A recent documentary by the Southern Africa Aids Information Dissemination Service (SAfAids) looking at the streets of Harare, Gweru and Bulawayo, confirms that married men and women who are viewed in very high esteem by society were abusing desperate street kids.
Report by Moses Chibaya
“Other street children reported being in intimate relationships with sugar daddies and mummies, who deliberately take them out to satisfy their needs,” says the documentary.
“The relationships give a street child some income and access to luxuries. This is another vicious cycle for the spread of sexually transmitted infections and HIV.”
It says the majority of individuals that seek sexual favours from street children were married or in relationships.
“Condom use in these relationships is not consistent. In the so-called normal relationships, these factors increase the risk of HIV transmission,” the documentary revealed.
SAfAids says the phenomenon of street children continues to be on the rise due to the disintegration of the family, poverty and the scourge of HIV and Aids.
It is estimated that there are 12 000 street children in Zimbabwe, 5 000 of them living in Harare.
But Streets Ahead, a non-governmental organisation which deals with homeless children, believes that the number could be much higher.
The organisation registers at least 20 new children at their office every month.
According to the SAfAids documentary, street kids are not an isolated group as they interact and enter into relationships with other children and adults.
“In Gweru, street children leaving along Gweru River have relationships with school children who then become addicted to the life of sex and drugs,” says the documentary.