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In Exchange For Free Rides

Wundanyi   March 21,  2011 The boda boda culture has been cited as one of the factors contributing to the increased cases of sexual abuse of school-going children in Taita-Tavtea County.

A report presented before leaders and educationists during the county’s education stakeholder’s forum in Mwatate mentions the motorcycle riders as some of the notorious sex pests who sexually molested unsuspecting students thus affecting education in the area.

The Taita District Education Officer Mr. Samuel Nyantilka who presented the report said the county was faced with a serious problem of sexual exploitation of children leading to a high school dropout rate, an issue that should be addressed as a matter of urgency by all stakeholders.

Mr. Nyantika said the boda boda riders had become a menace in the area as some targeted innocent school girls whom they lured into having sex in exchange for free rides and money.

The report comes at a time when sexual exploitation of children continues to escalate in the County.  According to the report, cases that have been on the rise included defilement, incest and homosexuality.

Last year alone, the area recorded at least 46 cases of child sexual exploitation with some resulting in unwanted pregnancies and school drop outs, said the DEO.

The report cited other forms of child abuse as child trafficking to the lower Coast for cheap labour, child labour in the mining and agricultural sectors among others.

The report recommends that awareness campaigns be conducted to sensitize the community on the need to protect the rights of children.

It also called on the relevant arms of the government to ensure the culprits faced the full force of the law.

But the boda boda threat seems to be unrelenting as more cases continue to occur despite the stiff sentences being imposed on suspects by local courts under the Sexual Offences Act.

In two of the cases concluded recently, one boda boda rider was jailed for 24 years while the other one was handed 15 years for defilement.

By James Muchai/KNA



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