- Nov 14, 2006
The house-girl slavery industry in Dar.
Sheria zetu za wafanyakazi wa nyumbani ni hafifu sana na swala hili ni lazima serikali ilishughulikie ingawaje wengi wa watuhumiwa ndio wafanyakazi wa serikalini ambao kipato chao sio kikubwa. Lakini madhara yake ni makubwa kwa taifa. Naomba tulijadili hili kwani wengi wanaodhurika hawawezi hata kujisemea.TITO MGANWA Dar es Salaam said:
A LARGE number of young girls originating from upcountry rural settings are being condemned to harsh conditions of virtual enslavement in Dar es Salaam, either living in domestic servitude as house girls or being forced into child prostitution, it has been asserted. According to various youth counsellors in the city, there is an emerging trend where mostly teenaged girls arriving from villages in search of a better life in the city end up being sold as slaves.
Some people have actually turned this into a lucrative business. They bring the young girls over from their original homes in the regions, and sell them as a commodity once in Dar es Salaam, said one counsellor working with the Tandale Centre for Youths and HIV/AIDS in the city.
Speaking to reporters, the counsellor - who asked not to be named for fear of jeopardising her work with troubled youths - said there has been a notable increase in such trafficking of young girls in recent years. She said many rural children are tricked out of their homes by stories about a luxurious lifestyle in the cities, but most of them end up either as house girls, barmaids or prostitutes after being sold off in the city.
I personally have seen cases where young girls were sold to work in peoples homes as house girls, but ran away after being mistreated by their bosses and instead became child prostitutes, the Tandale counsellor said. She added: Most of these children are psychologically traumatised from such ordeals, and they only think about how to get money by any means necessary, with little regard for their own personal well-being.
Reflecting on her own experiences at the centre located in one of the poorest suburbs in Dar es Salaam, she said she had found that most of the prostitutes who go there for counselling were initially brought to the city as house girls. Most of the former house girls who have turned to prostitution stay in cheap guesthouses, paying for the accommodation from money they earn from prostitution, she said.
She said counselling alone was not enough to pull the girls out of the vicious cycle of poverty and prostitution, and most of them needed to be shown a better alternative way to earn income before they could be convinced to abandon their current way of life. If you talk to them, you will find they have their own reasons for doing what they do. Some of them will tell you heartbreaking stories of their lives and how they were ultimately forced into prostitution, said the counsellor.
Various studies have shown a strong link between domestic work employment and prostitution. According to the findings of a rapid assessment by ILO-IPEC on children and prostitution in Tanzania, done in 2001, as many as 25 per cent of the children found in prostitution were former domestic workers.
But social workers say those figures could now be much higher, estimating that up to half of the prostitutes probably started off as domestic workers. Statistics show that most child domestic workers are female and between 13 and 15 years old, with a few being as young as 6 years old.
Another 2001 report said the practice of trafficking children for domestic work is very common in Tanzania, and also that there were at least 800 children in prostitution in Arusha, Dar es Salaam and Singida. It further asserted that sex tourists were increasingly seeking children in these regions.