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Oct 28, 2004

New study produced on sex and girls

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According to the Ministry of Human Development so far this year, ninety young women under the age of sixteen in Belize City have been sexually abused. That’s just one of the troubling statistics organisations like Youth Enhancement Services must grapple with when addressing the issue of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of young women and girls. According to Y.E.S., in 2003, there were a total of three hundred and thirty reported cases, a number which is expected to rise in 2004. In March, Y.E.S. began consultations with a number of partner groups to discuss what needs to be done in order to protect young women. Today, their completed study was presented to the public.

Karen Cain, Coordinator, Y.E.S.

“There are nine recommendations that we are making. Six can be done immediately and three is for further investigation and reform to the laws. One of the highlights that we want to do for this procession paper is for Government to take a look clearly of how police gather evidence because in our focus group we found out that that is a problem. We also want them to look at the medical legal form. Also some of the longer term one is for them to look at ways to help the family when the offender or perpetrator is within the family and if that person is removed, how we can help the family. Those are just some of the long-term reforms that we are looking at.?

Y.E.S. officials say some of the facts revealed in their study were that older men cruise both high schools and primary schools looking for sex, that young girls trade sex for school fees, mothers allow their daughters to be abused because the perpetrator provides the household with money or food and a number of young women have been gang raped in a ritual known as a “train”. Y.E.S. says sadly most of these cases have not been reported to the police.

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