Pregnant schoolgirls arrested in Tanzania to find men who impregnated them, police say

Girls in Tanzania are expelled from school if they become pregnant, while men who impregnate them face 30 years in prison.

Recently, five pregnant schoolgirls were arrested in Tanzania so that the men who had sex with them can be traced, authorities say.

The girls were held last week and later released on bail, Tandahimba District Commissioner Sebastian Waryuba said.

He said police were looking to question two other girls in the district, which is on the Mozambique border, so they can help with information on the men who impregnated them.

Tanzania has one of the toughest laws against those who impregnate school-aged girls, sentencing them to at least 30 years prison.

In Tanzania, if you become pregnant as a schoolgirl, it means the end of your education. Even though successive governments have made a push for girls education, those who become pregnant are routinely expelled from school and prevented from returning.

Pregnant schoolgirls arrested in Tanzania

Officials said the penalties are intended to discourage early marriages and teenage pregnancies that lead to school dropouts. However, the authorities have been highly criticised for not allowing girls back to school after they have given birth.

In June last year, Tanzania’s president John Magufuli faced condemnation after sending out a threatening warning. He told a rally of schoolgirls: “After getting pregnant, you are done.”

In 2002, a law was passed which allowed girls to be expelled from school for getting pregnant. The law says girls can be expelled and excluded from school for “offences against morality” and “wedlock”.

But critics say that in its zeal to curb teenage pregnancies, the country is also hurting and shaming the vulnerable teenagers.

Human rights groups have criticized authorities in the country for implementing policies that don’t allow schoolgirls to return to class after they have given birth.

Human Rights Watch said many girls regularly experience sexual harassment and exploitation by teachers in school and that schools lack adequate protection and confidential reporting mechanisms.

 

Kate

I am a writer, a journalist and phenomenal woman. I don't conform to societal stereotypes. I am passionate about women and the issues that plague womanhood in this part of the world. Engage and be awakened.

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1 Response

  1. Helen says:

    Hmm. Those men and irresponsible teachers should be locked up forever.

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