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Prostitution, Danger, Causes Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Simon, Nigeria Sep 9, 2005
Child & Youth Rights   Interviews


Prostitution, Danger, Causes What is the Prostitution of Children?

Prostitution is generally defined as performing, offering, or agreeing to perform a sexual act for any money, property, token, object, article, or anything of value. 1 Prostitution of children; therefore, is defined as the sexual exploitation of a child for remuneration in cash or in-kind, usually but not always organized by an intermediary such as a procurer, family member, pimp, or madame.

Hundreds of thousands of children have been lured into prostitution. 2 Though the prostitution of female children is more widely publicized, male children are also susceptible to the same dangers as females in this world of exploitation.

Dangers to Children

The dangers children face as a result of prostitution are both immediate and long-term. Most immediate is the physical, mental and emotional violence these children experience at the hands of pimps, madames, and customers. Long-term dangers include health problems, drug addictions, adverse psychological effects and even death. The most tangible consequence for children involved in prostitution is the extremely high probability of suffering violent assault. Not only are child victims of prostitution in danger from street life and pimps who prey on them, but the customers also pose great risks, including forced perversion, rape, physical abuse and beatings. At least two thirds are victimized by both customers and pimps. 3 Violence from pimps tends to be more frequent whereas, violence by customers is more dangerous but sporadic. 4 Prostituted children are often afraid to report these crimes to law enforcement because they are embarrassed and fearful that the charges would not be taken seriously or they may be arrested themselves.

What Are Some of the Causes of this Crime?

Homelessness, poverty and intolerance of their sexual orientation may all affect children who either are or have been prostituted. General psychological and emotional problems, housing instability, substance abuse, educational and vocational failure, and major problems at home have all been cited as common precipitating factors in the lives of prostituted children. 5 The children's young age, lack of education, and lack of the necessary street sense to survive alone6 contribute to their need to engage in survival sex, or the exchange of sex for food, money, shelter, drugs or protection that defines many of these young people's lives.7

Long-Term Psychological Effects to Children

Children who experience inappropriate sexual activity of a violent or nonviolent nature are psychologically impacted by a combination of the trauma of the assault itself, coupled with the distorted information exploiters use to justify their sexual behavior. Some of the many psychological effects of assault may be revealed through the child suffering from depression, disassociation and posttraumatic shock. To cope with their painful reality, more than three quarters are diagnosed as abusing drugs or alcohol as a temporary escape. 8 The existence of a drug culture in street life is truly a double-edged sword. Being sexually exploited through prostitution may result in a higher risk of substance abuse, and abusing substances places children at a higher risk for prostitution. 9 Prostituted children may internalize feelings of guilt for their participation in sexual acts, which may lead to additional promiscuity or the engagement in other reckless behaviors.

Children on the streets are not only more likely to be clinically depressed, but they are also twice as likely to have a serious mental-health problem and almost twice as likely to be actively suicidal or to have previously attempted suicide. 10 In one group of youth involved in prostitution, who were interviewed in shelters, 71 percent reported suicidal ideation, 33 percent had a lethal plan and 14 percent reported a previous attempt at suicide.11

Is there ever going to be an end to this ?



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Writer Profile

Simon Ezu is a social commentator, advocate for world peace, climate change and social reforms to make the world a better place.


Lyeme | Feb 26th, 2008
you have done well Mr Simon due to this your short message you made many people to understand the effect of prostitution and the person can be able to take control of herself to fight against prostitution! its me mariam from Tanzania.

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