chidren can suffer injuries due to violence, contract STIs/HIV. Psychologically, they can develop behaviovarl disorders, compulsive sexual disorders. Socially speaking, most of them are out of school, marginalised, which makes their reintegration difficult.

Sexual exploitation and sexual exploitation of children are violation of human rights and the basic right of children to an education and a healthy development. Let’s step up our fights against sexual exploitation !

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