Child sexual abuse is “widespread” and “tolerated” in Madagascar, say UN experts

MADRID, Feb. 17 (Royals Blue) –

United Nations experts have denounced this Thursday that child sexual abuse is “widespread” and is “tolerated” in tourist hotspots in Madagascar.

Before the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, experts have pointed out that most children who exchange sex for money do so to survive.

The global network of civil society organizations that work to end the sexual exploitation of children, ECPAT, participated in the meeting, explaining that child prostitution has become a “trivialized” issue in Madagascar and is being performed “openly” in bars, nightclubs, massage parlors and hotels.

ECPAT has warned that poverty is the main reason that pushes children to carry out these practices and that some families even push their children, most of them girls, to do so. However, they have highlighted that child prostitution has increased in recent years.

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The organization has also noted that, although more than 250,000 tourists visited Madagascar in 2017 – the last year with available data -, the majority of abusers are citizens of the island, while the most affected areas are the capital, Antananarivo, and coastal towns.

UN experts have stressed the extreme vulnerability of communities affected by recurrent droughts and shortages of food and water and have stressed that malnutrition rates among children have worsened “exponentially” in Madagascar.

Thus, they have asked the Malagasy authorities to take measures to protect children from child prostitution and other violations of their Human Rights. In addition, it has urged the Government to strengthen multilateral and regional agreements to prevent sex tourism.

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His recommendations come after a review of the country, which in 2004 pledged to eradicate all forms of violence against children, including sexual exploitation and abuse.

Madagascar has suffered two very strong cyclones in recent weeks, causing loss of life and damage in various parts of the country. Extreme weather events have spread hunger across the country.

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