World Vision is concerned by reports that girls as young as 14 years old are being forced into selling their bodies for food after they fled their homes following the escalation of insurgency attacks in the northern province of Cabo Delgado, in Mozambique. Some have reported being pressurised to have unprotected sex, and even threatened with violence if they did not give in to unscrupulous men looking for sexual gratification in exchange for money.
Our staff have come across this tragic reality in Nampula, a province; home to over 60,000 internally displaced people from neighbouring Cabo Delgado. The majority are children, especially girls.
World Vision is currently working with Government and non-governmental entities in ensuring that those forced out of their homes due to the conflict are protected. Our experience in humanitarian emergencies has demonstrated that impacted groups, including girls, tend to resort to harmful coping mechanisms. They are also highly vulnerable to abuse.
We have identified an urgent need for simple but effective mechanisms to be put in place so as to prevent and respond to both child protection and gender-based violence incidents. This needs to involve local community and faith actors.
World Vision is also calling for urgent psycho-social support for all those who have had to endure the terrible experience of seeing their loved ones and other people being killed, many beheaded, or kidnapped and forcibly leaving their homes. This is an essential a need as it is to provide them with shelter, food and water.