South Sudan Child Prostitution on the Rise
The International Association International Gulf Organization expresses concern over the rise in child prostitution in South Sudan.
Out of the estimated 3,000 street-children in Juba, 500 girls are estimated to be involved in prostitution. A survey conducted in September 2013 found that 31 percent of 159 street girls surveyed were victims of commercial sexual exploitation.
South Sudan’s violent conflict that erupted in 2013 left one million displaced people. Many children lost their parents to the conflict or were displaced internally, forced to provide themselves. These groups of children are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
Reports have come in, stating girls as young as 12 working in the sex trade, either because they were lured by relatives or because they were trafficked into prostitution.
Some reports have indicated that weak law enforcement agents are further exploiting these young girls and women, often conducting raids to extort money from them. However, Colonel James Monday Enoka, Director of Public Relations at the Ministry of Interior has denied these allegations and said that no cases of misconduct or abuse by the police in brothel areas have been brought to his attention. “Many people these days wear uniforms, they may not even be police,” said Col. Enoka.
Regina Ossa Lullo, Director of Gender and Child Welfare at The Ministry of Gender, Child and Social Welfare, says the ministry is aware of the instances of trafficking, but says it lacks resources to investigate the topic.
iaIGO strongly criticizes the deteriorating situation in South Sudan with regards to child prostitution and urges the government to address the issue immediately. The state must ensure that law enforcement agents are effectively targeting the issue and protecting the rights of women and children. It must also seek to remedy loopholes in the legal system to ensure that women and children are protected from trafficking, sexual exploitation and abuse.