Child prostitution

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Anonymous photography of a child prostitute, from 1871. The back of the photo reads: "Mary Simpson, age 10 or 11. She has been known as Mrs. Berry for at least two years. She is four months pregnant."

Child prostitution is a term for children working as prostitutes. They are children who get paid to have sex. Sometimes, the children do not get paid with money, but they are given other things in exchange for having sex such as toys. The meaning of "child prostitute" varies. Many laws say that children are people under 18 years of age. In most cases, it is not the child who makes money from the prostitution, but another person. This is either a pimp, or someone who directly abuses the child. This person will make a deal directly with the child to get sexual gratification. Different people may also exchange children to have sex with.

The Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (Convention No 182) of the International Labour Organization (ILO) provides that the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution is one of the worst forms of child labor. This convention from 1999, provides that countries that have signed it must get rid of child prostitution s soon as possible. It has the fastest pace of ratifications in the ILO's history since 1919.

The prostitution of children is seen as part of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC), and is sometimes connected to the trafficking of children for sexual purposes, and to child pornography. Child sex tourism also falls within the category of the prostitution of children.

How many there are[change | edit source]

In 1992, researcher and expert Ron O'Grady[1] estimated the number of child prostitutes to be 1 million.[2]

In 2001, Dr. Richard Estes and Dr. Neil Alan Weiner estimated that in the U.S., 162,000 U.S. homeless youth are victims of commercial sexual exploitation (CVE) and that 57,800 children in homes (including public housing) are estimated to be victims of CVE. They also estimated that 30% of shelter youth and 70% of homeless youth are victims of CVE in the United States.[3]

One third of street-level prostitutes in the U.S. are less 18 years old while fifty percent of off-street prostitutes are less than 18 years old.[3] Off-street prostitution includes massage parlors, strip clubs, and escort services. According to Estes and Weiner, 12 to 14 is the average age of entry into prostitution for girls under 17 years old in the United States while the average age of entry into prostitution is between 11 and 13.[3]

In Ukraine, a survey conducted by the group “La Strada-Ukraine” in 2001-2003, based on a sample of 106 women being 'trafficked' out of Ukraine found that 3% were under 18, and the US State Department reported in 2004 that incidents of minors being trafficked was increasing.

In Thailand, NGOs have estimated that up to a third of prostitutes are children under 18.[4] A study by the International Labor Organization on child prostitution in Vietnam reported that incidence of children in prostitution is steadily increasing and children under 18 make up between 5 percent and 20 percent of prostitution depending on the geographical area.[5]

In the Philippines, UNICEF estimated that there are 60,000 child prostitutes and many of the 200 brothels in the notorious Angeles City offer children for sex.[6]

ECPAT New Zealand and Stop Demand Foundation have cited in a report “The Nature and Extent of the Sex Industry in New Zealand,” a police survey of the New Zealand sex industry that 210 children under the age of 18 years were identified as selling sex, with three-quarters being concentrated in one Police District.[7]

The 1996 report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography estimates that about one million children in Asia alone are victims of the sex trade. According to the International Labor Organization, the problem is especially alarming in Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia and Nepal.[8]

A 2006 report by World Vision Middle East/Eastern Europe funded by the Canadian government and supported by six United Nations agencies and the International Organization for Migration reported that the sexual exploitation of children, child trafficking and sexual violence towards minors is increasing and that Russia is becoming a new destination for child sex tourism. The report adds that some studies claim approximately 20 to 25 percent of Moscow's sex workers are minors.[source?]

In Africa and South Asia, many countries are faced with a rising child prostitution rate and the linkage with tourism is evident.[source?] Child prostitution and the trafficking of children for sexual exploitation is also increasing in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia.[source?]

In Rio de Janeiro, the City Social Assistance Secretary estimates that there are 223 child prostitutes, both boys and girls. Some are transvestites. The transactions are intermediated by pimps. They charge from 2 reals to 30 reals, which is approximately from 1 US dollar to 15 US dollars. The children are between 10 and 17 years old. In some cases, the families are involved in the prostitution.[9]

References[change | edit source]