Juvenile prostitution

Other Names:
Adolescent prostitution
Teenage prostitution
Sexually exploited youth
Children in prostitution
Prostituted girls
Traffic in young girls
Child sex industry
Enforced prostitution of children

The range of child prostitution varies from individual cases to mass victims of organized crime. This may encompass a selection of children, some run away from home or from State institutions, some sold by their parents, some forced or tricked into prostitution, some street children, some part-time and some full-time, some amateurs and some professionals. The effects of tourism on child prostitution has led to dangerous developments. The presence of children of both sexes ready to satisfy the sexual appetites of organized bodies of tourists is very often an additional attraction, with paedophile tourists being able to obtain many profusely illustrated guides containing extensive information, including addresses, hotels, rates, local agents, local practices and traditions, and also the "legal limits" in each country.


Prostitution of young children is known to occur in Asia, Latin America, Europe and North America. In Bangkok, thirty thousand children under the age of sixteen and some as young as six are estimated to work as prostitutes. Anti-Slavery International reports approximately 200,000 child prostitutes in Thailand, where there is a relationship between tourism, a drug and prostitution culture and a German mafia. One Thai investigation found that 13 out of 19 children had been deceived and forced into prostitution; another found that brothel owners had beaten up or drugged children who had refused to work. Countries of the Middle East tend to deny that the problem exists in the region. However it is reported that some citizens of these countries travel to other countries, especially in Southeast Asia, in search of sexual services. Brazilian girls make more money as prostitutes than their fathers do as factory workers, thus they often support their entire family on their wages and find it almost impossible to leave such a lucrative profession. Young prostitutes in Bogota, Columbia earn 3,000 pesos (£3) from each client, whose money may help support cocaine addictions and marijuana purchases.

In the developed regions of Europe and North America, economic consideration, domestic violence and abuse, family disintegration and drug addiction are increasingly recognized as factors leading to the increase in child prostitution. In 1977, a girl under 12 years of age in New York was arrested 12 times for prostitution; a couple on Long Island was arrested for photographing their 3 1/2 year old daughter performing sexual acts. The stereotypical account of how a child gets into prostitution in the USA is that he or she is usually a runaway newly arrived in a big city bus station and picked up by a sweet-talking pimp who treats him/her well for a while and then expects favours in return. A recent study estimated that 5000 boys and 3000 girls below the age of 18 are involved in prostitution in Paris. In 1990, the legal age of consent in The Netherlands was reduced to 12 years.

Narrower Problems:
Male homosexual prostitution
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-beingGOAL 4: Quality EducationGOAL 5: Gender EqualityGOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and CommunitiesGOAL 12: Responsible Consumption and ProductionGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST