Department of Social Welfare in the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare has condemned the practice of ‘sex tourism’ where some tourists, especially of European origin, indulge in sex with little girls and boys living in tourism attraction areas.
Principal social welfare officer responsible for family and child welfare, Dominic Misomali, made the condemnation on Thursday during a monitoring visit of officials from United Nations Children Fund (Unice) and ministries of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare and Information, Tourism and Civic Education made to Dzimwe Community Radio in Monkey Bay, Mangochi.
“It is not normal to sleep with a girl or a boy aged 10 or 12 because the age gap between that male or female tourist and the child is very wide,” he said.
Misomali warned that abusing a child sexually is against Child Care Protection and Justice Act of 2010 which state that no person shall subject a child to a social or customary practice that is harmful to the health or general development of the child.
He said a person who contravenes the law shall be liable to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour (IHL).
The principal social welfare officer then challenged parents, guardians and the general public to ensure that children are protected from all forms of abuse, including sex tourism.
Unicef, through the Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare is sponsoring community and national radios to market six core child protection services in their programming.
They include community victim support units (CVSUs), police victim support unit (PVSU) child help-line, one-stop centre, reformatory centres and child justice. n