A man, Eric Aniva, is paid to have sex with girls in remote southern regions of Malawi as a form of “ritual cleansing”, the BBC has reported.
It forms part of tradition in remote southern villages of Malawi for girls to be made to sleep with a paid sex worker known as “hyena” once they reach puberty to mark their transition to womanhood.
It is believed that if the girls do not undertake the ritual, a disease or some fatal misfortune could befall them, their families or the village.
Once the girls experience their first menstruation, their parents pay Aniva from $4 to $7 and he sleeps with them over a period of three days as part of the “ritual cleansing”.
Aniva who is in his 40s, according to the report, said he had slept with over 100 girls.
"Most of those I have slept with are girls, school-going girls.
"Some girls are just 12 or 13 years old, but I prefer them older. All these girls find pleasure in having me as their hyena. They actually are proud and tell other people that this man is a real man, he knows how to please a woman," he was quoted as saying.
But many girls were reportedly not happy to have gone through the ordeal.
One girl said she did it out of fear that her family members could be afflicted with diseases if she refused.
"We are forced to sleep with the hyenas. It's not out of our choice and that I think is so sad for us as women," a woman who experienced "cleansing" as a teenager said.
When Aniva was asked if he would allow his two-year-old daughter to undergo “cleansing” when she was of age, he said:
“Not my daughter. I cannot allow this. Now I am fighting for the end of this malpractice."
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