When sex is a bargaining tool

When sex is a bargaining tool

MASERU – POVERTY stricken but desperate for a bit of good life, some school girls are not seeing books as a path to achieve their desires.
For them the quickest way to gratify their needs is sex. Out in the villages, they hunt for older men and sell their bodies for a few trinkets and food.
A sex video involving two high school girls and two boys that has gone viral is a tip of the iceberg, according to experts and studies.
According to research by UNICEF an estimated 36.6 percent of children who participate in prostitution are driven into the vice by poverty.
Others do not enter full time street prostitution, but they still use sex as a bargaining tool.

Take the recent sex video involving the two girls.
Despite their young age, they have the nerve to demand money right in the middle of sex.
The video shows a Tšepo Christian High School girl in a sexual act with a man in the village of Koalabata, a few kilometres away from the school.
The girl is heard demanding payment for the sex.

Another girl in the video pushes the boy having sexual intercourse with her friend to hurry up and pay.
“You have been sleeping around with this girl for some time and this time around you have to pay her,” she is heard saying in the video.
The video does not show another couple, only their voices are heard.

Acting Principal of the school, ’Makarabelo Mosoloane, confirmed that the girls are pupils at the school.
The boys in the video are not pupils at the school, Mosoloane said.
Mosoloane said primary investigations revealed that their students go out to men in surrounding villages negotiating for sex in exchange for fat cakes (makoenya) and chips.
thepost cannot name the underage teenagers in compliance with the Child Protection Act.
The girls will be punished by both the school and their parents, said Mosoloane.

They also face ridicule at school and in the community.
The boys in the clip have been disciplined by the local chief, the school said in a statement released a few days after the video went viral.
“The video was taken from the boys’ apartment not at the school premises, like people on the social media were suggesting,” the school said in a statement.
Mosoloane said the Ministry of Education and guardians and parents of the affected students have been advised of the matter.

“The school has taken a decision to counsel both the students and the teachers of Tšepo Christian High School,” the school said in the statement.
“The school governing body has prepared a meeting with the parents of all the students to explain to them everything that has been happening,” read the statement.
Education Principal Secretary Dr Thabiso Lebese said the ministry has been suggesting programmes such as debate and sports for schools to keep students busy and avoid such incidents.
“But it is up to schools to decide whether they take part in the programmes or not,” said Dr Lebese.

“We are disappointed that at this time of examinations students are being involved in practices like this because they should be reading and preparing for their examinations,” he said.
The girls’ misconduct should not lead to their “crucifixion” by the public as this may affect the children socially and mentally, he said.
“They need the support of the public,” he said.

Professional Physiologist Dr Calvin Motebang said explicit social media context is increasingly influencing children into premature sex.
“Sexual intercourse at an early age is not something new, children even before us have been having sex at a young age but then it was something private that was not meant for the public,” he said.
“But now because children see sex on television and they have smart phones where they watch all kinds of materials, they want to practise exactly what they see,” Motebang added.
Poverty is also an underlying factor.

The 2018 Lesotho Economic Profile says “poverty remains widespread around 57 percent of the total population”.
It says about 75 percent of the population reside in rural areas and engage in animal herding and subsistence agriculture, although Lesotho produces less than 20 percent of the nation’s demand for food.

“Agriculture is vulnerable to weather and climate variability,” the profile reads.
Child prostitution caused by poverty is one of the challenges Basotho face.
The Lesotho National Human Development Report 2015 says high poverty creates practices of prostitution and transactional sex (sex in exchange for gifts or status) and also intergenerational sex is culturally and socially common.

It says orphaned and poor children “are thus susceptible to being ostracized and to child abuse and often resort to prostitution to survive”.
Many of these children are prone to catching sexually transmitted diseases.
AVERT, an online global information NGO which offers advice on HIV and AIDS, says in Lesotho young people are significantly affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
It refers to a study that showed that 13 percent of young women and six percent of young men (aged 15-24) were living with HIV.

The study reveals that in Lesotho, eight percent of young women (age 15-19) had sex with a man 10 or more years older than them, compared to one percent of young men of the same age.
In 2014, 6 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported engaging in sex for the first time before the age of 15, according to the study.

Kefiloe Kajane

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