Child Prostitution: A curse in the life of innocent children

Author: Tushti Pande and Parul Saxena, Jagran lakecity university Bhopal


A significant global problem is child prostitution but in India this problem has received adequate attention because of a general lack of sensitivity for this issue. In India, prostitution existed from the time of Rigveda, it states how women who were common to several men, in Mahabharat also courtesans where established institutions. Traces of prostitution can be found but not particularly od child prostitution but it is one kind of prostitution only. Child prostitution is an old synonym which deprives the innocent children from their childhood, human rights and dignity. There are many violations of the basic rights of children, but nothing is more horrible then exploiting innocent children by sexually and engaging them in prostitution.

The United convention on the rights of child, 1990 defined child prostitution as “sexual exploitation of child below the age of 18 for remuneration in cash or kind.”

International Labour Organisation defined child prostitution as “the use, procuring or offering of a child for prostitution.”

The word child prostitution refers the use of children for sexual activities in exchange for remuneration or any other form of retribution. The word is included under a large umbrella term of sexual exploitation. The children who are used for this purpose generally works on the streets or in establishments such as brothels, clubs, massage parlours, bars, hotels or restaurants. Generally, both boys as well as girls are likely to be driven under child prostitution. For example, in Pakistan, more than 95% of truckers are engaged in sexual activities with young boys.[1]


Generally, it is way easier to abuse a child instead of an adult. The sexual exploiters utilise the docility of children because they are less able to defend themselves. Moreover, in certain cultures, myths and prejudices there is often a justification for sexual relations with innocent children. For example, in Asia, some men are persuaded that the fact of having sexual relations with very young virgin girls will prevent them from contracting HIV aids as well as will help them curing this illness. It is also believed by most man that having sexual relation with a virgin increases their virility, as well as bringing longevity and success in business. The child prostitutes are most often between 11-18 years of age.


There are many causes of child prostitution some of them are defined as follows:

· Poverty:

Poverty is the principle cause of prostitution. Parents often feel obligated to sell their children to pimps because their low salary does not allow them to meet the basic needs of their family. Such rejection forces innocent children to leave their family and become street children and hence they become easy targets of operators who promise them work and remuneration.

· Money:

In comparison to local salaries prostitution is a very lucrative activity. An example can be given that in Kenya, a sexual encounter with a young girl who is below the age of 16 can cost around 20 euros but this price can reach to 60 euros depending on the situation. The average Kenyan generally earns only 4 euros a day.

· Orphans:

Every year situations like war, natural calamity or any other pandemic contribute to the increase in number of orphans being so vulnerable, the orphans usually accept any kind of work. In this kind of situation prostitution becomes a way to survive as this activity is extremely profitable in comparison to any other forms of degrading or hazardous work.

· Child trafficking:

The number of children kidnapped each year across the world is increasing and these children’s have integrated into prostitution network which are against their will.

· Rise of sex market:

In the past 40 years the sex industry has been industrialised and defused by new methods of communication the rise of pornography in particular has contributed a lot to the development of prostitution.


· Sex tourism:

It is an activity involving children which is the commercial sexual exploitation of children by one or many people travelling outside of their province, geographic region of country. Women prefer to go India, Jamaica or Gambia whereas man travel to south east Asia, morocco, Senegal, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Panama, Suriname and Brazil. For many years now tourist guides provide the addresses where one can easily avail the services of a child. The internet also promotes details of this.

· Pimps and organized crimes:

The pimps can be a local former child prostitute or on a larger scale may belong to a global network of organised crimes the prostituted children are under the control of these pimps, to earn a lot of percentage of child revenue. It is very difficult to diminish or minimise the hold of these pimps.

· Intermediary:

The intermediaries are recruiters, transporters, owners of brothels and taxi drivers and sometime also the policeman who will often close their eyes to this curse.

“The chain which bind the child to their exploiter can be thousands of kilometres long.”


Child prostitution leads to huge number of negative effects on the well being and mental health of the child which become a scare throughout his/her life.

· Access to services:

Since the children who are sexually exploited are uneducated and rejected by their relatives and marginalised by society therefore, they have little or no access to welfare and because of which they have to suffer through extremely unhygienic conditions.

· Spread of AID:

Prostitution promotes the spread of HIV since many client refuses to have protected sexual encounters with the child. The children are therefore vulnerable to many sexually transmitted infections.

· Physical and psychological illness:

The physical damage to children includes vaginal tearing, physical after effects of torture, pain, infection, or unwanted pregnancy. Psychological damage includes symptoms such as depression, personality or sexual orientation confusion, problems with behaviour, trouble sleeping, loss of self-confidence, mistrust or hatred towards adults.[2]


· Indian constitution:

Article 23, 39(e), 39(f), 15(3) these articles deals with welfare legislations for women and children who are considered as the biggest sufferers. Article 23 specifically states prohibition on trafficking of human beings, forced labour and all form of exploitation whereas article 39 is directive to state to make welfare legislation for women and children and article 15 give power to state to make special provisions for women and children.

· Indian penal code:

Section 372 which states selling of minor for purpose of prosecution is fine and which may attract punishment up to 10 years and shall also be liable for fine. Section 373 gives punishment for buying of minor for purpose of prosecution which may also extend to 10 years and fine.

· The juvenile justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000:

This act was passed in consonance with the convention on the rights of child, the Act has elaborated the provisions for protection, treatment, care, education, vocational training, development and rehabilitation of children rescued from those procuring, inducing or taking person for Sake of prostitution and detaining person in premises where prosecution is carried on.


· Criminal justice system regulation:

Many of the interventions to end child prostitutionhave framed the problem in terms of its criminality by relying on solutions that originate in the criminal justice system. Also, because foreign involvement in the sex industry has been particularly emphasised, the majority of efforts to end child prostitution have focused on the demand side of the problem. The apparent invulnerability of such men, the appalling nature of the crimes being committed, and the public outcry has led several countries to pass extra territorial legislations enabling them to prosecute men in their home country for offences committed against children on foreign soil. In 1994, Australia became the first country to introduce extra territorial legislation, passing the Crimes (child sex tourism) Amendment Act, which brought in penalties of up to 70 years imprisonment for those convicted of sexual crimes against children overseas. Norway, Germany, France, Belgium, New Zealand and Sweden have passed similar laws and obtained several successful prosecutions.

International law is also essential for fighting prostitution, especially when it happens across borders. The push for changes in international legislations has happened alongside and increased willingness for tourist receiving countries to prosecute foreign nationals under their own domestic child protection laws. There is evidence of more men being arrested and convicted through the criminal justice system of the countries in which the crime occurs. Among other benefits, thee laws allowed for the prosecution of parents, probers and customers of child prostitutes so that anyone who has sex with the child under 15 could be sent to jail for between 2 and 6 years and the defendant could be imprisoned for up to 3 years if the child was between 15 and 18 years old.

· Other initiatives to help child prostitutes:

More attention must be given to issues of police willingness and ability to track and arrest the clients of child prostitute. The endemic poverty of several South-east Asian countries makes some families willing to allow their sons and daughter to work as prostitute.

Some initiatives aimed at helping children and their parents have had some success at providing financial alternatives to prostitution. By emphasising prevention and recognizing that economic hardship and family obligation are two of the many factors which contribute to child prostitution, schemes such as these makes welcome steps away from a one size pits as all interventions that is based on the belief that all child prostitutes are victims of trafficking.[3]


Child prostitution is very unique form of child abuse that is often hidden from the public eye, it is not just limited to developing countries, it is rather a global issue and also a significant global problem that has yet to receive appropriate medical and public health attention. These children rarely choose to engage in prostitution services but instead tricked into this business. Ones in the business the children face dramatic, psychological and physical abuse that no person especially a child should never experience. Those children that are lucky enough to escape remain traumatised for the rest of their lives. However, not all child prostitute is able to escape from the business. Many do not survive to adulthood and remain sex worker forever.


To overcome any ill practices going on in states the basic and important thing is to educate the new generation similarly to reduce the practice of child prostitution education is important on ground reality and not only in papers which states right to education is an fundamental right and quality of education should be improved to focus on Childs ability to think on its own way to choose his path to live his /her life with dignity. Counselling and guidance can be another effective step to curb this problem as child should be made comfortable to share his experience and then how he can overcome from that. Awareness is the most important think related to any offence people are not even aware that child prostitution can happen or is happening programs need to be done, schemes are to be made to make them aware that what is the offence how they can protect themselves and if happen what to do next etc. should be advised to people and above all this strict law is the need of hour so that people of same mentality should not dare to do the similar kind of offence again.

[1] -legal-frameworkabout-child-prostitution.html [2] [3]

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