20 September 2017

Swaziland: Poverty Forces Girls Into Sex Work

Photo: Bhekisisa
Demanding rights for sex workers.

Poverty is forcing girls in Swaziland to drop out of school and become sex workers, according to a media report.

The girls cannot afford school fees or uniforms, so some drop out. Others stay at school but also work as prostitutes, the Times of Swaziland reported on Monday (18 September 2017).

The newspaper featured Gija Emkhuzweni High School at Piggs Peak.

The Times reported, , 'It has been revealed that even pupils in lower classes at the school are engaging in such trade, with most of them blaming the high poverty levels as the main reason.'

It said the school was dealing with at least 30 disciplinary cases and that some of these included alleged sex work.

It added, 'The Head teacher at the school, Sam Nxumalo said, the driving force for the alleged sex work was mainly high levels of poverty in that some of the pupils cannot afford school fees or uniform. They are then forced to resort to sex work.

'He said in many cases, affected pupils often live alone or with relatives who are not their biological parents but only guardians.

'Nxumalo not only confirmed the allegations of some pupils engaging in sex work for "survival" but said it was a concern because the pupils were dropping out of school,' the Times said.

In August 2017, the Times reported that sex workers in Piggs Peak charged as little as E30 (US$2) for their services.

In July 2017, police reported some parents in Swaziland were letting men have sex with their girl children to determine whether they want to marry them. A police spokesman said parents were exploiting the children 'by using them as sex tools for quick marriages'.

In May 2017 it was reported that poverty-stricken parents of girls as young as fourteen were giving them to soldiers for sex in exchange for food.

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