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|An estimated two million girls and boys are enslaved in the global commercial sex trade. An untold number of others are sexually abused non-commercially. Most cases are not reported. Many children are sold into prostitution to pay off family debts or forcibly recruited on the street to work in brothels. Children as young as 5 are required to have sex with as many as 30 men each day. |
World Vision combats child sex tourism
U.S. citizens are among those from several wealthy countries who travel abroad for the purpose of having sex with children. Read more...
What are the manifestations of child sexual exploitation?
- Commercial: Prostitution, sex tourism, child pornography, trafficking and sale of children for sexual purposes
- Non-commercial: Sexual abuse of children by family and community members, forced marriage
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- Girls as young as 13 (mainly from Asia and eastern Europe) are trafficked as "mail-order" brides.
- Trafficking affects an estimated 1.2 million children per year.
- Child sex trafficking is a multi-billion-dollar industry, many of whom are trafficked for commercial sex work.
- Children work in brothels and some living away from home have been used to make pornographic films.
Where does it occur?
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- In all countries, both rich and poor. According to studies:
- Thailand, Cambodia, India and Brazil have some of the highest rates of commercial sexual exploitation of children.
- In Mexico, more than 16,000 children are involved in prostitution.
Who are the most vulnerable?
Although children from all social and economic backgrounds are at risk of sexual abuse, those most vulnerable live in economically depressed situations. Street children are particularly vulnerable, as they have very few resources and networks to turn to for protection. Children in poverty-stricken countries can be more vulnerable if their families are desperate for income. Back to top
What are the causes?
The causes of sexual exploitation are varied. Organized crime, corruption, lack of enforced laws, as well as pornography and promotion of sex tours on the internet all contribute to the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Poverty, unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, illiteracy and lack of education also perpetuate both commercial and non-commercial exploitation, as do cultural mores that devalue women and girls.Back to top
How does sexual exploitation impact the lives of children?
Long-lasting physical, social, spiritual and psychological damages are levied on these children. They can suffer disease (including HIV), violence, abuse, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, forced abortion, malnutrition and social ostracism. They are severely wounded physically and emotionally and almost all experience rejection by their families and communities in addition to feeling fear, shame and despair.Back to top
Are Americans involved in child sex tourism?
It is estimated that U.S. citizens account for 25 percent of child sex tourists worldwide. Some Americans take advantage of prostituted children while traveling to impoverished countries for business, tourism and other legitimate reasons. Others travel abroad specifically for "sex tours."
Sex tourists travel to countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil
expecting anonymity, low-cost prostitution, easily accessible children and impunity from prosecution. Notably, it is estimated that one-third of the prostitutes in Cambodia are children.
The United States has laws that prohibit sex with minors in other countries and has greatly increased government efforts to combat this problem. Under PROTECT Act of 2003
, U.S. citizens or residents who engage in sexual activity abroad with children under 18 can face 30 years in a U.S. prison
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is now actively investigating American sex tourists abroad and making arrests.As part of World Vision's commitment to protecting children, we have joined forces with national governments, law enforcement agencies and other organizations to combat child sex tourism through the Child Sex Tourism Prevention Project.