A survey on child marriages conducted by Zimbabwe Gender Commission (ZGC) showed that illegal gold miners trigger child marriages.
Gold panners lure young girls with luxuries and money in return for sex, NewsDay reported citing ZGC chairperson Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe.
Presenting the preliminary findings on the national enquiry on sexual exploitation and abuse of young girls and child marriages, Margaret Mukahanana-Sangarwe said:
In Mashonaland East — Mudzi district, wards 13, 14, 15 and 18 are considered hotspots for child marriages and sexual exploitation mainly due to gold panning activities in these areas. The gold panners lure young girls with “nice things” and end up impregnating them.
In Matabeleland South — Umzingwane district, teen pregnancies are usually a result of child marriages. Amakorokoza activities include sexual relationships with girls and young women.
In Midlands province, Gweru rural district areas such as St Faith and Shamrock are popular gold panning areas. Children as young as 13 years are involved in sex work at St Faith shops, where there is gold panning.
Poverty was cited as a major push factor which made the girls vulnerable, resulting in children running away from their homes. Parents in the area are not valuing education.
Mukahanana-Sangarwe expressed concern over two nine-year-old girls who were impregnated in the country and urged Parliament to monitor the implementation of the Marriage Act.