The recent report by BBC news that there is high rate of teenage girls living with HIV in South Africa; allegedly caused by sugar daddies and the unprecedented trafficking of teenage girls as sex slaves make many shudder and wonder about the future of the African child.
Runs is a slang coined for every behavior devoid of integrity. For example, a young girl who sleeps with rich men known as sugar daddies for money is said to be involved in "runs."
It is indeed worrisome that children barely out of their cradle are already involved with men old enough to be their fathers to the extent of contracting HIV and its attendant diseases. Also of concern is the indiscreet way young girls are lured abroad by human traffickers to become sex slaves. These are kids of school-age whom lullaby should still be sung to. In this case, young girls in villages are the major victims of human traffickers who promise their illiterate parents overseas scholarships and job opportunities for them. In a bid to alleviate poverty, their poor parents out of ignorance consent to the whims of the traffickers who turn their children to prostitutes abroad.
From reports, "Runs" is more prevalent among female students of higher schools of learning. This is one of the reasons parents are sceptical of leaving their female children to attend tertiary institutions.
Some girls engage in it for different reasons. It may be due to poverty, greed, curiosity and peer influence.
Poverty has been cited as one of the reasons teenage girls are involved in the act of sleeping with sugar daddies for money. The poor economic conditions which pervade in most countries in Africa prevent parents from providing adequately for their children. This leads the children into finding alternatives to support themselves. As a result, they fall prey into the hands of randy men.
Also, some female students who are orphans or from poor homes, who nurture academic ambitions are liable to get involved because they do not have any means of livelihood. They believe they must be educated either by hook or crook as education is their only way out of poverty.
Curiosity plays a role in girls' involvement in the act. This stems from what they view as unreasonable restrictions by strict parents. It is a way of expressing their freedom and independence. Thus, they rebel against their parents' wish.
Greed which has been defined as excessive desire for wealth is also considered reason young girls get involved in Runs.
In truth, some of these girls are well catered for by their parents, but out of their insatiable appetite for materialism and extravagance still sleep around for money. This kind of situation whereby a girl from a privileged home still gets involved in "Runs" has been likened to a case of one casting one's pearl before swine.
From inquiries, peer influence has been identified as part of reasons teenage girls become victims of promiscuous men. It is a natural feeling for young girls to want to fit in, so that they would be accepted by others, gain peer approval, for popularity and to prevent being stigmatized a social outcast. As a result, vulnerable girls who do not have the courage to stand against peer pressure fall victim of their peers who introduce them to various acts of immorality. They acquiesce to it, and in the process, some have contracted Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and become drug addicts.
Many people have posed questions of who should be blamed for these unfortunate realities of our time. African leaders for poor economic situations? The ineptitude of parents and inability to provide adequately for their child? The child who does not have the courage to stand up for moral convictions?
African leaders and agencies in charge must intensify their efforts to save the future glories of Africa from destruction.
Also, African core values and ethics must be upheld to prevent further moral decadence.
About Guest Blogger: Dami Adeoye
I love to read, write and travel. I believe strongly that emphasis should be more on causatives-of problems, not just treating issues on the surface but from root. This belief inspired the article. HIV can be curbed if youths shun materialism and extravagance, which are the bane of the society today.