Men who lure children with money are rapist

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…President Bio

December 17, 2018

By Regina Pratt

men
President Bio, First Lady Fatima Bio and the visiting First Ladies

President Maada Bio has said that men who lure children with money are no better than rapists, speaking last Friday at the Bintumani Conference Centre during the launch of ‘Hands Off Our Girls’ campaign, a flagship programme of First Lady Fatima Bio.

“Men who pay for abusing children are no better than rapists,” he said, adding that those who use their social standing and money to force children into sexual encounters are no better than rapists.

President Bio further said that the laws of the country should be applied fully and without mercy to protect children, adding that society was united to protect the girl child from early marriage.

He welcomed dignitaries who attended the launch, especially First Ladies from Ghana, Niger, Gambia, Liberia and Chad, saying their presence was testament to their commitment to join others in making history to change the future for millions of women and their unborn children.

“Child marriage is wrong and it must end,” he stressed, adding that the brutal rape of girls was inhumane and unconscionable and must end as men must take primary responsibility for teenage pregnancy.

He said he was extremely gratified that the leading candidates in this year’s Basic Education Certificate Examinations were girls throughout the country.

“Child prostitution and teenage pregnancy are wrong and destructive, children are children whether they are yours or whether they are out on the streets they are not grown-up adult women,” he noted.

President Bio also said that his government has started working on the issue by overhauling and strengthening national laws and policies for the protection of children in general and girls in particular, and that the Ministry of Social Welfare, Gender and Children’s Affairs is finalising a comprehensive review of the Sexual Offences Act of 2012.

Our fight is going to be robust and sustained as we have devised a tripartite approach,” he said, noting that first, there is political commitment and support at the highest level from his office, championed by the First Lady.

First Lady Fatima Bio noted that the event was a dialogue between government and the people of Sierra Leone to proffer solutions that would inform their 2018 to 2022 strategy.
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She told participants that: “Do not abandon your children because of what you receive from her like feeding as we should not contribute to destroy our children.”

She underscored the critical role of traditional chiefs and their wives to the success or otherwise of the ‘Hands off our girls’ campaign.

“Today is just to introduce the topic to you as I will visit all the towns and villages so that we stop this menace,” she said, adding that “I will be in Parliament as a mother of this nation.”

She noted with dismay that children die every day, hence men should “hands off our girls as rape has become a destructive weapon that is plunging our nation into irreparable moral devastation.”

“I want to declare war against child abuse, sexual harassment, early marriage and violence against women,” declared Madam Bio.

In their statements, the visiting first ladies commended Sierra Leone’s First Lady for her flagship campaign, adding that it was a notable venture. They also stated that teenage pregnancy was a bad phenomenon in the sub-region, urging that girls should be girls and enjoy the right of childhood.