Some Malawian girls appear to be making the most of acourt ruling from last yearwhich granted consideration towards prostitutes’ rights, despite the profession’s illegality, in reaction to the unfavourable economic situation that the [Southern] African country currently faces.
Some of the girls spotted were reportedly forced into prostitution by their relatives, but all of them are products of the severe droughts, food shortages and general economic sufferings in Malawi at the moment. It has been reported that many teenage girls in the area sell their bodies for as little as $2 for unprotected sex.
Malawi has been battling amajor food shortage since 2013, after the country was unable to reap any harvests due to a drought and then, in 2015, when severe flooding ruined farmlands, food stock and homes, making it difficult for Malawians to eat or make ends meet.
Last year, the United Nations forecasted that about 2.8 million Malawians will be faced with a hunger crisis and this is currently the case with Malawi operating on azero deficit budget and limited foreign aid.
Furthermore, Malawi’s refugee crisisdoes nothing to alleviate the situation. In the Dzaleka Refugee Camp, where over 25,000 refugees are domiciled, food shortage is the order of the day and girls, such as the ones seen on the streets of Blantyre, have had to resort to selling their bodies, in addition to their constant exposure to sexual exploitation and violence.
The National AIDS Commission has expressed worry over the fact that the emergence of the girls in Blantyre and their sexual activities could escalate, thereby, hindering efforts to prevent the spread of the disease in the country.