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Girl-child prostitution, a disturbing trend: PART 3

CHARLES KUNGWENGWE


The past two consecutive weeks  saw us publishing  articles that did shade light on some of the causes  and implications of girl-child prostitution.In this one this writer will try to discuss some of the solutions to the problem.


 The first step is to improve our Criminal Laws so that they protect youths. Enforcement of these laws must be strict and deterrent measures must follow. That the girl is a prostitute , sexually receptive or hyper-active should not be a form of defense at all for the offence. The unreported Zimbabwean case of state versus Kereke, a former legislator, has set a good precedent and  must be a locuss classicus in this regard.


 Members of the public ,also, need to have hawk-eyed vigilance if they are to spot perpetrators and report them to the authorities. If needs be, though very difficult to implement,  young prostitutes patronizing beer-halls must be apprehended together with their clients for it takes 2 to ‘tango’.This is the approach followed in such countries as Sweden ,Norway and Iceland.


We have witnessed some of our overzealous ,but semi-literate ,police –officers harassing these youngsters .A possible solution to the above problem is  to ,therefore , offer refresher courses to these police officers so that they can be equipped with skills to translate their Criminal laws (not  interpretive skills, of course, for that is a preserve for lawyers and that will violate the doctrine of Separation of Powers since these  officers belong to the Executive and not Judiciary arm of Government).


To its credit, the Zimbabwean penal  code makes it criminal for one to allow or cause children under 18 years to either associate with prostitutes or be employed to become prostitutes by them(section 87 of the Criminal Codification and Reform Act) and also to have sexual intercourse or being involved in indecent acts with them(ibid: 70 ).

The question of what amounts to ‘allowing or causing children to become prostitutes’ needs no further clarification as it could be  through negligence or intention This(act of allowing causing) would obviously be an omission given that one has a legal duty to protect his children from all forms of hazards.This section denotes  intimacy with a child but does not expressly mention the position if she is already  a prostitute.

And this is a problem. We need ,no implied but ,a specific provision that criminalizes  intimacy with young prostitutes. The reader ,it is hoped , does remember that we have already discussed the loopholes of the Botswana penal code(section 147) with regard to the youthful ,who are subject to sexual exploitation,  in  the article entitled ‘ Do Botswana Criminal Laws Adequately Protect Vulnerable People’.

In that article we noted ,with concern ,that an accused person can raise the defense that either heshe is married to the under-aged(subsection 5) or is unaware that shehe is below the legal consenting age. This defense could also be invoked  by perpetrators with regards to toddler prostitutes.   


Honorable Members of Parliament are further urged to make law that is sensible and comprehensive(ble) ,and not vague or nonsensical,so that ordinary people and law enforcers do not encounter problems when dealing with that law. We call this ,in Latin, the ius certum rule.This could be a good starting point to prosecute involved parties.


Another tragedy is that these MPs have a habit of majoring on minor or trivial issues such as passing legislation meant to outlaw street-vending  while minoring on major issues such as the one in question. Perhaps  Jesus Christ was right in asserting that such like-minded people(like the Pharisees and Scribes) tend to strain out the gnat ,only to swallow a huge Carmel!.(Matthew 23:24).They should ,instead ,minor on minor issues and major on major issues.


Furthermore ,the various tools of statutory ‘mis’interpretation could be handy when dealing with such vague provisions following the ius strictum rule(judges must clarify  vagueambiguous legal provisions). No doubt, massive educational campaigns will provide a magic formula on solutions to this problem. Education may change men ‘s attitudes of perceiving women as sex objects to be manipulated by them. Men will be schooled to think with their brains and not reproductive parts. 

Also the girl child herself needs that education so that she shuns such worrisome behavioral patterns which could lend her into trouble and the targeted group ,for a start, could be children in both Primary and Secondary Schools. Likewise, education may change the girl-child’s negative perception ofabout herself as it is  this attitude that breeds most of the said evils.This might take time ,given that attitudes are die-hards ,but it is worth trying.

These young ,’puppies’, girls can easily be taught new ‘tricks’ of survival( tricks of sustainable development and not cosmetic solutions) as opposed to the old ‘hounds’ seasoned timers who are not teachable. As said before ,Unlike intelligence that is inborn ,knowledge is acquired and learning is not an event but ,instead ,a life-long process.

With life-supporting  resources such as education and money or their labor’ jobs’  available, the child, should she choose to remain rooted in prostitution ,would not be taken advantage of:she will surely insist on safe sex methods and will be in a better position to bargain for money that is commensurate with the services rendered(desperate people cannot do this). This money could be used to maintain her health eg by having HIV related STDs treated on time so that they don’t graduate into AIDS soon.


Our government ,NGOs and other well-wishers  and or ordinary Good Samaritans ,constituting the  civil society,have a moral duty to mitigate the plight of unemployed children by empowering them so that the temptation to resort to the vice of prostitution is nipped in the bud. No single entity or person can win this war singlehandedly but it must a be multi-sect oral approach and this is a corporate social responsibility or ploughing back to the community.

This assistance could be in cash or kind so that these ‘kids’ find means of survival: access to education ,provision of rehabilitationeformatory centers , medical facilities, different life-supporting skills, etc. Indeed these resources are needed in order to rescue  these kids from various forms of  mischief and also to allow them to realize their full potential.Both recreational facilities  and jobs are needed as’ all work and no play  tends to make Jonny a dull boy’  and the converse is equally true.


 It is a fact that both Zimbabwe and Botswana  have ratified a number of International instrumentsConventions on the rights of the child ,in general, and the girl-child ,in particular ,and notable examples are  the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the U.N Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Both countries are  also signatories of Article 34 of the latter Convention which requires member states to protect children from sexual exploitation, including prostitution and involvement in pornography. Unfortunately, and I need to reiterate what I said earlier on ,  the recent Constitutional Court ruling in countries such as Zimbabwe that outlaws arbitrary arrest of women on allegations of soliciting for paid sex on the streets ,tends to erode all these gains. Another question to ask is– have these Conventions really been domesticated or customized to suit local circumstances?.This issue must be re-examined.


While the Bill of Rights section of our Constitutions must be commended for protecting the  dignity of everyone, including the child, and freedom from torture, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and that is the basis of controlling or limiting  the imposition of corporal punishment, this development has made the child wild. In fact we now have cases of parental abuse by their own children. Remember the biblical adage ’spare the rod and spoil the child’ and it holds true (read Proverbs 23:13-14; 15:10 ;13:24;12:1).

Article 241 of the Zimbabwean Criminal Codification and Reform Act allows moderate punishment to be applied by teachers ,while acting in loco parentis ,parents and guardians while Article 7 of the Children ‘s Act of 1972 confirms the right of the said people to administer reasonable punishment. Given that the term ‘reasonable’ is either relative or situational and not fixed or final ,most peopleparents are scared to administer it at all and, as such, will not correct the misbehaving child on time.

In the name of human rights ,quite a number of the USA states and other ‘developed’ countries have totally abolished the administration of corporal punishment on children.This parental helplessness ,with regards to administration of corporal punishment, has definitely resulted in parental abuse at the hands of  the child ,the latter of whom is now free to behave in an I Don’t Care fashion.

Many stories abound of parents who have been dragged to court by their  deviant children after havingmerely reproached themfor misbehavior as  this is regarded emotional abuse by our laws. The new position of the law breeds street-kidding and prostitution. Admittedly ,some wicked parents were abusing the rod by over-using it and or using it excessively but surely the solution lies in controlling or limiting  its administration and not its outright abolition.


Having a proper dressing code to be prescribed is also another solution to the problem of child prostitutes as provocative dressing has a ROMANTIC MAGNETIC FORCE  or irresistible  appeal towards the toddler girl child and if possible the traditional extended family needs to be restored. Yes one inevitable  historical principle is change and culture is no exception.

Admittedly culture is not cast in iron but there are basic traits of this culture which are quite educative and it is these traits that we must retain or revive. No doubt  ,our African  culture is stamped with God’s seal of approval, as opposed to Westernization which we blindly follow.


As has  already been  noted ,parental fights or divorces should be the last resort .They further compound the problem for in this kind of environment it is always the children ,just like the grass in the proverbial tussle of two elephant bulls ,who stand to bear the brunt of being trampled upon. Parents are therefore encouraged to solve problems amicably and ,if necessary ,invoke various intra and inter family therapies such as mediation, counseling etc.  


In the case of evil spirits influencing the children or bad influence from peers, spiritual guidance could help quite a great deal. Take the children to religious leaders ; whether traditional ,Islamic ,Hindu ,Christian etc,   often and this could produce positive results. Parents should also guide their children in choosing good friends  since ’bad company can easily corrupt character’. Remember the popular hermeneutical saying ‘Tell me your friends and then I will tell you your character’.Additionally ,parents need to lead  their children  by example  since they also have a duty to educate their own siblings.


If the Judiciary is  independent ,and not Executive minded ,and or effective ,it can ,through the various tools of (mis)interpretation of statutes,  “correct” flaws in any piece of legislation that is ultra-vires the Constitution by ‘creating sensetreasure’ out of the legislative  trash.That is the amour of our judges.


Before concluding ,I need to share with the reader a few lines from the song  ,’Mwana Mudiki’ , by the Zimbabwean legendary musician ,James Chimombe, as this song  summarizes  the child ‘s virtues :  ‘Mwana Mudiki, Ingirozi ya Mwari,Mwana mudiki, Mudzimu mukuru we Zimbabwe’{A youthful person is God ‘s angel and epitomizes the country ‘s spirit mediums)


As can be seen, the plight of the girl child is real and touching and addressing it remains a toll order. Even the blind can see it . That being the case ,everyone in the community has a role to play in fighting against this monster before it wipes  all girl children. In this fight let us not forget the boy child who is also at the receiving end.

This must be a gender and not feminist issue! We really appreciate the various feminist -inclined laws that are in place but appreci-hate the enforcement  part of it.An enduring solution ,as I see it, lies in changing attitudes otherwise our gains will be like a match-stick that has been precariously inserted on a pillar of drifting sand— unstable. We might have the best laws in the world but as long as our attitudes(deeply rooted in our patriarchal culture)haven’t changed we will remain legging behind the desired changes.

This piece of work would not be complete if I did not emphasize the claim that, given the resources ,the much needed encouragement and a leveled playing field ,the girl child will (and not would) outshine or dwarf her male counterpart.

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The Daring Dozen at Bari

8th December 2020
JEFF---Batswana-smoke-unit

Seventy-seven years ago, on the evening of December 2, 1943, the Germans launched a surprise air raid on allied shipping in the Italian port of Bari, which was then the key supply centre for the British 8th army’s advance in Italy.

The attack was spearheaded by 105 Junkers JU88 bombers under the overall command of the infamous Air Marshal Wolfram von Richthofen (who had initially achieved international notoriety during the Spanish Civil War for his aerial bombardment of Guernica). In a little over an hour the German aircraft succeeded in sinking 28 transport and cargo ships, while further inflicting massive damage to the harbour’s facilities, resulting in the port being effectively put out of action for two months.

Over two thousand ground personnel were killed during the raid, with the release of a secret supply of mustard gas aboard one of the destroyed ships contributing to the death toll, as well as subsequent military and civilian casualties. The extent of the later is a controversy due to the fact that the American and British governments subsequently covered up the presence of the gas for decades.

At least five Batswana were killed and seven critically wounded during the raid, with one of the wounded being miraculously rescued floating unconscious out to sea with a head wound. He had been given up for dead when he returned to his unit fourteen days later. The fatalities and casualties all occurred when the enemy hit an ammunition ship adjacent to where 24 Batswana members of the African Pioneer Corps (APC) 1979 Smoke Company where posted.

Thereafter, the dozen surviving members of the unit distinguished themselves for their efficiency in putting up and maintaining smokescreens in their sector, which was credited with saving additional shipping. For his personal heroism in rallying his men following the initial explosions Company Corporal Chitu Bakombi was awarded the British Empire Medal, while his superior officer, Lieutenant N.F. Moor was later given an M.B.E.

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A Strong Marriage Bond Needs Two

8th December 2020

Remember: bricks and cement are used to build a house, but mutual love, respect and companionship are used to build a HOME. And amongst His signs is this: He creates for you mates out of your own kind, so that you may find contentment (Sukoon) with them, and He engenders love and tenderness between you; in this behold, there are signs (messages) indeed for people who reflect and think (Quran 30:21).

This verse talks about contentment; this implies companionship, of their being together, sharing together, supporting one another and creating a home of peace. This verse also talks about love between them; this love is both physical and emotional. For love to exist it must be built on the foundation of a mutually supportive relationship guided by respect and tenderness. As the Quran says; ‘they are like garments for you, and you are garments for them (Quran 2:187)’. That means spouses should provide each other with comfort, intimacy and protection just as clothing protects, warms and dignifies the body.

In Islam marriage is considered an ‘ibaadah’, (an act of pleasing Allah) because it is about a commitment made to each other, that is built on mutual love, interdependence, integrity, trust, respect, companionship and harmony towards each other. It is about building of a home on an Islamic foundation in which peace and tranquillity reigns wherein your offspring are raised in an atmosphere conducive to a moral and upright upbringing so that when we all stand before Him (Allah) on that Promised Day, He will be pleased with them all.

Most marriages start out with great hopes and rosy dreams; spouses are truly committed to making their marriages work. However, as the pressures of life mount, many marriages change over time and it is quite common for some of them to run into problems and start to flounder as the reality of living with a spouse that does not meet with one’s pre-conceived ‘expectations’. However, with hard work and dedication, couples can keep their marriages strong and enjoyable. How is it done? What does it take to create a long-lasting, satisfying marriage?

Below are some of the points that have been taken from a marriage guidance article I read recently and adapted for this purposes.

POSITIVITY
Spouses should have far more positive than negative interactions. If there is too much negativity — criticizing, demanding, name-calling, holding grudges, etc. — the relationship will suffer. However, if there is never any negativity, it probably means that frustrations and grievances are not getting ‘air time’ and unresolved tension is accumulating inside one or both partners waiting to ‘explode’ one day.

“Let not some men among you laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor let some women laugh at others: it may be that the (latter) are better than the (former): nor defame nor be sarcastic to each other, nor call each other by (offensive) nicknames.” (49:11)

We all have our individual faults though we may not see them nor want to admit to them but we will easily identify them in others. The key is balance between the two extremes and being supportive of one another. To foster positivity in a marriage that help make them stable and happy, being affectionate, truly listening to each other, taking joy in each other’s achievements and being playful are just a few examples of positive interactions.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The believers who show the most perfect faith are those who have the best character and the best of you are those who are best to their wives”

UNDERSTANDING

Another characteristic of happy marriages is empathy; understanding your spouses’ perspective by putting oneself in his or her shoes. By showing that understanding and identifying with your spouse is important for relationship satisfaction. Spouses are more likely to feel good about their marriage and if their partner expresses empathy towards them. Husbands and wives are more content in their relationships when they feel that their partners understand their thoughts and feelings.

Successful married couples grow with each other; it simply isn’t wise to put any person in charge of your happiness. You must be happy with yourself before anyone else can be.  You are responsible for your actions, your attitudes and your happiness. Your spouse just enhances those things in your life. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.”

COMMITMENT

Successful marriages involve both spouses’ commitment to the relationship. The married couple should learn the art of compromise and this usually takes years. The largest parts of compromise are openness to the other’s point of view and good communication when differences arise.

When two people are truly dedicated to making their marriage work, despite the unavoidable challenges and obstacles that come, they are much more likely to have a relationship that lasts. Husbands and wives who only focus on themselves and their own desires are not as likely to find joy and satisfaction in their relationships.

ACCEPTANCE

Another basic need in a relationship is each partner wants to feel valued and respected. When people feel that their spouses truly accept them for who they are, they are usually more secure and confident in their relationships. Often, there is conflict in marriage because partners cannot accept the individual preferences of their spouses and try to demand change from one another. When one person tries to force change from another, he or she is usually met with resistance.

However, change is much more likely to occur when spouses respect differences and accept each other unconditionally. Basic acceptance is vital to a happy marriage. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “It is the generous (in character) who is good to women, and it is the wicked who insults them.”
“Overlook (any human faults) with gracious forgiveness.” (Quran 15:85)

COMPASSION, MUTUAL LOVE AND RESPECT

Other important components of successful marriages are love, compassion and respect for each other. The fact is, as time passes and life becomes increasingly complicated, the marriage is often stressed and suffers as a result. A happy and successful marriage is based on equality. When one or the other dominates strongly, intimacy is replaced by fear of displeasing.

It is all too easy for spouses to lose touch with each other and neglect the love and romance that once came so easily. It is vital that husbands and wives continue to cultivate love and respect for each other throughout their lives. If they do, it is highly likely that their relationships will remain happy and satisfying. Move beyond the fantasy and unrealistic expectations and realize that marriage is about making a conscious choice to love and care for your spouse-even when you do not feel like it.

Seldom can one love someone for whom we have no respect. This also means that we have to learn to overlook and forgive the mistakes of one’s partner. In other words write the good about your partner in stone and the bad in dust, so that when the wind comes it blows away the bad and only the good remains.

Paramount of all, marriage must be based on the teachings of the Noble Qur’an and the teachings and guidance of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To grow spiritually in your marriage requires that you learn to be less selfish and more loving, even during times of conflict. A marriage needs love, support, tolerance, honesty, respect, humility, realistic expectations and a sense of humour to be successful.

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Chronic Joblessness: How to Help Curtail it

30th November 2020
Motswana woman

The past week or two has been a mixed grill of briefs in so far as the national employment picture is concerned. BDC just injected a further P64 million in Kromberg & Schubert, the automotive cable manufacturer and exporter, to help keep it afloat in the face of the COVID-19-engendered global economic apocalypse. The financial lifeline, which follows an earlier P36 million way back in 2017, hopefully guarantees the jobs of 2500, maybe for another year or two.

It was also reported that a bulb manufacturing company, which is two years old and is youth-led, is making waves in Selibe Phikwe. Called Bulb Word, it is the only bulb manufacturing operation in Botswana and employs 60 people. The figure is not insignificant in a town that had 5000 jobs offloaded in one fell swoop when BCL closed shop in 2016 under seemingly contrived circumstances, so that as I write, two or three buyers have submitted bids to acquire and exhume it from its stage-managed grave.

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