Human Rights Watch conducted research for this report in Zambia in May and June 2002. Two Human Rights Watch researchers visited about thirty-six nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), orphanages or other centers for children and, with their help, interviewed approximately 100 girls under eighteen years of age.2 Most interviews were conducted in Lusaka, the capital city; Kitwe and Ndola in Copperbelt Province; and Kafue, a town forty-four kilometers outside Lusaka. Interviews were generally open-ended and covered many topics. In this report, the names of girls are changed for their protection. Human Rights Watch also met with a number of government officials, including representatives of the National AIDS Council, the police force, the Child Affairs Department of the Ministry of Sport, Youth and Child Development, and the Ministry of Community Development, Department of Social Welfare, as well as with United Nations agency and bilateral donor agency representatives.
2 The Convention on the Rights of the Child defines children as "Every human being under the age of eighteen years unless, under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier." Convention on the Rights of the Child, art 1, G.A. Res. 44/25, annex, 44 U.N. GAOR Supp. (No. 49) at 167, U.N. Doc. A/44/49 (1989). Human Rights Watch considers all persons under age eighteen to be children. A few of the girls interviewed were over eighteen years of age but recounted to Human Rights Watch experiences from before they turned eighteen.