Groups: Sierra Leone's children exploited due to Ebola outbreak

2015-06-17 13:49


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Sierra Leone's children have been exploited and violated since an Ebola epidemic hit the west African nation and caused the country's social fabric to rupture, aid organisations said Wednesday.

Plan International, Save the Children and World Vision International, who interviewed more than 1 100 children across the country about the impact of Ebola, found that child labour and exploitation increased because schools were closed for nine months during the virus' outbreak.

Being outside of a protective school environment exposed young girls in particular to violence and sexual assault, the interviewed children said. Researchers noted an increase in the number of teenage pregnancies in the past year as a result.

"Ebola has put an incredible strain on children's lives, and it will take time for them to recover," said Casely Coleman, Plan International's director in Sierra Leone.

Almost 13 000 people were infected with the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone since early 2014, of which more than 3 900 died, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Transactional sex

Some 1.7 million children were out of school in Sierra Leone until educational facilities reopened in April.

The interviews revealed that young girls, especially those who lost relatives to Ebola, were forced into transactional sex to survive or were raped.

"Some of our friends are raped when they go far to get water," one boy said.

Sierra Leone is one of the world's five poorest nations, and UN data shows that nearly half of Sierra Leone's 6.1 million inhabitants are under the age of 18.

Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea were worst hit by the Ebola outbreak, which broke out in Guinea in December 2013.

A total of 27 237 people worldwide were infected with the virus, of which 11 173 people were killed, according to the WHO.

Read more on:    who  |  sierra leone  |  health  |  west africa  |  ebola

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.