Issue 19, Prayer, World

Sex Initiation In Mozambique

Sex Initiation In Mozambique

STATISTICS

800,000 LIVES CLAIMED IN BEIRA BY HIV/AIDS IN THE LAST 10 YEARS

1 IN 10 ADULTS ARE INFECTED BY HIV/AIDS (HIGHEST RATE IN THE WORLD)

THESE GIRLS ARE 10 TIMES MORE LIKELY THAN THE GENERAL POPULATION TO BE INFECTED WITH HIV

WHERE? 

Poor families in Beira, Mozambique, find themselves in dire situations due to natural disasters like droughts and floods in the region, driving more women to prostitution in order to survive. Beira is a major trading port for distributing goods across South Africa, and thus, foreign traders and rich tourists frequent the area and are regular customers to these sex workers.

WHY?

Girls who lose their parents to HIV/AIDS become the ‘property’ of their new guardians, and many are then forced into the sex industry through ‘sex initiations’ where girls are raped, making them more attractive because they are perceived to be more experienced in pleasuring men. They are now termed ‘worked girls’, and their payment can come in the form of food, clothes, cash, or even a goat. If they refuse, they will be seen as ungrateful to their guardians, resulting in violent beatings. These girls are 10 times more likely than the general population to be infected with HIV.

WHAT?

In August 2016, the Government of Mozambique launched a programme called ‘Action for Girls’ to promote the rights of teenage girls and educate them on sexual and reproductive health. However, it was only launched in selected provinces. Beira is not one of them. The government has also been working with agencies such as UNICEF to run courses for police officers, immigration officials, and teachers to raise awareness about sex trafficking. Despite this, some police officers themselves coerce sexual favours from these underage girls. If the girls do not give in to their requests, the police officers often threaten to withhold help and ignore the girls’ situation.

PRAY FOR:
– Girls to be protected by their guardians instead of being exploited by them
– Local churches to rise up and take a stand against sex trafficking
– Righteous police officers and government officials who have the empathy and power to fight on behalf of these girls
– Providence of resources for poor families stricken by natural disasters

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