Chima Agazue https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2995-0179 is a UK-based British-Nigerian with teaching and research interests in the areas of psychology, criminology, and criminal justice. He has taught criminology and criminal justice at the Blackpool University Centre and psychology at Bath Spa University. His research interests include sexual exploitation and abuse of vulnerable women and children; child cruelty and homicide by mothers and female caregivers; witchcraft-motivated violence and homicide; ritually motivated crimes; and the Nigerian notion of "one-chance" robbery.
Sexual exploitation and abuse of girls is one of the endemic social problems in Nigeria. Although this problem has attracted much research attention in recent times, some newly emerged factors contributing to the problem have been mostly ignored. This study explored how the abandonment of children following their stigmatization as witches contributes to sexual exploitation and abuse of the girls in the Akwa Ibom and Cross River states of Nigeria. The study was based on the qualitative research paradigm. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews of three senior staff members of the Child’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN)—a children’s charity that manages a shelter for children abandoned as witches. Thematic analysis was conducted and five principal themes were developed from the data, which are (1) vulnerable to statutory rape; (2) living with sexual addiction; (3) targeted for human trafficking; (4) vulnerable to infections and pregnancy; and (5) exposed to intergenerational abuse. Theme (1) is concerned with how the girls are frequently raped by different groups of men due to the girls’ presence on the street. Theme (2) shows how the girls struggle with sexual addiction following frequent exposure to sexual activities since the early years of their lives. Theme (3) details how human traffickers target the girls for the sex trade, labor and other purposes. Theme (4) shows how the girls struggle with sexually transmitted infections and sometimes, pregnancy. Theme (5) details how the stigmatization and the consequent abuse of the stigmatized girls on the street also extend to their children, who are automatically regarded as the children of witches. Recommendations were made on how to address this social problem.
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"“Child Witches”: Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Homeless Girls in South-Southern Nigeria,"
Dignity: A Journal of Analysis of Exploitation and Violence:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dignity/vol6/iss1/3
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