Girls dating in madagascar
Grassroots initiatives like CDEF say they have started to make progress.More victims are coming forward and, for the first time in years, some offenders are being prosecuted.In 2011, the last year for which official figures are available, 225,000 tourists visited Madagascar, a 15 percent increase over the previous year.Fifty-eight percent of those were from France, the former colonial power.The country’s poverty rate has increased by 10 percent or more. Roughly a third between the ages of 5 and 14 are involved in economic activities, according to UNICEF.But experts say that poverty alone is too convenient an explanation for Madagascar’s child prostitution epidemic.And while most undoubtedly came to enjoy the country’s pristine beaches and lemur-filled forests, significant numbers arrived with less wholesome intentions.
The Malagasy government has done little in response.
Reliable figures are hard to come by, but M’jid said there is unanimous agreement among experts that “child prostitution in Madagascar is at an alarming level and has dramatically increased in these past years, particularly since 2009.” The director of the Collective for the Rights of the Child and Family (CDEF) in Mahajanga, Sylvie Hanitra Rakotoarivao, said in December that 123 cases of child prostitution had been documented in Mahajanga, a city of about 200,000, over the previous month alone.
Foreign sex tourists account for much of the demand.
“It’s in the roads, in the restaurants, the bars, the nightclubs.” Steven Lauwerier, the UNICEF country representative, added that child prostitution has become something seen as “trivial.” In a number of documented cases, parents have actively solicited clients for their children.
Among many Malagasy, snagging a rich vazha (foreigner) is viewed as a laudable aspiration for a young girl.