Malawi Police Service in the central tobacco growing district of Kasungu on Friday morning withdrew 11 teenage girls from various resthouses within the Municipality in an exercise aimed at fighting child prostitution which police said is rampant in the district.
The girls whose ages ranged from 13 to 16 were briefly held at Kasungu Police Station while the station’s Child protection Unit made contacts to their respective parents and guardians summoning them to a counseling session.
Kasungu Police Public Relations Officer Sub Inspector Edwin Kaunda said that the girls were mostly those that had run away from their parents’ homes and came to the municipality to indulge in prostitution.
“Most of these teenagers have parents; they do run away from their parents just to indulge in immoral behaviours,” he said.
He said police will continue with the exercise to ensure the municipality does not slowly turn into a haven for child prostitution a vice he said is blamed for increased teenage pregnancies and high prevalence of HIV among teenagers in the district.
Back to school
Meanwhile, the Station’s Child Protection Officer Constable Ishmael Mdoka advised parents and guardians who thronged the station after getting wind of their children’s detention to ensure that the girls are sent back to school.
Mdoka observed that lack of proper parental care was one of the factors causing children to flee their homes and indulge in risky behaviours.
“As parents you have a very important obligation to properly take care of these children because they are our future leaders. Take them home and send them back to school,” he advised before releasing the teenagers to their respective parents and guardians.
The country’s sex workers are often arrested by police and charged with minor offences such as being found idle and disorderly conduct which carry fines.
Prostitution is illegal in Malawi but recently the country witnessed the formation of an alliance of sex workers to fight harassment and improve access to health care.
Mary Kumbweza Banda, who chairs the National Aids Commission, said empowering sex workers could spell “high condom use, increased HIV testing, screening for diseases and increased access to anti-retroviral therapy”.
She said more access to the services “will in the long run contribute to reduction of new infections.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :