Mail & Guardian Promotes Child’s Right To Protection

Media Monitoring Africa (MMA) is delighted to award a GLAD[1] to The Mail & Guardian for its article titled, “Updated: Cape Town teacher discovers child sex trafficking ring” (01/03/2023) which reports on an incredibly difficult story of child abuse in a way that is informative and tackles the issue without causing further harm to the child victims.

The article, written by Nicole Ludolph, and originally published by Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism reports on an incident that occurred in 2019 involving two children who are victims of sexual abuse and sex trafficking at the hands of their uncle.

The piece details how the teacher first discovered that they had been sexually abused, the steps taken involving law enforcement to ensure the protection and promotion of their rights to safety and the enormous challenges that duty bearers face when advocating for the rights of children that are foreign nationals.

The unidentified teacher is quoted saying, “There were more children from our school living there. Men would come to the house, and they could rent a room — and a body…… “The school failed, the police failed, social workers failed.”

MMA’s 2021 Children’s Report[2] shows that despite child abuse being among the top 10 most popular topics in relation to children’s stories, journalists often fail to discuss relevant legislation or policy that can be used to offer solutions.

This incredibly detailed but sensitive article receives a proud GLAD because the journalist reports on the devastating reality that most children endure in the hands of their caregivers, with a special focus on:

  1. The role that caregivers play in the protection of children’s rights by telling the story from the teacher’s perspective.
  2. The lack of implementation of existing Treaties and Acts signed and passed by the South African government by law enforcement and social services which have resulted in the delay of their rights to protection.
  3. The challenges that vulnerable children who are foreign nationals face when accessing their rights to protection.
  4. Causing no further harm in the writing of the story, by successfully withholding the identity of all parties involved thereby ensuring that the victims don’t encounter secondary trauma.

MMA commends The Mail & Guardian on an informative article that promotes the protection of children’s rights, raises an issue that affects so many children daily with the inclusion of important policies to raise awareness on this issue and protecting the child victims. 

We look forward to reading more articles like this. Well done!

Written by Phakamile Madonsela

Edited by Ntombifuthi Kubeka

[1]  GLADs are awarded to media for reporting on children positively and for accessing them.