THE war against child defilement has become a global scourge and a challenge that has adversely affected the future of children, an adult who engages in sexual activity with a child is performing a criminal and immoral act, which never can be considered normal or socially acceptable behaviour in society.
Child sexual exploitation has been on the increase in the country. The shameful act is capable of robbing innocent children of their dreams, aspirations and dignity just as experts and parents have suggested that checks be carried out before teachers are hired and that government should ensure that sex and relationship education reflects in schools’ curriculum
According to the data, the highest prevalence rate of child sexual abuse geographically was found in Africa. Child abuse can result in both short term and long term harm, including psychopathology in later life and may cause infections and sexually transmitted diseases. Child defilement is a form of child.
The Department for Child Protection and Family Support has a legal mandate under the children and community service to provide for the protection and care of children in circumstances where their parents have not given, or are unlikely or unable to give them protection and care.
Child sexual abuse and physical assault in Nigeria is an offence under several sections of chapter 21 of the country’s Criminal Code and it is a form of abuse that includes sexual activity with a minor. The act is seen now as societal menace which comprises defilement, indecent acts, attempted defilement, child trafficking, child sex tourism, child prostitution and child pornography. The current statistics indicate that child sexual abuse is on the rise and has robbed children of their dreams, aspirations and dignity.
Unfortunately, those hosted in Maiduguri, Borno State especially the female children have suffered a lot of abuse by those expected to protect them (the security and other Camp officials), as against their professional and ethical responsibilities, this has increased the rate of vulnerabilities experienced by those affected by these conflict. Victims of sexual abuse, exploitation, defilement, in some cases they threatened to beat or shoot the victims should they disclose what they are experiencing.
The aim of this research was to assess the level of vulnerability experienced by members of the camps (IDP’s) in Maiduguri.
Causes of child exploitation and Defilement in IDP camps:
In Bolori bulin, the respondent said that idealness of the children in school or any means of learning trade poses or tend to present these children vulnerable to exploitation. Furthermore, the data showed that children of the ages of 12 – 15 years are mostly affected, just as girls are affected so are boys also affected by the exploitation and defilement, further probing to find out if the welfare played any role showed that they did not play any role because the children do not have the room to speak out about their problems.
One of the respondents said,
‘The welfare officers don’t know is happening because we did not tell them anything.’
While on Farya and Gubio IDP camp, the respondents said, the welfare officers perform the role of community leaders. They help ensure that everything goes well in the community.
Except that in Gubio IDP camp, the respondents also said, there was an incident of child exploitation and defilement with a Hausa girl, the matter was taken to the government by the welfare officials but nothing has been said about it.
POLICY APPROACHES TO TACKLE CHILD EXPLOITATION
- Improve incentives
- Make school attendance more accessible—more schools, flexible schooling
- Reduce or eliminate school fees
- Eliminate discrimination against girls in school
- Improve educational quality—teaching, materials
- Improve basic services—for example, access to clean water
- Remove constraints
- Reduce poverty
- Social safety nets
- Cash or food linked to participation in education
- Better labour market functioning
- Protection and rehabilitation services
- Remove children from hazardous and worst forms of child labour
- Enforce health and safety and other employment standards
- Provide access to education and health services
- Offer vocational training and other rehabilitation
- Introduce and enforce child labour laws
- Introduce and enforce compulsory education laws
Solutions To End Child Labour Are;
i Seeking assistance from the government on education and psychosocial support
ii Schools should be the first priority and try to educate them against the circles of life.
iii Assistance in cash and house hold items.
iv Teach the youth trading in other to keep them busy.
v They need sensitization and awareness with skill acquisition, to keep them busy.
vi Religious leaders should preach against child exploitation and its disadvantages.
Finally, the data also showed lack of food is one of the cause of child exploitation and defilement. Most affected by these are children between the ages of 9–18years and are mostly boys and girls alike.
Source: Aishatu Sabo