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Children of ages ranging from seven to 17 years are engaged in prostitution in various cities, municipalities and towns in Tanzania. Interviewed child prostitutes say circumstances have forced them to be in the prostitution business. Fifty-four percent of girls say they do not use condoms regularly. This shows that safe sex education is inadequate and ineffective among prostitutes.
The majority of child prostitutes interviewed hail from rural areas in Mwanza, Singida, Kilimanjaro, Iringa Mbeya, Mara, Shinyanga, and Kagera regions. The girls share rooms which accommodate between six and 10 of them. Other girls live in family houses sharing rooms with guardians or owners of bars, local brew shops or brothels. The owners of the houses use the girls to attract customers and to earn money that does not trickle down to the "unfortunate, cruelly exploited girls.
Some girls, most of them minors, live in ghettos with only mattresses and straw mats. The rooms, the study has established, are invariably full of sexy pornographic pictures on the walls. In these ghettos "gongo" local spirit , brew, marijuana and other hard drugs are almost always present. The researchers found another group of sexually exploited children sleeping outside shops, on market pavements and in hidden street corners.
The majority of these children are children of beggars and others were youngsters from upcountry rural areas - a street child who had just migrated into town and who had no contacts, according to the study. At least 15 girls in Dar es Salaam admitted to engaging in prostitution as a means of living.
The girls were found sleeping on boxes and sacks. Some covered their bodies with gunny bags and others covered their heads with blouses or pieces of clothes. The girls admitted that they ran a high risk of being raped by male street children, watchmen or other men who might pass by at night. They are invariably exposed to cold, rainy and windy weather. While the majority of girls in Dar es Salaam and Mwanza sleept with customers in cars, guest houses and hotels, in Iramba and Songea they perform sexual acts at shop corners, on pavements, at construction sites, on flat stones and rocks and in farms.