Specialisation: Child Prostitution

Child Exploitation, Trafficking, and Prostitution


Child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution are all forms of child abuse. They involve the exploitation of children for financial gain. The trafficker or pimp targets vulnerable children and lures them into a life of exploitation. The child is then forced to engage in sexual activity or work in hazardous conditions. Children’s overall health can be adversely affected by this. Child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution are all linked to poverty. Poverty increases a child’s risk of being abused, neglected, or exploited. They may be compelled to work in hazardous circumstances, sell drugs, or consent to illegal sexual activities to make ends meet.

Child exploitation

Child exploitation is a form of abuse in which adults use children for their gain. This can take many forms, including sexual abuse, labor exploitation, and using children to produce pornography. Child exploitation is a global problem and one that is often hidden. Exploited children are often too afraid or ashamed to speak out, so the abuse continues. Exploiting children is a form of child abuse and a violation of their constitutional protections. Each child is entitled to be protected from harm and treated equally at all times, regardless of the circumstances. Unfortunately, child exploitation robs children of their childhood and their future. But there is hope. Organizations like UNICEF are working to end child exploitation and help those affected. We can end this form of child abuse with continued awareness and action.

Child trafficking

Child trafficking refers to the illegal transport of minors for exploitation. Child trafficking is a serious domestic and international problem and is often linked to other forms of child abuse and exploitation. There are many reasons why children are trafficked, including poverty, conflict, and natural disasters (Greenbaum, Yun, & Todres, 2018). Children orphaned or who have run away from home are especially vulnerable to trafficking, as are children with disabilities. In some cases, children are sold into trafficking by their own families. Child trafficking is a lucrative business for traffickers, who can profit by selling children into slavery or forced labor. Unfortunately, this means that children are often seen as commodities, and their rights and well-being are often ignored. This is a tragic reality for many children who are trafficked each year.

Child prostitution

In many developing countries, child prostitution is rampant. Children as young as six years old are being forced into sexual servitude by adults who take advantage of their poverty and desperation. The majority of child prostitutes are girls, and most of them come from low-income families (Deb Sunny & Majumdar, 2020). They are lured into the sex trade with promises of money, food, or shelter. Once involved, they are often beaten and forced to work long hours. They also risk contracting sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

Domestic violence and its connection to child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution

There is a strong correlation between domestic violence and child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. Children who witness domestic violence or are victims of it are more likely to be involved in prostitution and trafficking later in life. There are many reasons for this. First, they may see violence as a regular part of relationships and think it is okay to treat their partners this way. Second, they may feel they are not worthy of love and respect and that the only way to get these things is to sell themselves. Third, they may have been told by their abuser that they are worthless and that no one else would want them (Le, et al., 2018). Fourth, they may feel that they have no other options and that this is the only way to make money. Fifth, they may be trying to escape from their abuser and think this is the only way to do so. Sixth, they may have been promised things by their abuser that they will get if they do this. Another reason is that children who experience domestic violence often develop low self-esteem and a sense of powerlessness. This can lead them to believe that they are not worthy of love or respect and that their only value lies in their sexual appeal. As a result, they may be more likely to engage in prostitution or other sexual exploitation to feel wanted and valued. Another reason why domestic violence can lead to child exploitation is that it can create a cycle of abuse (Lloyd, 2018). Sadly, children exposed to family violence are more likely to become violent as adults. This is often since they have learned that violence is an acceptable way to resolve conflict and exert power over others. Additionally, children subjected to domestic violence are more prone to psychological issues like stress disorder, hopelessness, and tension. They may find it challenging to establish positive interactions due to these psychological problems, which raises the possibility that they will turn to prostitution or other social vices as a coping mechanism (Riedl et al., 2019).

Perpetrators of child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution

There is no one face of a child exploitation trafficker or pimp. They can be men or women, young or old, of any race or nationality. They may operate alone or as part of a more extensive criminal network. Some may seem kind and caring, while others may be violent and abusive. Some traffickers lure children and young adults with promises of a better life, love, or exciting job opportunities (Durisin & van der Meulen, 2021). They may use social media, online chat rooms, or dating websites to make contact. Once they have gained the trust of their victim, they may then threaten or coerce them into performing commercial sex acts or working in the labor trafficking industry. Traffickers often target vulnerable children and young adults who have run away from home, are living in poverty, have a history of abuse or neglect, or are struggling with substance abuse. They may also target children and young adults who are LGBTQ+, undocumented or have a disability.

Consequences of child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution

Child exploitation is a serious problem that can have several negative consequences for the involved children. They may suffer from physical and sexual abuse and emotional and psychological trauma. This can lead to several problems in their lives, including difficulties in school, problems with relationships, and mental health issues. Trafficking is another serious issue that can have several negative consequences for the involved children. They may be forced to work in dangerous and unhealthy conditions and be subjected to physical and sexual abuse (Martins, 2019). This can lead to several problems in their lives, including mental health issues, difficulties in school, and problems with relationships. Prostitution is another severe problem that can have several negative consequences for the involved children. They may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse and emotional and psychological trauma. This can lead to several problems in their lives, including mental health issues, difficulties in school, and problems with relationships.

How can society help victims of child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution

The first step in helping victims of child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution is to raise awareness of the issue. This can be done through education and public awareness campaigns. By increasing public awareness, more people will be able to identify the signs of child exploitation and trafficking and will be more likely to report it. In addition to raising awareness, society can help victims of child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution by providing support services. These services can include shelter, counseling, and legal assistance (Greenbaum, Yun, & Todres, 2018). By providing these services, victims will be able to get the help they need to recover from their experiences and start rebuilding their lives. Finally, society can help victims of child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution by working to prevent these crimes from happening in the first place. This can be done by working to improve the economic and social conditions that make these crimes possible. By working to prevent child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution, society can make a difference in the victims’ lives and help create a safer world for all children.

International law on child exploitation, trafficking, or prostitution

Several different international treaties and conventions address these issues in part. For example, International laws prevent child abuse and trafficking, and countries are obligated to avert and penalize these offenses under the Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Also, the UN Framework to Prevent, Limit, and Penalise Child trafficking, calls on countries to develop interventions to combat the smuggling and exploitation of children (Mbakogu, 2020). States must stand up and defend teenage girls from abuse and victimization, such as sex trafficking and human trafficking. In addition to these treaties and conventions, several international organizations work to combat child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. These organizations include the UN Children’s Fund and the International Organization for Migration.

US national laws on shielding children from exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution

In the United States, several national laws work to shield children from exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (TVPA) is one such law that prohibits trafficking in persons, including children. The TVPA also establishes penalties for traffickers and assists victims of trafficking. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act of 2015 further enhances the TVPA by providing additional protections for child victims of trafficking and increasing the penalties for traffickers. The Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 creates a national strategy to prevent child trafficking and exploitation (Hounmenou & ‘Grady, 2019). The Child Trafficking Prevention and Justice Act of 2017 enhances the ability of police departments to thoroughly investigate issues involving the exploitation and trafficking of children. These laws are just a few examples of national efforts to combat child trafficking and exploitation. State and local laws also play a role in protecting children from these crimes. For example, many states require businesses to post human trafficking awareness materials in their establishment. These materials often include information on how to report suspected trafficking activity. By working together, federal, state, and local law enforcement can more effectively protect children from trafficking and exploitation.

How child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution are prosecuted in the US

The exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution of children are all crimes that are punishable by law in the United States, both on the state and national levels. The creation of children’s pornographic content and its circulation, purchase, and acquisition are all illegal. In addition, it makes it illegal for kids to be exploited sexually, including through smuggling, sex trafficking, and other sexual activities or abusive behavior. The laws of each state are different, but the vast majority make it illegal to produce, distribute, or acquire child pornography and manipulate kids for sexual purposes.

Civil remedies for child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution

Several civil remedies are available to child victims of exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution. These include but are not limited to: first is restitution: This is a court-ordered payment from the perpetrator to the victim to compensate them for their losses. This can include medical and counseling expenses, lost wages, and other damages (Gies et al., 2020) . The second is injunctive relief: This court order prohibits the perpetrator from engaging in certain activities or contacting the victim. This can include an order to stay away from the victim’s home, school, or workplace or not post specific information about the victim online. Third, civil damages: This is a monetary award from the court to the victim. This can include compensatory damages (for pain and suffering) and punitive damages (to punish the perpetrator and deter others from similar conduct).


Child exploitation, trafficking, and prostitution are severe global problems that must be addressed. While there has been some progress in recent years, much more must be done to protect children from these abuses. Governments and NGOs need to work together to strengthen laws and enforcement and provide victims with support and services. The public also needs to be educated about the issue to be more aware of the signs of abuse and report it. Only by working together can we hope to put an end to these horrific practices.


Deb, S., Sunny, A. M., & Majumdar, B. (2020). Child Trafficking for Prostitution: The Exploitation of Poverty-stricken Situation. In Disadvantaged Children in India (pp. 49-83). Springer, Singapore.

Durisin, E., & van der Meulen, E. (2021). The Perfect Victim:‘Young girls’, domestic trafficking, and anti-prostitution politics in Canada. Anti-trafficking review, (16), 145-149.

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Martins, P. C. (2019). Child trafficking: The construction of a social problem. Modern slavery and human trafficking, 1-16.

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Riedl, D., Beck, T., Exenberger, S., Daniels, J., Dejaco, D., Unterberger, I., & Lampe, A. (2019). Violence from childhood to adulthood: The influence of child victimization and domestic violence on physical health in later life. Journal of psychosomatic research116, 68-74.

Shoji, M., & Tsubota, K. (2022). Sexual exploitation of trafficked children: Survey evidence from child sex workers in Bangladesh. Journal of Comparative Economics50(1), 101-117.