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By Godfrey Olukya 27-7-2013

Local and international bodies have expressed concern about the rampart prostitution carried out by under age girls in Madagascar.

Among the organizations which have today come out to openly condemn the act and advise the authorities to clamp it is United nations.

United Nations Special Rapporteur Najat Maalla M’jid has today encoraged the Government of Madagascar to step up efforts to combat
efficiently the scourge of child sexual exploitation, duly protect all children at risk and victims of sale and sexual exploitation and
severely punish offenders

Maalla M’jid expressed deep concerns at the banalization of sexual exploitation of children and at the impunity benefiting perpetrators.

While speaking at the end of her visit in Madagascar she said,“The scourge of sexual exploitation of children through prostitution or sex tourism is omnipresent and too often justified by poverty. Its exponential growth, in particular since 2009, underlined by all
stakeholders met, is alarming.

It’s actual scope remains difficult to determine, due, among other factors, to reluctance to report and fear of reprisals. The low number
of reported cases is very rarely followed by heavy sanctions, as provided by Malagasy law.”

The Special Rapporteur noted the alarming poverty affecting 92% of the population, as a result of successive political crisis. This great
socio-economic precariousness affecting families and communities has considerably increased the number of children out of school and the vulnerability of children to all forms of economic and sexual exploitation.

She also raised with concern the survival strategy adopted by many parents who encourage their children to enter prostitution.

During her mission to Madagascar from 15 to 26 July, Ms. Maalla M’jid met with various State and local authorities, as well as
representatives from UN agencies, the diplomatic community, civil society and the private sector. She also met child victims and went to the main spots of child sexual exploitation in Antananarivo, Toliara, Nosy Be and Toamasina.

Madagascar has a relatively complete legal framework but the implementation of these laws is significantly compromised by a lack of
effectiveness due to corruption, impunity and difficult access for children to reporting mechanisms ensuring their protection and
security. Amicable settlements take place at the expense of the rights of children, whose voice is rarely taken into account.

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