Child Prostitution - The Facts

Child Prostitution Child prostitution, still a prominent and apparent problem in many countries; several nations have been successful in reducing the incident of this misconduct, giving the children effected, that have been trapped in this mortifying means to income, a chance for a better life. However a vast number of other countries still overlook this degradation and tainting of the life of the innocent.

  • The estimated number of children in prostitution in South Asia varies. Figures for children engaged in prostitution in India's metropolitan cities range from 270,000 to 400,000. [1]

  • In Nepal, the problem of child prostitution is believed to be spreading all over the country, predominantly in urban areas and along highways. One survey estimated that 800 girls are engaged as sex workers in the Kathmandu valley alone. [1]

  • Prostitution of boys is known in Pakistan, although figures are hard to obtain. A study has reported that children are lured into sex work by making them dependent on drugs. The practice of bringing boys to cinema halls where x-rated films are being screened has also been reported. [2]

  • Commercial sexual exploitation of boys has also been reported in Bombay. [3]

  • The growth of sex-tourism for child sex abusers, including pedophiles [4], has been increasingly noted in Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, catering primarily to demand from foreign tourists.

  • In Sri Lanka, the problem of child prostitution, primarily among boys, is highly visible in beach resort areas. Their ages generally range from eight to 15 years. These young male sex workers are usually school drop-outs, working for little money while nurturing the dream of 'quick and easy' money. [1]

  • In countries from the United Kingdom to South America, surveys among adult prostitutes have shown that many entered commercial sex after being abused at home. A small-scale study in Bangladesh indicates the same. [7]

  • In Nepal, cultural forms of prostitution among Badi and Deuki communities still prevail in some parts of the country, where girls are forced into sex work as a socially accepted means of survival. Men in the Badi community commonly involve their wives and daughters in commercial sex work to support the family. It is reported that 35 to 40% of Badi women involved in prostitution are under the age of 15.

  • In Bangladesh, child sexual abuse has been recognised among children employed as domestic workers. A study by the NGO "Breaking the Silence" found that 13% of the victims had been abused by an employer's son.

  • A small scale study in Pakistan claims that 35% of child victims of sexual assault were boys. [2]

  • Porous borders between some countries in the region allow for extensive trafficking and sexual exploitation of children. In particular, the porous India-Bangladesh and open India-Nepal borders are known for trafficking in women and children.

  • The UN has set up the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) to protect the rights of all persons under the age of 18. [8]

  • The CRC has a number of additional legal rulings called the Optional Protocols, including one that concerns the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. [8]

  • Bangladesh government is yet to fully adhere to & implement the CRC and the Optional Protocols

  • Up to 29,000 of street children are victims to prostitution in Bangladesh

  • 27,000 Bangladeshi women & children have been forced into prostitution in Indian brothels

  • Young girls from certain rural districts of India, Nepal and Bangladesh are trafficked for marriage and then sold into prostitution. [6]

  • Sexual abuse & exploitation of children are widespread, but these are taboo subjects in Bangladeshi society


    • Conditions of prostitution in many South Asian countries resemble slavery. Girls are held in brothels against their will; they are tortured, degraded, beaten and forced into submission through deprivation of food and water. [5]
    • Physical injuries such as bruises, unwanted pregnancies and infections in the vagina and anus
    • Mental and psychological trauma as well as exposing them to social ostracism and a future of violence and poverty. The notion of 'personhood' of children and women is severely undermined through sexual abuse and exploitation. The psychological and emotional impacts include depression, fear, mental disturbances, sleeping problem and low self-esteem.
    • Susceptible to drug abuse; child sex exploiters encouraging drug use and addiction in order to gain more control over the children
    • The loss of an affirmative sense of self is a serious mental health impact that is often obscured in the processes and procedures involved in recovery and reintegration of the victims.


  1. UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) (1999), "Sexually Abused and Sexually Exploited Children and Youth in South Asia: A Qualitative Assessment of Their Health Needs and Available Services.: New York: UN ESCAP
  2. Child Rights and Abuse Committee, Pakistan Pediatrics Association & Save the Children, Sweden-Pakistan (2000), Confronting Reality: Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children in Pakistan, A Situation Analysis. Peshawar, Pakistan: SC (Sweden) and Pakistan Pediatrics Association.
  3. Mehra, Dr. Jyoti (1996), Reducing Risk Behavior Related to HIV/AIDS, STDs and Drug Abuse Among Street Children. New Delhi, India: National Report, Ministry of Welfare, UNDCP, UNICEF, WHO and NACO.
  4. "Who is 'the sex exploiter'?" (2001) Press kit background paper 2, a summary prepared for the Second World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, based on Davidson, Julia O'Connell, "The Sex Exploiter"
  5. Coomaraswamy, Radhika (2000), Integration of the Human Rights of Women and the Gender Perspective, Violence against Women. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences presented to Commission on Human Rights Fifty-seventh session, Oct. 28-November 15, 2000, Nepal, Bangladesh and India. United Nations Economic
  6. UNICEF (2001) Commercial sexual exploitation and sexual abuse of children: In South Asia. 2nd World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Childen. 17-20 December 2001. UNICEF.
  7. Heissler, Karin (2001), Background paper on Best Practices and Priorities to Combat Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children in Bangladesh. Dhaka, Bangladesh: CSI.
  8. "Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography" accessed from: [Last accessed 01/11/08]