‘Unrecognized victims’: Sexual abuse against male street children in Merkato area, Addis Ababa



Abstract Background- Sexual abuse and exploitation of male children is one of the emerging social problems affecting the physical, social and psychological wellbeing of children in Addis Ababa. The magnitude of the problem seems much worse among the street boys because of their precarious living conditions. However, very little is known about the problem so far and it is apparently one of the least researched issue in the country. Objectives- This paper explores the extent of the problem and reasons that expose children to sexual abuse around Merkato area, Addis Ababa. Methods- The study employed a combination of quantitative (small scale survey) and qualitative methodology (in-depth interviews, focus group discussions (FGDs) and case history interviews) involving a total of 221 children and key informants selected using convenient and snowball sampling. Findings- Quantitative data revealed that about 28.6% of male street children had been abused. Physical and mental immaturity of the children, secrecy and lack of awareness, use and abuse of drugs, the nature of street life, exposure to pornographic films and limited legal enforcement were found to be major reasons which predispose street boys to the risk of sexual abuse. Conclusions- Sexual abuse against male children around Merkato area is rampant, but received less or no attention from concerned governmental and non-governmental organizations. Using child rights framework, the study suggested various preventive, protective and rehabilitative measures that should be taken to address the problem. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2009;23(3):174-182]



How to Cite

Tadele, G. (2016). ‘Unrecognized victims’: Sexual abuse against male street children in Merkato area, Addis Ababa. The Ethiopian Journal of Health Development, 23(3). Retrieved from https://ejhd.org/index.php/ejhd/article/view/438