MPs outraged over teen girls abuse

HARARE - Legislators on Tuesday expressed shock over underage commercial sex work in Epworth, Hopley and Caledonia and called on the government to swoop on and arrest paedophiles who are targeting poverty-ravaged young girls, raping and sexually exploiting them.

Presenting her motion in the National Assembly on sexual abuse of young girls Proportional Representation MP Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) said when there is something that affects adults, the government is very quick to address it and yet they do not want to address issues affecting children.

“The police in this country know what is happening to these kids every other day. We know the places in which this is happening,” Misihairambwi-Mushonga said.

“It is not difficult to deal with this particular issue. We just can take a few policemen and I personally today can walk with you and say, let us go in that particular street in Epworth, Mabvuku/Tafara and Gwanda and you will find these people and we will arrest them.

“The issue of rampant child sexual exploitation has caught the attention of the nation following a publicity campaign led by Katswe Sistahood, which involved an interview with the affected children on a local radio.

Zimbabweans in and out of the country responded to the news with shock and outrage, with many offering to provide financial support to the under-age girls being sexually exploited for survival.

According to Misihairabwi-Mushonga who also visited the young girls, they are charging as little as 25 cents for their service.

“These were not children that were coming from one particular community; they were children coming from different parts of this country. I sat there and looked at babies. I looked at children who are 8 and 9 years describing what it is to be in the streets as they get paid 25 cents mostly by men who are about 60 or 65 years.

“I sat in that room and for two hours, I did nothing but cry out because as you looked at these children, most of them had lost their mothers and fathers.

“The reason why I am upset about this particular motion is that Katswe brings this out. What happened to Katswe? Firstly, Social Welfare swoops on Katswe and did not to ask them where these children are and where this is happening. They arrested Katswe.”

MDC MP for Tafara/Mabvuku James Maridadi blasted Labour minister Priscah Mupfumira for failing to take action.

“Mupfumira must give a ministerial statement to this House and say exactly what she has done and what she intends to do. Ever since she was taken to those girls that are being abused, what has she done and what does she intend to do as government? She has not done that.

“I cannot understand how an adult; a mother, father or grandparent would see five girls who are all below the age of 14 that are being abused by men every night. You see them, talk to them and you go back home, have your supper and you sleep. How do you sleep?

“What we need to do as Parliament is instruct the police to go tonight and make sure that those girls that are being abused are picked. It is not like we do not know where they are, we know where this happening.”

MDC proportional representative MP Thokozani Khupe said there is need for urgent action.

“As Parliament, we must do something, because some of these things do not need a budget. You do not need a budget to go and arrest those people, for somebody to say, we do not have money and so on. Those men must be arrested.  We want to see them arrested.  They do not belong to society, they belong behind bars.”

Zanu PF MP for Hurungwe East Sarah Mahoka said government should enact laws that approve castration.

“These men should be castrated.  The police should waylay these men and wear suits so that they can apprehend these men. These girls have become sexually active and it is difficult for them to stop.  The police should arrest about twenty men per day and imprison them. The law should not allow these men to be released and we use them as an example to others.”

Zanu PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke weighed in saying: “We should have castration for men and also have strong needles and thread to sew women’s private parts because there are few women who are also abusing children.”

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