Mothers sell underaged girls to men

Cases in which mothers sell their daughters to men, mainly older ones with heavy pockets, are increasing in Botswana.

Once mothers realise that their children are maturing into adults but often still underage, they allow them to go out and find men who will be the family’s ticket out of poverty.

Such mothers act oblivious to their daughters being sexually active, or sleeping out. They turn a blind eye to all these as long as the daughters bring home some goodies and money for the parents.

In some cases, parents direct their children to the arms of older men, parents reach an agreement with men that they will financially help them in exchange for money.

It does not matter if the child falls pregnant. In fact, if they do fall pregnant for the rich men, it will be like winning a lotto.

The family will use the pregnancy to keep getting more from the man.

And it does not matter what the child wants. Those who are unable to speak out against their parent’ orders move out from home to live with such men believing whatever advice they were given to be true.

In a recent case that is still being investigated in the Bobonong area, a mother gave away her 14-year-old daughter to a traditional doctor.

The girl was pulled out of school to go and please the man. She is now pregnant and the mother blatantly refuses to tell the police who this traditional doctor is.

Chairperson of No. 14 District Crime Prevention Executive Committee Seth Morule has recently confirmed that Kanye and other neighbouring villages are witnessing an increase in cases of women selling their daughters.

“We are worried about women. I am not trying to badmouth you or anything but diplastic tsa ****** (name of a popular supermarket removed) di a re bolaa Ka gore motho o reka plastic a e tlisa ko lapeng o mo neela ngwana wa gago,” Morule said hinting that just because a man brings home plastics full of food, they give them their daughters in exchange.

Morule said mothers give men their underage daughters and they see nothing wrong with it. But once the police step into the picture, some parents claim that what is being done to their children is wrong.

He said there is no how the police can be able to eliminate defilement if parents are encouraging it and not reporting cases so that child molesters are put behind bars where they belong.

Theresa Mmolawa who is president of E a women Association, Emang Basadi, said most of the culprits are women residing in rural villages because information dissemination is always centred in towns and cities.

"Those people are never empowered like those residing in towns, the information that gets to them is very limited, there is need for us to be very deliberate about teaching such mothers that what they are doing is wrong.

“We need government to be willing to have social workers deployed to rural areas because that is where there is most work. They will talk sense into such mothers," Mmolawa said.

Mmolawa added that government should desist from spoon feeding people, but rather find means of empowering them so that they do not get used to always being fed without working.

He said this encourages laziness and that it is the main reason why some Batswana are always quick to find cheap ways of putting food on the table instead of working.