The world called to unite against sexual corruption

Sexual corruption is one of the most common forms of corruption in workplaces and tertiary institutions yet it remains underreported.

It contains two components that are gender-based violence and corruption.

Sexual corruption occurs when someone in position of power extorts sexual favours in exchange for opportunities.

Exposing and reporting sexual corruption is still low due to the absence of proper legal frameworks and it is difficult for victims to provide proof to support their cases.

The absence of clear gender sensitive reporting mechanisms makes it more difficult for victims to report. 

Surveys carried out on gender and corruption highlighted the prevalence of sexual corruption in various countries with more than 50% of women agreeing to have experienced sexual corruption or they knew someone who experienced it.

With the rising inflation and high cost of living in the country, some female job seekers are forced to exchange sex for opportunities.

Despite acknowledging the high rate of sexual corruption, currently there is no legal framework to criminalise sextortion, there are no clear mechanisms and channels to protect witnesses or  victims from perpetrator backlash.

Due to patriarchal society and absence of supporting systems, it is difficult for victims of sextortion to make reports without proper protection from the law noting how society blames the victims instead of assisting them.

Gender sensitive reporting mechanisms and a standalone sexual harassment law with clear definition of terms like sexual corruption has been identified as the effective way to address sexual corruption crimes.

Sexual corruption is not formally identified as a specific offence in most jurisdictions.

As a result, many targets fail to identify themselves as the victims of a crime, a problem exacerbated by lack of information and knowledge on where and how to report.

Normalisation of various forms of sexual harassment in the workplace and tertiary institutions has resulted in  the underreporting of sexual corruption crimes as in some instances the victims suffer in silence without sharing their experiences with anyone.

Lack of a specifically defined sexual corruption law creates a gap in the prosecution of such cases hence a clear legislation may address the loopholes and enable the protection of victims.

The existing legislation such as the labour law, which was recently amended speaks in detail about  sexual harrssment.

 However, it is silent when it comes to sexual corruption hence there exists a need for coming up with a piece of legislation to address the identified gap.

The prevalence of sexual corruption cases makes it more relevant to develop and adopt  legislation, which clearly defines sexual corruption as a crime which attracts jail terms.

However, we appreciate the work being done by various stakeholders to create safe reporting mechanisms for victims of gender-based violence and sexual corruption.

More awareness is needed so that victims can make use of the existing channels to report their cases.

Sexual corruption is a form of gender-based violence and a violation of women's human rights.

During the commemorations of 16 days against gender-based violence, it will be an opportunity to raise awareness about gendered forms of corruption and its effects on women and girls.

It is important to note that sexual corruption is a global issue, which has to be put on the agenda and be addressed at a global platform like the Conference of State Parties to United Nations Convention Against Corruption (CoSP10).

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