Rushinga Records Highest Number Of Child Sexual Exploitation Cases
30 June 2023
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RUSHINGA district has recorded the highest number of child sexual exploitation cases in Zimbabwe, with the government and its partners engaging traditional and religious leaders in Mashonaland Central province to curb the vice.

Chiefs and religious leaders in Mashonaland Central province have been roped in the fight to curb child sexual exploitation, with statistics showing that one in every two girls in the province is married before the age of 18.

The figures from the 2019 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey also show that the Rushinga district has the highest figures.

“Unless we find strategies to ensure that girls and women have a chance to reach their full potential, the country’s development remains elusive individually and collectively we can work together to get all girls in school and keep them there. It is within our capacity as leaders to plant seeds for the future of our girls,” said the Permanent Secretary for Women Affairs Community Small and Medium Enterprises Development Mr Moses Mhike.

Chiefs and religious leaders who met in Mazowe on Monday welcomed the drive to end the social ill.

“In our culture, a child is never married before reaching 20 or 21 years.

This is foreign to us and some do it in the name of culture which is wrong. In Rushinga we are close to the border with Mozambique so you find there it’s not a crime and some marry children and migrate there or import their culture,” said one resident.

“We welcome this fight against child marriages. In Shamva we already have bylaws to fight child marriage and we hope with this intervention other Chiefs will adopt such laws,” added another resident.

The campaign is being implemented in Rushinga under the theme: ‘Give me a chance. I’m a child, not a wife.’

“Our campaign is aimed at that girls need a chance to do what they desire to do in life. Part of the campaign you will see on radio, TV, and social media but we will see that it’s important for us to get into the community because those are the high prevalence areas. And we go there to have conversations with the traditional and religious leaders,” said a Representative for Population Services for Health Mrs Varaidzo Mabhunu-Maniwa.

The initiative will be taken to every district of Mashonaland Central province, with traditional and religious leaders have signed a pledge to work with stakeholders in their communities towards ending child sexual exploitation.- ZBC News