Meet Eric Aniva: the man who is hired to have sex with children.
His job is one many of us would be appalled by, but for Aniva and his village, it’s custom.
In some remote southern regions of Malawi, it’s traditional for girls to be made to sleep with a paid sex worker known as a ‘hyena’ once they reach puberty – a title given to a man to provide what is called sexual ‘cleansing’, the BBC reports.
If a wife loses her husband, tradition says that she must be sexually cleansed before she can bury him. If she has an abortion, it is again required that she must sleep with a hyena.
For teenage girls who have finished their first menstruation, they are made to have sex over a three-day period. It marks their transition into womanhood.
If a girl refuses, it is believed that disease or fatal misfortune could fall upon their family or the entire village.
Speaking to the BBC in the Nsanje district, Aniva said:
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.
But girls in nearby villages have expressed reluctance to the ordeal.
One girl, Maria, told the BBC there was nothing else she could have done:
I had to do it for the sake of my parents. If I’d refused, my family members could be attacked with diseases – even death – so I was scared.
Aniva, who appears to be in his 40s, is one of 10 hyenas in his community and claims to have slept with 104 women and girls. He says every village in Nsanje district has hyenas and they are paid from $4 to $7 (£3 to £5) each time.
He has two wives who are aware of his occupation, and five children that he knows about – but he’s not sure how many of the women and girls he’s impregnated.
But the tradition has a darker twist than just the sexual aspect. The ritual ‘cleansing’ can have the opposite affect – Aniva is HIV-positive.
And he’s aware of the risks:
Yes, it’s true that this ritual helps to spread HIV/Aids. I know that, but our custom demands that we have sex without using condoms.
The government in Malawi is trying to end this custom, but the process is slow.