A study by Unicef at two tourism and mine spots established that 16 per cent of children had their first sex experienced against their wish.
According to the Madagascar tourism agency, NTM, Unicef and the International Labour Organisation (ILO): "Sex exploitation remains a major concern at the tourism sites."
The organisations indicated, in a joint statement, that 40 per cent of the girls at the tourist resort town of Nosy Be, in the north-west, had their first sex experience at the prostitution spots.
Around 28 per cent of Madagascar's children aged between 5 and 17 (1.8 million) were working on a full or part-time basis, with an estimated 438,000 children involved in dangerous work, according to an ILO 2007 national survey on child labour in the country.
Three years ago, UN rights expert Najat Maalla-M'jid raised concerns about the survival strategy adopted by many Malagasy parents who encouraged their children to enter prostitution.
The island nation was at the time experiencing political instability that was sparked by the 2009 coup.
Source: The Nation (Nairobi) – AllAfrica.com