By Michael Gwairsa
ALCOHOL and substance abuse has been blamed for increased cases of young girls engaging in prostitution/sex work around the country.
According to a recent study by Shamwari YemwanaSikana (SYS), a local community based organization that seeks to promote the rights and empowerment of the girl child in the home, school and community, most young girls below the legal age of consenting to sex were falling prey to sex work owing to increased use of drugs like Msombodia, Bronco, Weed among others.
“Alcohol abuse is a major driver of irresponsible sexual behavior among young people as both registered and unregistered bars/ beer halls(mashabhini) sell alcohol to young people especially in high density areas, Mbare, Epworth, Chitungwiza, Tafara and other areas. These unemployed youths and destitute who are idle and desperate in the streets suggest they have no option but to take these alcohols sometimes illegal in a bid to curb their desires.This consumption of alcohol leads to unacceptable behaviors that have repercussions which will be explained later.
“They are illicit brews like Kachasu and Musombodiya that are made and are easily available to the youths who are unemployed that have become the order of the day. The prices of such Kachasu and Musombodiya ranges from $0.50 depending on how much one wants to consume. Various containers are used from as small as a 330 ml can to 1 liter bottle that is used to consume these illicit alcohols” said SYS in the study.
They added that the alcohols are many a times sold in legal and illegal establishments whose patrons do not care who buys as long as they are paying.
“After the consumption of these illicit brews youths(boys & girls)become uncontrollable and to that end they cast a blind eye on their responsibilities by indulging into sexual activities.
“Girls who have been exposed to alcohol engage in such activities due to poverty and poor family set up in their homes, thus leading to unplanned pregnancies among teenagers.This then leads to young girls and boys entering into marriages of circumstances no matter the party involved.”
Meanwhile, SYS said young people look for ways to have fun and to fit in with the crowd thus in the high density suburbs ‘they have various parties.
“The type of parties organized that also have high levels of legal and illicit brews such as sex races, pasapasa parties,nude parties, sleep overs, vuzuparties, and white parties, among others. This also has left only sorrows as they have become so rampant with these high alcohol consumption rates thus exposing young people to mostly unprotected sex leading to unwanted pregnancies and child marriages.
“These actions which are through choices result in unwanted and irresponsible sexual activities have exposed youths especially the girl child to various issues like STIs and teenage pregnancies which subsequently leads to early child.”