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Perspectives of Teachers and Social Workers on Sexual Exploitation of Adolescent Students in Tanzania

Budeba Petro Mlyakado

Abstract

Sexual exploitation of children and adolescents is a global concern. Nevertheless, there is a paucity of empirical studies in Tanzania that systematically examine stakeholders’ views on this phenomenon. Using qualitative data from eight focus group discussions (FGDs), this study explores perspectives of teachers and social workers on sexual exploitation of adolescent students. The respondents of this study were conveniently selected from six secondary schools and two social welfare departments in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza regions of Tanzania. The study intended to generate insights for relevant policy and practices towards mitigating the plights of sexual exploitation. Results indicate that teachers and social workers perceive adolescent students as active partakers of transactional sex due to their perceived lack of economic opportunities to meet basic needs; lust for fashionable materials of ‘modernity’; and vulnerability. The outcomes of these exploitative sexual partnerships to adolescent students include: poor academic performance, school dropouts, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV/AIDS, and/or unintended pregnancies and illegal abortion. The study suggests behavioural change interventions for adolescents, systemic change within service provider institutions such as the police and social welfare departments, review of parenting styles and responsibilities among parents, and collaborative community engagement through advocacy and outreach programmes to mitigate the plights of sexual exploitation of adolescents.

Keywords

Sexual exploitation, transactional sex, cross-generational sex, adolescents, Tanzania

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References

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