30 July 2013
Government has noted media reports which allege that child prostitution is rife, and rapidly growing, in the eastern Free State region due to poverty. The reports indicate that some parents send their daughters on to the streets to earn an income to help feed the family.
Government echoes Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe’s call on South Africans to stop using poverty as an excuse to commit crime.
Government condemns such alleged actions and reminds parents that the South African constitution clearly states that children have the right to be loved and protected from harm and the right to basic education.
Acting GCIS CEO, Phumla Williams said, “We call on the law enforcement agencies to urgently look into the matter. These girls do not belong to the streets, but instead should be in school and be cared for and loved by their parents. Children’s rights are enshrined in the supreme law of the country - the Constitution, which is the cornerstone of our democracy.”
Government has put in place systems such as the Bill of Rights, the Charter of Children's Basic Education Rights, supporting legislation, policies and programmes aimed at protecting children. President Jacob Zuma has also signed into law the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill, which is aimed at addressing the scourge of trafficking in persons holistically and comprehensively. The police and the existing courts are also empowered under the Domestic Violence Act, Sexual Offences Act and Children’s Act to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence against women and children.
Government remains committed to fighting children abuse to ensure that they are and feel safe. “We urge communities to work together with law enforcement agencies and report such crimes. It takes a village to raise a child, and what we do in defence of our children will define us as a caring country,” Williams said.
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Issued by: Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)