Monday, May 01, 2006

Refugee schoolgirls turn to prostitution to pay fees

The Catholic Information Service for Africa has a sad, but all too familar, piece on refugee girls in Guinea turning to prostitution to pay school fees.

Last year, the UNHCR withdrew funding for schools in southern Guinea designed to help Liberian refugees. This was meant to encourage their repatriation. The money was redirected to development projects in Liberia itself.

But since some refugees aren't ready to return home to their devastated country, many girls have turned to the commercial sex industry to pay for their schooling..

One refugee whose daughters attended a semi-private school founded in the wake of the closure of a UN-funded school explained, "It is impossible for refugees without any income to meet these demands. Some of our girls even turn to prostitution to pay school fees. The situation is unhealthy, prostitution is seen as a way to make money fast and they unthinkingly expose themselves to the risk of being infected by HIV/AIDS and other diseases."

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