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Title: Understanding child prostitution in Malawi : a participatory approach
Author: Nkhoma, Pearson
ISNI:       0000 0004 6350 357X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2017
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Despite being a topic of concern globally, child prostitution is understood neither comprehensively nor critically. In particular, there have been few attempts to develop any depth of understanding of child prostitution in sub-Saharan Africa. Current understandings are largely based on adult perspectives while children and young people’s own experiences of involvement have been marginalized. The study draws on theoretical approaches of children’s rights, radical and liberal feminism, structure and agency, and the Capability Approach, to examine decisions made by children within particular economic, social and cultural structures. Using a participatory approach, 19 participants used a range of visual methods to create stories of their journeys into prostitution and their day-to-day lives within the institution of prostitution. In this way, they demonstrated their own understandings of their own involvement. The study reveals the connections between: i) structural factors: patriarchal society, economic poverty, and cultural norms that govern marriage and limit access to education, ii) threats to livelihoods including HIV/AIDS, orphanhood, and climatic shocks that all contribute to constrain the life choices particularly of girls’ and young women. While it is clear that all but one of the participants exercised agency in deciding to engage in prostitution as a means of survival, they showed how involvement in prostitution further constrained their freedom to live lives that they valued. Describing experiences they endured as ‘being less than human’, they extended understanding of child prostitution by drawing attention to the complex nature of the phenomenon. The thesis ends by recommending a multi-dimensional policy approach to address child prostitution, making suggestions for further research including a deeper understanding of the demand side of prostitution, and recommends the use of the Capability Approach to illuminate questions of human development, human rights and social justice among other marginalized populations in developing countries.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available