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21-Feb-2020 18:25

Despite the ever-present threat of HIV/AIDS, with the most recent reports suggest rates are increasing at almost 30% a year in parts of PNG, grinning potential customers wait to take the young sex workers to a private room 'If a girl goes skin-on-skin she is not thinking about her life,' says Bertha.

But she also points out that many girls who insist on using condoms will simply be raped without one anyway, and often beaten up as well.

“Some communities see marrying her to the offender as a way to make him accountable for his behaviour, without considering the additional emotional trauma that the child will suffer,” said Elaine Bainard, UNICEF’s chief of child protection in PNG.

“The experience of sexual violence definitely affects a girl’s education in terms of being able to stay in school and school performance,” said Ruth Kauffman, MSF project coordinator at a Family Support Centre in Lae.

In 2009 the government adopted a plan to gradually phase out school fees by 2015, when it expects to fully fund basic education.

A dangerous path The remote locations of schools have even greater implication for girls, noted UNICEF.

In Lae, the second biggest city after the capital, Port Moresby, 26 percent were between the ages of 13 and 17.

Almost half of those reporting sexual violence In Lae from January 2008 to June 2010 - some 520 people - were under 18 years old.

“The experience of sexual violence definitely affects a girl’s education in terms of being able to stay in school and school performance,” said Ruth Kauffman, MSF project coordinator at a Family Support Centre in Lae.In 2009 the government adopted a plan to gradually phase out school fees by 2015, when it expects to fully fund basic education.A dangerous path The remote locations of schools have even greater implication for girls, noted UNICEF.In Lae, the second biggest city after the capital, Port Moresby, 26 percent were between the ages of 13 and 17.Almost half of those reporting sexual violence In Lae from January 2008 to June 2010 - some 520 people - were under 18 years old.The same survey showed almost 80 per cent of sex workers had been sexually abused in the previous year, 70 per cent had been raped in the few months leading up to the survey and about half had been raped multiple times in that period.