Monitor those immoral boarding houses

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THERE does not seem to be a solution in sight yet to the persistent nuisance of some boarding houses that double as brothels in Lusaka.

For some time now members of the public, especially the communities living around these facilities, have been complaining about the immoral activities taking place there.

But authorities have only responded with empty threats.

Neighbours of these houses which are occupied by mostly students from institutions of higher learning, especially universities and colleges, are at pains to protect their children from the toxic influence of the behaviour of the occupants.

No one can deny the fact that the facilities have helped to ease the accommodation challenges faced by institutions of higher learning.

Students who cannot afford to pay for rooms at the universities and colleges find refuge in the boarding houses.

But there are also students who have the capacity to afford paying for rooms at these institutions but just want freedom to engage in immoral behaviour away from any control.

Most of them are young adults and late adolescents who are in a difficult stage in their personal development.

The debauchery that characterise some of these boarding houses leaves one wondering whether they indeed deserve to be called so.

Young men and women, including some mature students, take advantage of the freedom the lodgings provide to engage in sexual immorality.

It is common to find rowdy parties at which all manner of anti-social activities take place, including casual sex, abuse of alcohol and drugs and noise pollution.

Some female students, including some married ones, end up falling pregnant.

Unable to face the shame and other social and economic consequences such women resort to terminating the pregnancies through illegal abortions.

With the countless foreign-funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs) conducting illicit abortions under the guise of sexual and reproductive health rights across the capital God only knows how many lives are curtailed each year.

Without the knowledge of their sponsors some students, including some married ones, engage in illegal and secret marriages.

Some of them move in with fellow students while many others have external partners who are their defacto spouses.

The biggest breeding grounds for this scourge are universities, both public and private.

It is important for the parents of students living in these boarding houses to monitor their children to avoid wasting their investment.

It is not the duty of the universities and colleges to control the behaviour of students who are outside their campuses, but the responsibility of their sponsors – parents, guardians and spouses.

No wonder most communities where these boarding houses are located exhibit open resentment and hostility towards the occupants.

The owners of these boarding houses should also come up with some code of conduct to regulate the behaviour of the occupants of their properties while the local authority should also evoke the numerous laws and by-laws to punish owners who fail to observe the basic requirements for running such business.

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