Child labor exposes girls to sexual abuse in Tanzania, says Plan International

The organization Plan international warns against forced child labor. A scourge that is on the rise for the first time in twenty years. While the prevalence is higher among boys, girls are much more exposed to sexual assault. Example in Tanzania where many girls work in the mines.

Children at risk

In Tanzania, no child is allowed to work before the age of 18 in the mining sector. But in this East African country where the overwhelming majority of the population is poor, the reality is quite different. More than 70% of children are employed in fishing, agriculture but also mining, according to International plan. The latter is dangerous work in which young boys and girls are exposed to toxic substances and risk being injured with tools or being crushed by landslides at any time.

“I was digging tunnels, crushing rocks, or helping in mining. I was working really hard, sometimes 23 hours straight. It’s not normal.”

Daudi, 17 year old girl

at Plan international

A support plan

The young girl who testifies today was able to realize her situation thanks to a program launched by the NGO Plan international in the mining region of Geita in northern Tanzania. Since 2015, more than 20,000 boys and girls, aged 5 to 18, have been taken care of and have been able to resume their studies. Awareness-raising work was carried out with mining operators, families and children, especially girls.

“We educate girls about their rights and the importance of their education so that they gain self-confidence and dare to seek help when needed.”

Jane Mrema, child protection specialist

Plan International Tanzania

Put an end to “invisible” exploitation

The NGO, which focuses on education, has set up remedial education programs and alternative learning methods, as well as vocational training to enable the most vulnerable to get by. Girls are unfortunately the most exploited, according to Plan International, which says that one in three girls is sexually assaulted before the age of 18.

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An “invisible” exploitation because in their workplace, they are constantly confronted with significant risks of harassment, sexual abuse and gender violence which they never dare to speak about.

In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly 87 million children aged 5 to 17 are in child labor, according to a report of 2020 from the International Labor Organization and Unicef. An upward trend for the first time in twenty years.

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