1. BONELA has noted with discontent a social media circulation of a 59 year old  pensioner who allegedly engaged a sexual trade of a 13 year old minor child from her female sex worker mother. As per the definition given by the World Health Organization (WHO), child sexual abuse involving a child in sexual activity that the child does not fully understand or comprehend, unable to give consent or the child is not developed or prepared enough to give consent.
  • Child sexual abuse is a prime violation of human rights. Section 25 of the Children’s Act provides that every child has a right to be protected from sexual abuse and exploitation[1]. Additionally, it provides that a parent who connives with another person to sexually abuse a child shall be guilty of an offence. Articles 19 and 34 of the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child further makes provision for protection of a child from all forms of child violence including sexual exploitation and sexual abuse[2].
  • The World Population Review (2023) cites Botswana as having the highest incidence of rape in the world, at 92.93 per 100,000 people. According to Section 141 of the Penal Code, any person who has unlawful carnal knowledge of another person, without the consent of such other person, is guilty of the offence termed rape. In the case of State V Ketlwaeletswe, the appellant was found guilty of rape and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. The court referred a question of law to the Court of Appeal for consideration, viz, where a man had sexual intercourse with a young girl deemed to be incapable of consenting to the act, was the proper charge rape or defilement. It was held that, it was clear from the definition of rape that the essential element of the offence was the lack of consent on the part of the victim. Lack of consent was not an element in the definition of defilement. It followed therefore that where the victim was a girl under the age of 16 years, the offence was rape.
  • Child sex trafficking is a form of rape, as there is lack of consent to sex. It is a form of rape that occurs when a child under 18 is exploited through a transactional sexual intercourse. A transactional sex act is the exchange of anything of value such as money. Traffickers can be anyone who profits from the selling of a child for sex to a buyer, including parents. Rape and child sex trafficking are co-related forms of child sexual abuse.
  • Children who fall victim to sexual abuse often do not disclose their horrible “secret” and suffer in silence. However, their experience causes strong emotions including fear, shame, guilt, depression, and despair.
  • Child protection includes measures that promote children’s physical and emotion well-being. The best protection measure is to prevent child sexual abuse from happening in the first place.
  •  BONELA calls on law enforcement to follow due process by initiating criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrator on account of rape, defilement and sexual exploitation. In the same breath the mother of the victim must be held accountable for child negligence, sexual exploitation and child sex trafficking. BONELA further calls on all stakeholders to prioritise  protection of children from all forms of sexual abuse.

For more information, contact BONELA on:

Katlego Sechele at ksechele@bonela.org  or 72282025 Cindy Kelemi at cindyk@bonela.org  or 72385054

[1] Section 25, Childrens Act (2009)

[2] Article 19, UN Convention on the Rights of a Child