Sexual exploitation and abuse of the girl child through cultural practices in Uganda

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Kampala International University, School of Law
The study aimed at observing the sexual exploitation and abuse of the girl child through cultural practices in Uganda. Recently the state has acknowledged the problem of sexual abuse and exploitation of the girl child and has indicated the willingness to step up campaigns against it. This campaign, however, targets school children in primary and secondary schools. There has also been an increase of sexual abuse of children in schools by the teachers and other staff members. The family as an institution has facilitated child abuse and exploitation in Uganda through cultural practices and customs as a survival tactic. Some commentators have directly linked the revival of these cultural practices to the economic crisis that has resulted in food shortages around the country. These traditional practices include the man·iages of the child to older men in exchange for food or money known as pledging a girl into maiTiage and virginity testing. Some of the practices are, however, not directly linked to the prevailing economic crisis, but are just practiced as a tradition. These practices have become more common amongst the Baganda, the largest tribe constituting at least 76% of the population, and predominantly patriarchal. Theorists of patriarchy have directed their attention to the subordinate status of women and found their explanation in the male need to dominate the female. Although Uganda as a state has shown a commitment to protecting children against sexual abuse by enactment of laws criminalising involvement of the girl child in prostitution, incest and rape of girls, little has been done to ensure that forced and early marriages of the girl child are curtailed. Virginity testing is not criminalised and is also cti!Tently being practised in rural pmis of the country on a wide scale .... Chapter one introduces the problem of child sexual abuse and exploitation of the girl child as a universal problem and gives a structure of the study. Chapter two discusses the concept of a child. sexual abuse and exploitation as a human rights problem. It analyses the protection of children under international human rights law. The legal fi·amework protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation and the shortcomings will be highlighted. The impact of such sexual abuse and exploitation on the overall development of the child will also be discussed. Chapter five makes recommendations by looking at the developments from other countries on the rights of the girl child and cultural practises that result in sexual abuse."
A research report submitted to the faculty of law in partial fulfillment of the requirement for the award of a Bachelor’s Degree in law of Kampala International University
Sexual exploitation, Girl child Abuse, Cultural practices, Uganda