Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Emotional Distress: The Resultant Effects of Street Hawking and Sexual Abuse of Female Children in Oyo State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Emotional Distress: The Resultant Effects of Street Hawking and Sexual Abuse of Female Children in Oyo State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

Introduction

A child is defined as any person less than eighteen years of age, and the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary defined a child as a young human being below the age of full physical development. Hawking by children is a form of child labour which entails the act of moving round the streets and other areas not designated as markets to sell essential products (Oyinloye, Soronnadi & Udemezue 2002).

Street hawking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of a female by means of threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power, a position of vulnerability or the giving or receiving of payments, benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over the child for the purpose of exploitation (African Network on Prevention and Protection against Child Abuse and Neglect, 2010). As stated by Edu (1999), hawking is the selling of things (usually goods) along the roads or from one place to another, while Abisoye (2013) defined it as the act of canvassing for sale of items by hawkers along the street, from house to house or in public places in town. According to Nseabasi and Oluwabamide (2010), street hawking is a negation of the international convention on the right of the child. It is indeed inhuman for anyone to engage a child in money-making ventures; because such a child is denied basic education which is a right for every child. Child street trading is a threat to the continued survival of society; hence, it distorts government policies in the education of youth, and it distorts the acquisition of vocational skills and relevant education, thereby destroying the economic sector.

Sexual abuse is a gender based issue and thus, the misuse or wrong use of sexuality whether in action, touching of breast or buttocks, very intimate body contact or actual sexual intercourse. It also includes use of words suggestive of intention to engage in any form of sexual activity or practice. Gender based violence is a major public health concern and infringement of human sexuality and reproductive rights. The World Health Organization estimates that at least one in five of world's female population has been physically or sexually abused. Among children, sexual abuse is increasing and girls are at risk (Wutoh, Kumoji & XYe 2006).

Girls have always been faced with problems that emanate from gender inequality in addition to the usual problems of childhood and adolescence. Besides the various health socio cultural and educational problems to which girls are exposed, is the crucial and most often neglected hazards associated with child labour and street hawking. Street hawking is a common form of child labour in most developing countries like Nigeria, and the female child is usually involved.

The child on the street is exposed to malnutrition, respiratory tract infection, mental illness and substance abused (Sherman 1992), and the young female hawkers are in addition particularly vulnerable to all forms of violence including sexual exploitation by men (Fawole, Ajuwon & Osungbade 2004). The men prefer young girls as sexual partners because they assume they are sexually inexperienced and as such, are less likely to be infected with sexually transmitted disease (Lily Collins & Sara 2009).

In a society with poorly developed social networks and interventions, many of the girls accept it as their lot and fear being stigmatized if they should report (Fawole , Ajuwon & Osungbade 2004). Over the years traditional Nigerian society has deliberately discriminated against girls, especially in regards to education, with the wrong belief that subsequent marriage will deprive the parents and family of an investment. In order not to waste limited resources and to make the girl more "useful" to her family, she is given minimal education and the result is low aspiration and limited career and employment opportunities, not only true of the Iseyin local Government Area, but generally of Oyo North in Oyo state. …

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