Dear Editor – The YWCA in Honiara is appealing for help and assistance in dealing with a delicate and touchy matter on their doorstep.
It is said there are several young girls behaving in a promiscuous manner on a regular basis around the YMCA’s fence line and help is needed to see to their welfare and to be able to get the girls together in order to give them fellowship and proper advice on sexually transmitted diseases (STI’s) and the risk of HIV/Aids.
In one instance the YWCA has confided that one young lady was found in such a distressed situation after a broken partnership that she had contemplated suicide but is now being comforted and cared for by the YWCA.
If what the YWCA reports to be the case, after proper investigation, then I can only repeat what I wrote about some little time again, and I quote:
“Prostitution by a child is nothing less than child abuse and should be a national concern given urgent attention by the authorities at all levels, including the RSIPF Child Protection Unit”.
Child prostitution is a direct violation of a child’s human rights and no efforts should be spared to stop their exploitation, including the pursuit of those procuring children for sex.
I remember Sister Lillian, one of the Sisters of the Anglican Church, speaking during a workshop in Honiara in January 1999 when she said children as young as eleven were then involved in prostitution in the national capital.
She reported that many of the children had been driven onto the streets as a result of problems in their homes and consequently turned to prostitution to survive.
I was concerned then and have continued to follow the sustained work of the Family Support Centre, albeit from afar, in trying to address the issues of domestic violence and gender discrimination in the Solomon Islands.
This latest information from the YWCA seems to require urgent investigation and intervention and I would please request the appropriate authorities to contact the YWCA and to deal with the reported, alleged occurrences.