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Child Prostitution - A Global Menace Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by King, Aja Nwabueze, Nigeria Jun 21, 2004
Human Rights , Child & Youth Rights   Opinions
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All forms of sexual exploitation are incompatible with human dignity and therefore violate fundamental human rights, regardless of the age, gender, race, ethnicity or class of the victim.

In many parts of the world, the problem of Child Prostitution is a frightening reality. The results are tragic. Often, child prostitutes, whether occasional or full-time, also become involved in crime and drug abuse. Many of them feel frustrated and worthless, seeing little or no prospect of escaping their wretched lives.

Influential personalities recognize the devastating effects of child prostitution. Brazil’s ex-president Fernando Hearique card aptly stated: “child prostitution is a barbarous crime”. A Brazilian newspaper published this sobering comment about child prostitution: countries where such a practice is common, tolerated, accepted, and even sought after because of the money it brings, experience every day the devastation that it causes. The individual, family, inevitably annuls any financial profit it may produce, and social disasters generated by such a practice.

For instance, Maria became a child prostitute at the age of 14 years. She adopted this horrible life style at the insistence of her own mother, who told her that she was beautiful and that men would like her very much. Besides she would earn a lot of money. In the evening, Maria’s mother took her to a Motel where they made contacts. The mother remained nearby to receive the payments. Each night, Maria had sex with three or four men. She had abortions that later affected her child bearing.

A 13 year-old Carina was also forced into prostitution. Carina’s family sold her body to supplement their limited income. Estela left school at a young age, not even knowing how to read and write, and began working as street prostitute. And Daisy was about six years old when she was sexually molested by one of her brothers – the first of many incestuous acts perpetrated on her. She became a prostitute at the age of 14.

According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, there is a steady increase in all kinds of prostitution. In one Latin – American country, a congressional committee of inquiry reported that there are more than 500,000 female child prostitutes, even though prostitution is illegal.

In another land, there are about 300,000 child prostitutes on the streets, especially in African continent and in areas where there is drug traffic. In Asian countries, about one million young girls are reportedly used as prostitutes in conditions comparable to slavery. Some lands have the reputation of being Mecca for child prostitution and sex tourism.

Owing to the high incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, such as AIDS, customers are willing to pay far higher prices for children who are considered more likely to be virgin and thus less likely to be infected. Luiza Nagib Eluf of Brazil’s Ministry of Finance explained “The fear of HIV/AIDS has caused men to seek ever younger girls and boys, which makes the problem even worse.” She said: “sexual exploitation of girls and teenagers is the most serious social problem among poor women in Brazil”.

However, this gruesome reality thrives in an environment of misery and poverty. According to one government official “child prostitution and exploitation in her country are clearly liken to the disintegration of the family and are fruits of misery and hunger.” Street children resort to prostitution because they see it as their only means of survival. In order to get something to eat, she may steal and only occasionally sell her body. Next she becomes a professional prostitute.

Sometimes teenagers are sent to other countries to work as prostitutes. “The money sent by emigrant prostitutes to their families often amounts to considerable sums given the poverty of some Asian and Africa countries”, reports UNESCO sources. Prostitution within these countries is also encouraged, with tourists from wealthy countries coming deliberately to take advantage of the “services” provided by young people and children. The tragic reality is that some of the prostitutes are as young as 12 years.

Besides, under the influence of drugs, a child prostitute may be subjected to indignities she normally would never agree to. Also, high costs can force a child into prostitution. Take for instance Daisy, who was sexually molested by one of her brothers, at the age of six years old. After a few days, she fell ill. When she recovered, the owner confronted her with a debt, forcing her to work as a prostitute.

Frankly, these girls had never set prostitution as a goal for themselves. According to a social worker, many young prostitutes “want to marry” and dream of a ‘prince charming’. While there are complex situations that lead to their taking up the life of a prostitute, one source claims: The most shocking is that the majorities were raped in their own homes. These are very prevalent in Africa.

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King, Aja Nwabueze

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star spangled crimes
melanie mae | Jun 29th, 2004
i agreed with your report, but i wanted to point something out. You failed to mention that this nasty situation occurs in the USA as well. I am commited to put an end to it, but one person cannot do all. It is a global problem which needs global action.

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