Online Program

Unwanted humans: Pathways to the street and risky behavior for the girl child in Cote D'Ivoire

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 2:30 p.m. - 2:50 p.m.

Andrew M. Muriuki, PhD, Save the Children, Westport, CT
Denise Kpebo, MD, MPH, Save the Children, Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire
Sithokozile Maposa, RN, PhD, College of Nursing, University of Saskatchewan, Prince Albert, SK, Canada
Background:  Studies have found an over-representation of adolescent girls in large urban areas due to rural to urban migration.

Objective: To evaluate the extreme vulnerabilities of girls in Abidjan that work as domestic workers but ended up being involved in commercial sexual exploitation.   

Methods: The study used a purposive mixed method design that examined factors that could lead to extreme vulnerabilities. The study recruited and interviewed 334 girls using validated measures that had been previously used on similar population. Additional, 30 participants were selected from the 334 for an in-depth interview.

Results: The study found a mix of girls born in Abidjan (N=100) and some that had recently moved to the city (N=234). Girls not from Abidjan were younger on (M=14.9, SD=2.6) average compared to those born in the city (M=15.4, SD =2.2). They also reported a higher level of abuse and engaged in risky sexual behavior to survive. About 69% were brought to the city by a relative to work as domestic workers but ended up being commercial exploited for sex in the street. Only 14% of the girls reported always a using condom and about 50% reported being forced to have sex in the previous month.

Conclusions: Communities and countries with high rural to urban child migration population should work harder to understand the issues these street children face. They should develop an alternative protection system so that the children could choose it instead of going to the street were they could face additional harm.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice

Learning Objectives:
Demonstrate possible paths to the street and risky behavior needed to survive by young girls and women in Cote D’Ivoire. Describe the relationship between abuse, domestic worker and commercial sexual exploitation in the street. Discuss alternative protection system for rural girls and advocacy to reduce harm.

Keyword(s): Children and Adolescents, Sexual Risk Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Behavioral health researcher interested in the interplay of social environment and behaviour risk, particularly as it applies to the vulnerable population. I have been the principal or co-principal of multiple grant funded studies that focus on vulnerable children and the service available. I am the current lead research for this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.