No Justification for Child Sexual Exploitation

The sexual exploitation of little girls is on the rise. There have been cases of sexual exploitation of innocent girls in Epworth, Beitbridge, Chitungwiza, Hopley to mention a few places. However, the one which has shocked us all is the one still fresh in our minds involving the nine-year-old little girl.

It is such a shame that older men, who are looked up to in families are found having their way with innocent girls as young as nine and claiming to pay for the sex. There can never be justification for an older man to claim to have paid for sex with a little girl. It’s rape. It’s criminal.
It is even wrong for any sane person to define these exploited girls as ‘prostitutes/ sex workers’. These terms cannot be identified with little girls who are being preyed on by older men for cheap sex.

My heart bleeds for our girls. My nine-year-old niece told a folk story over the August holiday, a story that had no ending, a story the family just had to listen to so that she would not get discouraged. The story had a moral message, it kept us going but it went on until she began dozing off. After the story, I picked her up for bed and we all went to sleep.

My niece’s story telling connected to the dreams that little girls who are part of GWEN share and their aspirations are a reminder to me of how young and innocent they are. My own nine-year-old daughter is still playing house and brings me nicely decorated meals made of mud and weeds, she bakes cakes of clay and puts straws for candles. That’s what girls of her do and should be doing.

Now, to even think of an adult removing their clothes and raping a child in the name of “sex for money” is unbearable. Our girls are not safe. The concept of Ubuntu is slowly dying away, but it must not rot if there is any hope for Zimbabwe.

I urge those with the sexual appetite, not to quench that thirst by exploiting innocent little girls. This is a ghastly act that can never be justified. There are older sex workers who can willingly negotiate for sex.

If these men care so much about providing income to disadvantaged girls, why not just give them the money or food, without exploiting them sexually. These innocent little girls cannot negotiate for pocket money from parents or guardians, cannot even talk about saying no to sex, they cannot make decisions.

A child cannot be called a prostitute, for she is only being exploited and is clearly unable to make decisions on sex.

It is the responsibility of adults to take care of the little girls, not force them into sexual exploitation or child labour. It is irrational to even accept money from a child below 18 years for food or rent, especially money that is earned through abuse.

I urge local authorities to provide safe play areas for children. There is need for open and safe spaces for children to play. Spaces where children can be children, where they spend time playing and learning. They should feel free to go out and play and not to be confined to indoors with the potential of being abused and getting entertained and educated by televisions.

We need to come together as activists, parents, relevant community, school and government authorities to put an end to this heartless sexual exploitation of girls and bring to book all the culprits.

It’s time to act.

Kumbirai Kahiya is the Director of Girls and Women Empowerment Network Trust,(GWEN). She writes in her own capacity and can be contacted on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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