Adolescents' Help-Seeking Intention for Sexual Exploitation in Tanzania

坦桑尼亞青少年面對性剝削情況的求助意向

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Author(s)

  • Budeba Petro MLYAKADO

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Award date12 Sep 2016

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Abstract

Sexual exploitation of children and adolescents has been a global concern, and Tanzania is not an exception. Different forms of sexual exploitation such as coerced or forced sex, transactional sex, and sexual violence have been prevalent in Tanzania and are likely to be reinforced by the socio-cultural and economic contexts. The plights of sexual exploitation infringe the social wellbeing and health of the victims. Victims of sexual exploitation and/or vulnerable groups such as schoolchildren deserve help to tackle this problem and related risks through help and support services in the social systems. Nevertheless, empirical studies on adolescent students’ help-seeking intention and/or behaviour for sexual exploitation in Tanzania have been rare. This knowledge gap was the main focus of this study. Therefore, the present study was designed to get a better understanding of adolescents’ help-seeking intention for sexual exploitation.
The present study, first, explored the prevalence of sexual exploitation of adolescent students; second, investigated adolescent students’ help-seeking intention for sexual exploitation; third, examined factors that could predict adolescent students’ help- seeking intention for sexual exploitation; and fourth, assessed the moderating effects of social stigma on other predictors in predicting adolescent students’ help-seeking intention for sexual exploitation. In addressing these objectives, the present study proposed a theoretical framework that integrated attitude towards seeking help, generalised self-efficacy, and social stigma from ‘Theory of Planned Behaviour’ (TPB) and perceived social support from ‘Network Episode Model’ (NEM) to understand adolescent students’ help-seeking intention for sexual exploitation. The study adopted a cross-sectional survey with a stratified random sample of 1,116 adolescent students aged 13-17 years selected from rural and urban secondary schools in Tanzania.
The results revealed 21% of surveyed adolescent students had at least one experience of sexual exploitation in their lives from when they were 12 years to their current ages. Help-seeking intention for majority of these adolescent students ranged from moderate to high. Pearson’s correlation, analysis of variance (ANOVA), t-test, and regression results indicated attitude towards seeking help, generalised self-efficacy, and perceived social support predicted adolescent students’ help-seeking intention for sexual exploitation positively. Social stigma for receiving help did not associate significantly with adolescent students’ help-seeking intention for sexual exploitation but it moderated the effects of attitude towards seeking help and perceived social support in explaining adolescent students’ help-seeking intention for sexual exploitation.
The present study proposes that, there should be educational interventions to eliminate social stigma attached to sexual exploitation, mitigate the plights of sexually exploited adolescent students, and enhance adolescent students’ help-seeking intention and/or behaviour for sexual exploitation. Interventions should also include refining the social systems and institutions such social welfare department, police and judiciary to facilitate prevention of sexual offenses and protection of adolescents from sexual exploitation. In addition, the social welfare department in Tanzania needs to expand and improve social work services to reach adolescent students in primary and secondary schools. These in turn may improve help and support services in Tanzania as well as enhance adolescents’ help-seeking intention and/or behaviour for sexual exploitation.