Children and Prostitution – Part IV: Annotated Bibliography

Children and Prostitution – Part IV: Annotated Bibliography

Index – Introduction – Part 1 – Part 2 – References – Annotated Bibliography



The moon is laughing at us, the stars weeping for us.
We had tried to reach for the sky
But we are sleeping on the earth. 

When we wake up darkness still looms all around us.

Our morning lies far beyond in the horizon.

Abid Merhti, from Poems by Street Children, Bombay, YUVA.


1. Introduction

This bibliography is not intended to be comprehensive and does not in any way reflect the totality of texts consulted during the literature review. As the objectives of the review were to map the discourse or discourses involved, examine the data and look for ways of measuring and monitoring the commercial sexual exploitation of children, the literature included in this bibliography has been selected in order to reflect those requirements. Journalistic and sensationalist accounts have been omitted as, in general, have those that show an absence of proper research techniques or theoretical understanding. The exception is the inclusion of certain key texts that have moved the debates forward, or to which reference is frequently made. The purpose of this bibliography is to evaluate the usefulness of the texts examined for the purpose of laying the groundwork for a better understanding of the phenomena involved in the commercial sexual exploitation of children, so that they can be measured and their progressive eradication monitored.

Because of problems of space and time, this bibliography also lacks reference to the considerable body of theoretical work in the areas of childhood, sexuality and prostitution, for example, the pathbreaking work of authors such as Sigmund Freud, Philippe Aries and Michel Foucault. However, there is a clear debt to such sources within the preceding literature review.

The more sensational books and articles have been omitted for their inaccurate and exploitative use of data. Nevertheless, some texts written for a popular audience have been included because they show that journalism can be informative and readable without catering to gullibility and prurience. In the regional section, some of the less-well researched areas, such as the Middle East and Eastern Europe are not included because reliable texts are so few. It is regretted that, because of the lack of time available in producing this review, the section on ‘the West’ is limited to Anglophone literature.

2. General Texts

The texts in this section deal with a number of issues relevant to the commercial sexual exploitation of children, some discussing the issue directly, others providing background data or theoretical frameworks of interest for debates in this area.

There have been many thousands of articles and books written in the past ten years. The general bibliography highlights the work of some of the major thinkers and researchers on this subject, as well as the books that have been most influential and stimulated the most fruitful debates.

Two major sets of debates have not been included here. In the past decade and a half, academic researchers have developed significant theoretical tools for analysing the two key ideas addressed in this report, ideas that are clearly important for the views we have expressed. However, this literature is now voluminous and those readers who are not familiar with it are advised to consult specialist bibliographies.

Allsebrook, A. and Swift, A., 1989, Broken Promise, London: Hodder and Stoughton.
ISBN: 0-340-50906-6

The work of two journalists. A good cross-cultural study of children in difficult circumstances, including in the West. Gives an excellent life history of young prostitutes in New York, without using stereotypes or moral judgements. It also deals with First and Third World children equally without any of the delinquent/victim dichotomy inherent in so much of the literature. Based on case histories of individuals.

Bell, L., 1987, Good Girls/Bad Girls: Feminists and Sex Trade Workers Talk Face to Face,Toronto: The Women’s Press.
ISBN: 0-88961-112-2

The overriding theme of this book is the antagonism between feminists and sex workers and the way the majority of sex workers reject the exploitation label. There is section on child prostitution in which two adult sex workers demand that child prostitution be looked at in context. They write:


‘I work on the street, and yes, there are a lot of kids out there. The young child prostitutes on the street haven’t made a conscious decision to be prostitutes. They’re there to survive. They’re doing it to get money to get a place to sleep, some food to eat. They also do B and E’s [breaking and entering], they also rip off credit cards. They’ll do anything they have to, to survive. Society continually whitewashes their problems with prostitution. I would like to see society look at the kids problems, the whole issue – not just call them prostitutes and deal with it on that level’ (Valerie Scott). 
‘I also find it very interesting that they look at the child prostitute, and they say the problem is prostitution. They forget the problems of theft, drugs, or just general exploitation of youth on the street… It’s bordering on criminal for officials to try and say that prostitution is responsible for this. Prostitution is a symptom of a greater problem that these children have experienced that put them on the street in the first place’ (Mary Scott). 

Boudhiba, A. , 1982, Exploitation of child labour: Final report of the Special Rapporteur of the UN Sub Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Geneva: United Nations.

Boudhiba’s report was not only extremely influential in its day in drawing official attention to the issue of child labour, it was also ahead of its time in giving priority to two particular groups of child workers: child domestic servants (which he called ‘maids of all work’ and child prostitutes. Although neither category has been given the attention it deserves, his efforts to conceptualise both within the overall framework of child work were pathbreaking.

Burja, J.,1982, Prostitution, Class and the State in C. Sumner (ed.), Crime, Justice and Underdevelopment, London: Heinemann.
ISBN: 0-435-8288-6

This article is not strictly relevant to children but the author presents an interesting argument, analysing prostitution in Marxist terms, with particular reference to Kenya. She argues that prostitution reinforces the capitalist system because men are forced to move to cities, where their wages are not sufficient to support a wife. Whereas in rural areas they had been able to rely on the free domestic and sexual services of their wives, they are obliged to pay for these services in urban settings. Prostitutes thus fulfill a specific role in the capitalist state by limiting discontent. Burja states that, in Kenya, men may chose to work at particular locations because prostitutes are available.

Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism, Caught in Modern Slavery: tourism and child prostitution in Asia, International Campaign to End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT); report and proceedings of the Chiang Mai Consultation, May 1-5, Bangkok: The Ecumenical Coalition on Third World

A collection of the main papers presented at a consultation in Chiang Mai, including analysis of the problem and national reports from Thailand, Sri Lanka, The Philippines, Taiwan and India. The Consultation recommended that a three year international campaign to abolish child prostitution, “End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism” (ECPAT) be undertaken. The initial focus of the campaign would be on child prostitution in Asian tourism which could then perhaps be broadened to other regions. The collection includes an outline of the action plan.

Ennew, J. , 1986, Sexual Exploitation of Children, Cambridge: Polity Press.
ISBN: 0-7456-0230-4

Within the context of theories of childhood and the then emerging debates on children’s rights the author argues that child prostitution is about power rather than about sex. Arguing against simplistic moralist and feminist positions she claims that it is necessary to consider the way child prostitution is inscribed within power relationships of age, race and class as well as gender. Ennew is critical of sensationalist treatments of the sexual exploitation of children, critically discussing the data available with respect to child prostitution, child pornography and sex tourism.

Ennew, J., & Milne, B., 1989, The Next Generation: Lives of Third World Children, London: Zed Books.
ISBN: 0-862-32781-4

A now somewhat dated consideration of what children’s rights mean in developing countries, consisting of a long introductory essay and twelve country case studies. Argues that poverty is about powerlessness as much as economics and that children are the most powerless in any society. The case study of Thailand, in particular discusses sexual exploitation and child prostitution.

Fernand-Laurent, J., 1983, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, Geneva: United Nations.
ECOSOC E/1983/7 17 March 1983

A forerunner of the Muntabhorn reports (see below). Even though Fernand-Laurent was reporting to a different part of ECOSOC, his report could be said to have been more influential in bringing the issue of child sexual exploitation to the fore and also more successful in its use of information. Fernand-Laurent discussed child prostitution within the wider context of prostitution of, and traffic in, all categories of person. His approach thus differed from that of Boudhiba (above) by taking a more human rights perspective, at a time when the Convention on the Rights of the Child was still in the early stages of drafting: ‘At the heart of the struggle for respect and promotion of human rights, a more specific struggle is to be waged for the liberation of women and children because they, together with the poor, are least equipped to defend themselves’ (p. 36). In addition, this report is unique in taking a balanced view of existing data: ‘The important point is not the scale of the phenomenon in terms of numbers but its degree of seriousness as a violation of the fundamental rights of the human person’ (p. 14).

Graburn, N.H., 1983, Tourism and Prostitution, Annals of Tourism Research, 10 (3)
ISSN: 0160-7383

One of the strongest anti-tourist texts, makes the relationship between prostitution and tourism explicit. Claims that the men of poorer countries are turned into pimps who have to sell their country’s beauty, while the whole country is prostituted to tourists.

Holland, P., 1992, What Is A Child, London: Virago.

ISBN: 1-85381-273-0

Looks at images of children from a largely feminist perspective and discusses the way children have been portrayed in advertising, including with respect to their sexuality. The sexuality of children ‘s is based on their being unknowing but full of potential. Once they have given up this potential, they are no longer so alluring, so that sexually abused children are viewed with a mixture of distaste and condemnation.

International Save the Children Fund, 1991, Position Paper on the CommercialSexual Exploitation of Children, London: Save the Children Fund.
ISBN: None

Recognises the link between domestic service and prostitution. Admits that children may pimp for other children and that the whole process is much more complicated than many campaigners admit

Korbin, J. E., 1987a, Child sexual abuse: Implications from the cross-cultural record, in N. Scheper-Hughes ed., Child Survival: Anthropological Perspectives on the Treatment and Maltreatment of Children, Dordrecht, Boston, Lancaster, Tokyo: D. Reidel Publishing Company, (247 267).
ISBN: 1-55 608-028-X

Korbin writes about the theoretical issues concerned with child sexual abuse. She notes that sexual conduct and therefore abuse is defined differently across cultures. She offers
five guidelines for the definition of sexual abuse: Violation of family roles; Coercion; Consent; Secrecy and Age discrepancy.

Korbin, J.E., 1987b, Child maltreatment in cross-cultural perspective: Vulnerable children and circumstances, in R.J. Gelles & J.B. Lancaster (eds.), Child Abuse and Neglect: Biosocial Dimensions, New York: Aldine de Gruyter, (31-56).
ISBN 0-202-30333-0

In this article Korbin discusses factors that render a child vulnerable to abuse and suggests a useful way of defining child abuse universally, while taking into account cultural differences. She argues that there are three levels to culturally informed definitions:


(1) Cultural practices that are viewed as abusive or neglectful by other cultures, but not by the culture in question; (2) idiosyncratic departure from one’s cultural continuum of acceptable behaviour; and (3) societally induced harm to children beyond the control of individual parents and caretakers (p. 34).

Muntabhorn, V. 1992. Sale of Children, Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, New York: United Nations.

One of the most widely quoted texts on child prostitution and source of many of the stories that have since been circulated until they take on the position of ‘fact’. Muntabhorn appears to be the original source for the ‘fact’ that there has been an increase in demand for younger children because they are believed to be AIDS free (paragraph 138) for which he gives no references. Information for this survey was gathered by sending out questionnaires to the welfare services of different governments, so that some under reporting or over emphasising of certain problems must be expected. Muntabhorn defines a child as anyone under 18, without differentiation. He looks at the sale of children in a wide context, which includes the sale of children for adoption, exploitation of child labour, organ transplantation, armed conflict and abduction. He concludes that children are more likely to be exploited when there are ‘pockets’ of deprivation and large gaps between rich and poor.

Muntabhorn, V. 1993. Sale of Children, Report submitted by the Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, New York: United Nations.


In this second of the three reports made during his period as Special Rapporteur, Muntabhorn reiterates much of what was said in the previous report. In addition, he links exploitation to industrialisation and points to the importance of local male clients in the child sex trade. He also refers to child pornography and black magic. He recommends the rehabilitation of paedophiles and calls for the psychological patterns of paedophiles’ needs to be researched in depth.

Muntabhorn, V. 1994. Sale of Children, Report submitted by the Special Rapporteu on the Sale of Children, New York: United Nations.

This third report again emphasises the importance of macro economic factors and states that children are most likely to be affected adversely by structural adjustment. Munabhorn also examines social factors and claims that socially marginal people, such as hill tribes in Nepal and untouchables in India, are more likely to be exploited. He examines prostitution in terms of other available employment for children of low socio-economic status, concluding that prostitution is a choice from among many evils and that mental and physical trauma are evident in both sweatshops and brothels.

Narvesen, O. (1989). The Sexual Exploitation of Children in Developing Countries, Oslo: Redd Barna.
ISBN: 82-7481-003-1

This NGO report provides the much quoted figure of one million sexually exploited children in Asia but goes on to claim that the working number of prostitutes is 15,000-20,000. The author states, on the basis of uncritically-examined secondary data, that the at risk groups of children most likely to become prostitutes are housemaids, street children and children of women in prostitution. Narvesen also claims that children rarely lose their virginity to customers and that they are seldom sold into prostitution entirely against their will. Information was collected from Redd Barna partner organisations in Peru and the Philippines.

Scheper-Hughes, N. and Stein, H. (1987). Child Abuse and the Unconscious in American Popular Culture in N. Scheper Hughes (ed.), Child Survival: anthropological perspectives on the treatment and maltreatment of children, Dordrecht, Boston, Lancaster, Tokyo: D. Reidel Publishing Company (339-358).
ISBN: 1-55608-028-X

Excellent article suggesting that the discovery of child abuse says less about perpetrators, than those who uncover abuse. As poor, minority children are increasingly targeted in government cutback schemes, so individual families from that group are singled out for attack. Neglect and poverty kill far more children than physical or sexual abuse, but dealing with societal neglect means tackling issues at a societal level. Fears of child abuse become more acute when there is a cultural crisis: ‘the anxiety about child abuse is, in part, the displaced expression of anxiety about the many changes our society has undergone with respect to sex roles, sexuality and family life’ (p. 343). This article provides important insights into the reasons why public interest focuses on sexual abuse rather than on other forms of abuse.

VENA Journal, The Girl Child, Volume 6, 2, 1995, pp. 80

This volume consists of ten articles that discuss different theoretical aspects of the girl-child discourse. They are well argued and most of the contributors have correctly criticised the discourse as both harmful and redundant. For instance, certain popular beliefs are brought to book. As Gupta points out, female infanticide and foeticide may be a manifestation of the low value of girls, but the practices are not related to the socio-economic situation of the families; “it is patriarchy operating through women themselves”. Similarly, Henderson argues that the physical person of the young girl become the site where these contradictions are tested and the girls becomes the object of blame. In Kenya, Muyakho notes that teenage pregnancies hinder girls’ education because they are not allowed to remain in school as they will be a bad example to other innocent girls, by seeming to give a seal of approval to the pregnancy. Judith Ennew’s article questions the utility of current definitions that focus on sexual vulnerability. In the first place, current gender theories make it appear that only females (and homosexual men) are the bearers of gender. Secondly, where girls and women are concerned, the main focus is sexuality. The sexuality of girls is seen as intrinsically dangerous and provides a focus and rationale for adult, male control of girls. Thus, although the discourse on feminism in India takes socio economic oppression into account, it bases its arguments on Northern notions of childhood and gender, which create barriers to female empowerment.

Vittachi, A. 1989, Stolen Childhood, Cambridge: Polity Press.
ISBN: 0-7456-0714-4

Very general, journalistic account of child abuse, using secondary data. Deals with street children, prostitutes and the economics of the situations. Does not form hierarchies of abuse or ignore the social and economic aspects of the children’s lives and deals with the problems of children in the first and third world with equal sympathy. Shows that children’s perceptions of the worlds they live in and the risks they face are often radically different from those trying to help them.

3. Regional Texts

3.1.1. South East Asia

South East Asia has been in the forefront of recent campaigns against the commercial sexual exploitation of children. Campaigning groups such as ECPAT have been based there and have used it as their starting point of analysis. There is thus a disproportionate amount of literature on the countries of South East Asia, in particular Thailand and the Philippines, which have had the most vocal and well organised campaigners. Newer countries of interest include Vietnam and Cambodia but, as yet, there have been fewer articles and newspaper stories written abut these countries. Despite so much attention to the issue, serious research is still rare in this region.

Much of the work focused on South East Asia has been on the ‘sex tourist’ who travels from his home country to buy sex from local children. The extent of abuse of child prostitutes by local men and women remains undisclosed and there has been no well-conducted research of the extent and nature of commercial sexual exploitation by locals. Instead, the majority of the texts focus on foreign men, and especially the role of the tourist, in exacerbating or even creating a local sex industry.

Other researchers, especially Western anthropologists and sociologists have examined the predisposing factors that might lead some countries in South East Asia, such as Thailand and the Philippines to have a problem of sex tourism, while others such as Indonesia and Malaysia have largely avoided them (even though they both have a thriving indigenous sex industry). They have looked at the role of certain cultural factors, such as the status of women, which are claimed to have helped in sustaining the sex industry(Hantrakul 1983), Buddhism (Thitsa 1980), militarism and economics (Truong 1990).

Like the material on the West (see later), there are noticeable gaps in this discourse, most importantly on local markets and the traffic from adjoining countries. Some work has been carried out on the ways women are brought from Burma and China into Thailand but, further research is necessary, for example on the Vietnamese women who work in Cambodian brothels, as well as the Malaysian men who are reported to have sex with young Chinese girls in Thailand’s border brothels.

Unfortunately much of the research done on South East Asia is sensationalised and unreliable. It is also rarely placed in an economic or social context. There has been a great deal of mass media interest in the child prostitutes of South East Asia and many hundreds of newspaper articles have been published, which have been omitted from this bibliography, along with sensationalising books. Instead this bibliography reflects the issues that have been important in forming a discourse on child prostitution in South East Asia.

Asia Partnership for Human Development, 1985, Awake, Sydney: APHD.
ISBN: None

This publication is written from a Christian perspective that sees prostitution is necessarily wrong, and is also critical of migration and ‘Westernisation’ (although these terms are rarely defined). Contains a series of articles by middle class women, talking about, rather than for, poorer women in their communities. In this ideology, Westernisation=economic hardship=prostitution (both adult and child).

Asia Partnership for Human Development, 1992, Awake 2, Philippines: APHD.
ISBN: None

Contains similar ideas to the 1985 volume and views both migration and prostitution negatively. Statistics on migration and prostitution are provided as if they were one and the same.

Black, M, 1994, Home Truths, New Internationalist , February 1994.
ISSN: 03050- 9529

One of the very few articles to attack the prevailing view of children as victims. Looks at girls in the Philippines who work as prostitutes part time but do not call themselves prostitutes and do not see themselves in that light. The author examines the girls’ perceptions of who they are and what they do, contrasting this with the views of campaigners who claim to speak on their behalf.

Black, M. , 1995, In the Twilight Zone, Child workers in the hotel, tourism and catering industry, Geneva: International Labour Office.
ISBN: 92-2-109194-5

Good, unemotive survey which looks at prostitution in terms of the economic choices that poor, unskilled child workers have to make and views child prostitution as one end of the spectrum. Very good at looking at the children’s point of view and does not see child prostitution as an unique horror. Black attempts to differentiate between children so that a 17 year old is not automatically put in the same category as a 10 year old simply because they are both defined as children. Critically examines the role of tourists in child prostitution and claims that the link is not as causal as many campaigners claim.

Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism, 1983, Tourism, Prostitution, Development, Bangkok: ECTWT.
ISBN: 974-87274-8-3

The first text of its kind to document and denounce tourism abuses and link them explicitly to prostitution. ECTWT was the forerunner of ECPAT. Its mandate is explicitly anti tourist and it blames tourist for many of the worst abuses from prostitution and increased drug trafficking to militarism.

Harrison, D., 1992, The Social Consequences, in Tourism and the Less Developed Countries, London: Bellhaven.
ISBN: 1-85293-1329

Claims that there is no straightforward relationship between tourism and the degradation of the host culture. Evidence is ambiguous, for example, although traditional art may be simplified for tourists, it retains its vitality and much of its significance.

Heyzer, N., 1986, Working Women of Southeast Asia – Development, Subordination and Emancipation, Milton Keynes: Open University Press.
ISBN: 0-335-15384-4

The author takes a feminist view of sex tourism and states that it is dependent on the stereotype of the docile, smiling and childlike South East Asian women who are also sexually available. She does point out that prostitution is also a cultural fact of indigenous life in many of these countries and that many brothels exist for local clients. She also notes that prostitutes can be seen as entrepreneurs making economic choices to improve their economic situation. Repeats various assertions about prostitutes, but these are unreliably sourced, such as that very young girls and virgins are much in demand and command high prices because of the fear of HIV/AIDS. She claims that sometimes girls are forced to have successive operations to restore their hymens, but this also is unsourced. She points out that there is a high level of cross over between domestic service and brothels and that girls who go to work as maids can end up as prostitutes. Even when these women are removed from brothels they are ‘retrained’ as domestic servants., with little attempt at psychological rehabilitation. As servants they work long hours for low pay with bad treatment and no legal protection. They often drift back into prostitution or the ‘lesser’ massage parlours. Heyzer suggests that there are four causes of prostitution:

€Children are socialised into economic life between five and 15 years of age. In extreme cases, the child may be given as a bond although male children will go into unskilled agricultural work and girls into domestic service and prostitution. In most poor families, children are economically active/exploited early on.
€Violence and coercion — once women are prostitutes, the threat of violence from their pimps prevents them from leaving. Suggestions of police collusion in Bangkok.
€Ideology of male sexual needs. A man is considered virile and macho if he has slept with many women. As standards of chastity are applied rigidly to women, the only way he can get this experience is through prostitutes. Hence the rise in brothels catering to local clients.
€Toleration by some sections of society. Considered by some a normal solution to poverty and condoned by others who benefit and are supported by the sale of children.

Hodgson, D., 1994, Sex tourism and child prostitution in Asia: Legal responses and strategies, in Melbourne University Law Review, 19, June 1994, (512-44)

A comprehensive review of international legal responses to sex tourism, as well as of dometsic law in receiving and sending countries. Reviews the roles of governments and non-governmental organisations and is useful, balanced background material on the topic.

Hodgson, D., 1995, Combating the organized sexual exploitation of Asian children: recent developments and prospects, in International Journal of Law and the Family, (9), (23-53).

The first part of this article covers much the same ground as Hodgson 1994. However, the second part reviews the various options facing non-governmental organisations, in both advocacy and programming.

Ireland, K., 1993, Wish you Weren’t Here, London: Save the Children Fund UK.
ISBN: 1-870322-72X

Good review of other literature on the subject of sex tourism, in particular what is known of paedophiles, the ways sex tourism can be prevented and case studies of Thailand, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. No first hand research but Ireland is explicit about this and does not try to push his data beyond its useful possibilities.

Muntabhorn, V. (n.d.) Child Prostitution in Thailand, Unpublished manuscript.
ISBN: None

Discussion of Thai laws concerning prostitution. Brief look at the historical and cultural factors before turning to a discussion of the contemporary situation. Looks at policy considerations but these are obvious: education, prevention, rehabilitation and so forth. No discussion of how this is actually going to happen.

O’Grady, R. 1992, The Child and the Tourist, Bangkok: ECPAT.

ISBN: None

This the book that might be claimed to have kick-started the movement against child prostitution. As such it is simplistic but is written for a popular audience. There is no first hand research, sources of information are largely newspaper reports. No sources are given for the numbers provided. Written as a campaigning booklet, now somewhat out of date.

O’Grady, R., 1994, The Rape of the Innocent, Bangkok: ECPAT.
ISBN: None

Similar to the above book, unsourced and unreliable. It is interesting that O’Grady tries to link the abuse of Burmese women in Thailand to the tourist problem, when the connection cannot be proven. The women he discusses were trafficked by Thai and Burmese men, with the collusion of the Thai police into local brothels in Rayong where they were kept in horrific conditions and were used by Thai and Burmese men. There was certainly abuse there but tourists, blamed by O’Grady, were not involved. O’Grady goes on to claim that it is lack of morals not poverty that leads parents to sell their children.

Sachs A., 1994, The Last Commodity: Child Prostitution in the DevelopingWorld, World Watch 7 (4).
ISSN: 0896-0615

An article based on other sources, mostly from ECPAT. Sachs estimates:

60,000 child prostitutes in the Philippines
400,000 child prostitutes in India
800,000 child prostitutes in Thailand

Claims that child prostitution is fuelling the AIDS pandemic, because children contract HIV, go back to their villages and infect others.

Taliercio, C., 1993, International Law and Legal Aspects of Child Sex Tourism in Asia: A Contemporary Form of Slavery? Unpublished thesis: University of Stockholm.
ISBN: None

After a long attack on sex tourism, based entirely on O’Grady and Narvesen, the author examines the details of ‘a Swedish suspect’ and the problems of prosecution. The man was found in a hotel room with a boy of 14, but claimed that he thought the boy was 15 and therefore that sex was legal. As the boy lacks a birth certificate, the evidence was not collected in a way that would stand up in a Swedish court, the man was able to jump bai, leave the country and get a new passport, because all Swedes constitutionally have the right of return.

Truong, T. D., 1982, The Dynamics of Sex Tourism, in Development and Change, 14 (4).
ISSN: 0012-155X

Links mass tourism to sex prostitution. Looks at the historical background of prostitution: how the geisha system, concubines and other forms of relationships including polygamy are all forms of sexual exchange for money. Also linked to the breakdown of traditional society, labour now being concentrated in towns, patriarchal control loosening and the break down of extended kin relations.

Truong, T. D. 1986, Virtue, Order Health and Money: Towards a ComprehensivePerspective on Female Prostitution in Asia, United Nations: Bangkok.

A feminist view sympathetic to sex workers that positions their work in the context of other choices available in South East Asia. Women sex workers have often tried other jobs but are made redundant or change employment. There is little entrepreneurial prostitution and women rarely consciously see it as a means for social betterment when very young. For them elements of coercion and force are more important. Truong denies that prostitutes are any more or less responsible for the spread of STDs than other sexually active members of society.

Truong, T. D. , 1990, Sex, Money and Morality, London Zed Books.
ISBN: 0-86232-936-1

This is the published version of a PhD dissertation originally written for a strictly academic audience. It presents a review of the reasons for prostitution and the feminist arguments for and against the practice, discussing the effects of Buddhism on women’s status and also the contribution of tourism. Examines theories of structuralism, functionalism and feminist views of women and prostitution and shows the weaknesses of each in relation to prostitution. Truong follows Foucault in seeing the body as socially constructed and a historical phenomenon: views of the body change over time, depending on the culture. She claims that prostitution is often only seen from a single viewpoint such as. biological instinct, morality, the class structure or poverty. These approaches have tended to be ahistorical and unhelpful. The author notes that the birth of a girl is now favoured because of the income she can earn. Some women classify themselves as breadwinners, not victims or as immoral. Levels of interest in prostitution had died down until it became an issue again with trafficking of women and children, sex tourism and mail order brides etc. but this is not the only effect the media has. If the media states that young or Oriental girls `are fashionable, their market price will rise.


Cambodian Women’s Development Association, 1994, Prostitution Survey Results, Phnom Penh: CWDA.
ISBN: None

A survey of 399 prostitutes carried out over a two week period in Phnom Penh by CWDA staff. This does not tell you what questions were asked of the women and the researchers deliberately left out women who had been born in Phnom Penh. They did not interview girls under 15, claiming that they are kept off the street and not allowed to be interviewed.

Care International in Cambodia. (1994). Men are Gold, Women are Cloth. A report on the potential for HIV/AIDS spread in Cambodia and implications for HIV/AIDS education, Phnom Penh: Care International.
ISBN: None

Written by NGO workers in Phnom Penh trying to find the ways that HIV is spread. Therefore they are not looking at prostitution as such but discussing it. The interviews are more concerned with perceptions of AIDS. It therefore places prostitution within this discourse. There is a heavy emphasis on prostitutes and men visiting them as a vector of the disease and also with the Vietnamese prostitutes who make up over 50% of the numbers of prostitutes in Cambodia and are prized for the lightness of their skin . Many of the women are under 18, as Khmer culture places emphasis on youthful sexuality and beauty.


Murray, A. , 1991, No Money, No Honey A Study of Street Traders and Prostitutes in Jakarta, OUP: Singapore.
ISBN: 0-19588-991-6

Murray uses the idea of ‘communal space’ in this study of Kampungs of Jakarta. She argues that it is the women who possess this space within the neighbourhood or ‘alley side’, as a matrifocal resource that sustains a culture and functions to bolster women’s collective identity.Young prostitutes reject the use of derogatory terms about themselves and refer to themselves instead as ‘experimental girls’.


Good Shepherd Sisters, 1994, Report on Trafficking, Seoul: Justice and Peace Commission.
ISBN: None

Claims that 22% of prostitutes there are under 19 but there is no source for this figure. Also claims that most girls do not send money home to their parents, but again, this is not sourced.

Lie, J., 1995, The Transformation Of Sexual Work In 20th Century Korea in Gender and Society, 9 (3).
ISSN: 0891-2432

Prostitution in Korea is long established and institutionalised. In the pre-colonial era, kinsaeng flourished and even though not all kinsaeng were prostitutes, many were. Under Japanese occupation, prostitution became international. Women were shipped to and from Japan and Korea. The first kinsaeng school was set up. During the war, Korean and Japanese women were forced to receive 100 300 men a day, 17 hours a day. Korean women were paid less and treated worse than Japanese women. After the war, prostitutes largely catered to American men. In the 1970s, the government praised prostitutes for bringing money into the country. Sex tourism has continued into the 90s with male prostitution now becoming an issue. Does not deal with child prostitution as such, but it is interesting to see the traditional patterns of service and duty which seem similar to Thailand and Taiwan.


Ah Eng, L., 1986, Peasants. Proletarians and Prostitutes: A Preliminary Investigation into the Work of Chinese Women in Colonial Malaya, Singapore: Institute of Asian Affairs.
ISBN: 997-19883-8-0

Prostitution in the colonial period was tolerated because it lead to a docile (male) labour force. Unbalanced sex ratios in labour camps and plantations meant that employers thought prostitutes were a necessity. Much of the prostitution at this point was controlled by secret gangs. Eng examines prostitution comparatively as well as at what the alternative forms of employment existed for girls. Domestic service carried with it a high possibility of exploitation and rape. Often domestics were the daughters of prostitutes. Mining and working on the rubber estates were other options but also were badly paid. The stigmatisation of prostitutes was used to keep ‘decent’ girls of all classes in conformity. In all these jobs, a single woman earned considerably less than a man.


ECPAT Philippines, 1994, Tourism and Child Prostitution in Cebu, Manila: ECPAT Philippines.
ISBN: None

All ECPAT literature carries the same message. The problem is external and caused by outsiders. Despite the rhetoric of looking at political and economic factors, this only applies to the clients. ECPAT literature rarely looks at the moral and economic factors that affect children. Claim that young women are in high demand as they are thought to be free of HIV. Japanese men are considered to be the worst offenders

Forbes C. 1989, The sexual exploitation of children: the Philippines in C. Moorehead, Betrayal: Child Exploitation In Today’s World, London: Barrie and Jenkins.
ISBN: 0-7126-2170-9

This article is part of a collection written by journalists. It deals with prostitution as a result of the Marcos regime, especially the former President’s determination to open the country up to tourists and also because of the military presence of United States servicemen. Forbes claims that Pagsanjan has diminished in importance as a destination for paedophiles as it was taken over by communist forces and the pedophiles were driven away. There are now reckoned to be only 200 child prostitutes there. However he still claims that there are 30,000 child prostitutes in the Philippines

Health Action Information Network, 1987, Child and Youth Prostitution in the Philippines, Manila.
ISBN: None

Very good summary and analysis of the issues involved. This is a collection of articles ranging from one written by a paedophile to an ethnography of two areas of the Philippines were child prostitution flourishes. The book gives a well balanced analysis and includes topics not usually discussed such as class, race and indigenous prostitution. Admits there is little knowledge about the problem and acknowledges the exaggeration that is sometimes involved in terms of STDs and numbers of prostitutes. Is careful to look at the socio-cultural factors involved and the economics which make prostitution a valid choice for children. Final article written by a former child prostitute is very good. It deals with life as a prostitute, not liking the life but unable to find something better and gives a very good insight into the lives of these children, what they suffer but also their resilience and attempt to take control of their own lives.

IPC., 1988, Sexual Exploitation of Children in Philippines: Final Report, Unpublished Manuscript: Manila.

ISBN: None

Many statistics about children, why they do what they do, how they started this life, who their customers are. Also their attitudes to street life, school, customers. Potentially useful but no analysis of the statistics.

Lorayes, A. Z. (n.d.) Child Prostitution – The Tribe of Lost Souls, No source.
ISBN: None

Journalistic article linking tourism and prostitution and claiming there was very little child prostitution before foreigners came. Quotes the popular figures of 20,000 child prostitutes in the Philippines. Emphasises the emotional difficulties that children have after prostitution without proper counselling and shows how incapable the rehabilitation services are at dealing with ‘problem’ children. Nevertheless, the article does touch on some of the complexities of the issues and there is no attempt to simplify matters or look for easy solutions.

Rosario, A. M. del, 1989, The Street Girls of Metro Manila: Vulnerable Victims of Today’s Silent Wars. A Situation Study on Street Girls done in Collaboration with Childhope, Manila: Childhope Asia.
ISBN: None

This text is not focused specifically on prostitution, which makes good grounds for comparison with other street children and puts child prostitution in context — it is not the only danger that girls on the street face. Girls can earn four times as much as prostitutes than as street vendors or begging. The background of many child prostitutes and street girls seems similar. Although this study does emphasise that there are many more boys than girls on the streets although it gives no explanation for this. States that some of the children had been institutionalised and had hated the strict regimes, although the majority (73%) were happier in care because they had access to regular meals.

Salinlahi, Inc. (n.d.) Child Prostitution and Tourism, Unpublished Manuscript.
ISBN: None

Draws a distinction between post- and pre-colonisation and views the Philippine problems as arising from new values, such as Catholicism. Links that to tourism, giving a account of the country being corrupted by foreign influences — very similar to the ECPAT vision. Suggests that there are 20, 000 child prostitutes in the Philippines. Also draws links between sexual abuse and child prostitution. Estimates that 60% of abused children become prostitutes. Summarises rehabilitation programmes and prevention programmes that are currently going on in the Philippines — mostly small scale and run by church groups.

Stoop, C. de , 1991, They are so Sweet Sir: The Cruel World of Traffickers in Filipinas and other Women, Manila: Limitless Asia.
ISBN: 971-91396-0-9

Although this book does not deal with children, it is written in the sensationalist tone that characterises much child prostitution literature and uses many of the same assumptions: all women are victims, and none of them willingly do what they do. The author does not discuss women who chose to stay, or at least become accustomed to prostitution. He documents the fate of some of the women who are particularly abused and discusses the collusion of the police or the immigration service who hand them back to their abusers when they go for help. De Stoop also claims that many of the men who want women for sex are often old, cripples and sick or men looking for submission and innocence.

Sturdevant, S. P. and Stotzfus, B., 1993, (eds.), Let the Good Times Roll: Prostitution and the Military in Asia, CIIR/The New Press
ISBN: 1-56854-0496

In this volume of collected texts there is a contrast between the life histories presented and the analyses of some authors. The Western, middle class , female writers see prostitution negatively, whereas the prostituted women themselves seem resigned to it. The gradual slide into prostitution is well documented, many have tried other jobs but they did not like them. Some authors are good on the complexities of the situation and the general moral ambivalence about prostitution. Cynthia Enloe draws a sympathetic picture of both sides. On the one hand are the young men whose sexuality and prowess is verified by their use of sexual services and their bonding sessions of paid sex. Women sex workers are mediators between the two cultures especially between both sets of men.
In their final essay, Sturdevant and Stotzfus write about the difficulties of equating Third and First World prostitution. Circumstances are different and generalisation on either side is harmful. Prostitution supports a whole ‘respectable’ economy as retail outlets spring up around areas to which tourists/servicemen are attracted by prostitution. Yet only prostitution is stigmatised


Archavanitkul, K. and Havanon, N. , 1990, Situation, Opportunities and Problems Encountered by Young Girls in Thai Society, Bangkok: Terre des Hommes.
ISBN: None

This text deals with all types of vulnerable ‘girl children’ in Thailand and therefore puts prostitution into perspective there. Estimates that 30,000 million baht are made out of the sex industry every year ,but does not distinguish whether this is adult or child prostitution so this is a meaningless statistic. None of the statistics cited are sourced.

Asia Watch, 1993, A Modern Form of Slavery Trafficking of Burmese Women and Girls into Brothels in Thailand, New York: Human Rights Watch.
ISBN: 1-56432-107-X

Written anonymously by researchers from the USA. Deals harshly with the Thai government and claims that there is a great deal of collusion between the police and the traffickers. The report states that many women kidnapped and brought from their homes in Burma into brothels where their clients are poor Thai men and Burmese migrants. They are subject to a great deal of abuse and horrific conditions. When they are rescued, they are arrested by the Thai authorities as illegal immigrants and kept in prison. Many are HIV+ and/or pregnant. The report was criticised in Thailand as it was held to be anti Thai It deals with a much wider problem than child prostitutes being used by tourists but the evidence presented may show how deeply implicated the Thai authorities are involved in the trade.

‘Black Shadow’, 1949, Dream Lover: The Book for Men Only, Unknown Publisher: Bangkok.
ISBN: None

One of the first books on sex tourism. Tells the uninitiated where to find brothels. There are hints about where to find very young girls and what is on offer at the various brothels. Obviously directed towards English speaking foreigners.


Boonchalaksi, W. and Guest, P. , 1994, Prostitution in Thailand, Institute for Population and Social Research, Bangkok: Mahidol University.
ISBN: 974-587-656-9

Emphasises the different types of prostitution for both women and girls which are dependent on location, the form of prostitution is different depending whether it takes place in hotels, brothels, tea rooms, massage parlous, call girls, bars and public places.
Enforced prostitution usually associated with border brothels, especially those which employ illegal immigrants. Brothels in rural Thailand are very much part of the community, both socially and geographically. Only 6% of prostitutes interviewed said they had been forced to work as a prostitute. The vast majority were very aware of the drop in income they would face, if they changed jobs. Seventy per cent of brothel workers and 90% of massage parlour workers interviewed said that they had some savings. Twenty-five per cent of brothel workers and 50% of massage girls surveyed owned a house. Almost a third of the sample started prostitution below the legal age. Tewnty per cent started between the ages of 13 and 18 years.

Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights, n.d., Prevention of Trafficking and Sale of Children in Thailand, Unpublished Manuscript.

ISBN: None

This is a collection of case histories of trafficked children, presented largely without analysis. Makes no mention of clients but makes it clear that these are children rescued from Thai brothels and are not serving foreign clients. It reports police collusion in the trafficking of children. 70% of children rescued from brothels are from ethnic minorities within Thailand (hill tribe children) or are foreign born, especially from Burma or China. It does not say if these children are typical of the majority of child prostitutes or put them in any context.

Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights, 1991, The Trafficking of Children for Prostitution in Thailand, Unpublished Manuscript.
ISBN: None

Estimates that children below the age of 16 make up to 40% of prostitutes in Thailand although it does not say where this figure comes from. The agency works with child prostitutes, rescuing them from brothels and returning them home and is one of the most reliable sources of information. The majority of its cases seem to be children in brothels, a market which is most heavily used by Thai clients. It works closely with the hill tribes, whose children are sought after in Northern brothels as exotic commodities as are girls from Burma and China. However, still discusses the role of foreign tourists in this side of the sex industry.

Chutikul, S., Punpeng, T. and Xuto, N., 1987, Children in Especially Difficult Situations (Thailand), Bangkok: National Youth Bureau.
ISBN: None

This is an official government publication and Dr Chutikul is the Minister for Youth Affairs. Discusses child prostitution and views it as a problem of family breakdown. Claims that families with fathers who are good supporters do not usually sell their daughters.

DaGrossa, P., 1989, Kamphaeng Din: A Study of Prostitution in the All-Thai brothels of Chiang Mai City in Cross-roads, 4 (2).
ISBN: Unknown

One of the few studies of Thai prostitutes in Thai brothels but it does not give ages so it is difficult to tell if this is relevant to child prostitution or not. The women Da Grossa interviewed lived in an area which is notorious for under age prostitutes. The women she interviewed earned around 3000 baht a month and all but one earned over the government’s minimum wage level of 1500 baht. All sent money home and most disliked the job but consider it necessary for survival.

Daughters Education Project, n.d., Programme, Chiang Mai: DEP.
ISBN: None

This is the newsletter of an organisation that takes at risk children, often tribal children who are Akha, and raises them outside the dangerous environment into which they are born . They are settled near the Thai/Burmese border, in a town called Mai Sai which is notorious as a place of corrupt police and local district officers. Organised Thai crime also has businesses there which involve trafficking heroin, opium, gems and women. Gives another explanation for parents selling their children which has not been suggested elsewhere: if a daughter has brought shame on the family, prostitution may be seen by her parents as a way of getting rid of a socially undesirable daughter.

Ekachai, S. , 1990, Behind the Smile: Voices of Thailand, Bangkok: Thai Development Support Committee.
ISBN: 974-85666-8-4

Written by a liberal Thai journalist so the style is subjective but nevertheless, she deals sympathetically with the family situation in the North where many of the child prostitutes are from. She quotes people extensively, letting them speak in their own words, even when they are involved in situations which she does not approve of, such as selling their children.


Foundation for Women, 1988, Voices of Thai Women, Bangkok: FFW.
ISBN: None

An early texts about child prostitution. It is interesting how the debate has moved away from the issues it raises. Voices of Thai Women talks about child prostitution but in the context of Thai culture and the situation of Thai women. It admits there is a problem which is both local and international in terms of the clients. It recognises that prostitutes do face prejudice from other Thai women and that there must be greater solidarity and it takes on the Thai government for promoting and condoning the sex tourism industry. It discusses the problems of the Kamla programme (in which young girls are told the story of the early death of a prostitute in a fire in Phuket). Many children didn’t believe it and they concentrated on the positive aspects such as the prostitutes who did manage to earn a lot of money. Discusses also the difficulties of Thai women in foreign countries whether as migrant workers or foreign brides. Attempts to put the problem of child prostitution into an overall context of women’s rights.

Foundation for Women, 1990, Kamkaew and Kamla, Bangkok: FFW..
ISBN: None

Two story books, about girls called Kamla and Kamkaew, designed to warn Thai children in the Northeast about the dangers of prostitution. In both cases the parents are depicted as innocents deceived by wicked outsiders. The girls end up abused and ,in Kamla’s case dead, as a result of their prostitution experiences.

Gilkes, M., 1993, Prostitution in Thailand, BA Thesis Long Island University, Southampton, USA.
ISBN: None

Written as an undergraduate thesis in sociology and mentioning child prostitution in passing. Gilkes conducted first hand research and claims, based on her interviews, that older prostitutes tend to be more responsible, saving or sending money home to their families whereas the younger are ones are not. She also suggests that child prostitution is largely for local consumption but does talk about Crazy Jack’s in Soi Cowboy (a tourist area) where virginity is advertised on a blackboard. She quotes the blackboard one day “Five fresh virgins, four down one to go”.

Green, P., n.d., Prostitution: Children the victims. The effects of prostitution and sexual exploitation on children and adolescents, Bangkok: Rahab Ministries.
ISBN: None

Written by an evangelical Christian, whose mission is to save the women and children of Patpong both physically and spiritually. Claims that the children suffer from a syndrome of passivity waiting to be rescued, which she terms the Cinderella syndrome.

Guest, P. , 1993, Guesstimating the Unestimateable: The Number of Child Prostitutes in Thailand, Institute for Population and Social Research: Mahidol University: Bangkok
ISBN: None

Unique example of a statistician working on models of ‘guestimates’. Quotes the figures others provide, such as Centre for the Protection of Children’s Rights (CPCR)estimate of 800,000 child prostitutes, the police of 2,000, and the Ministry of Public Health of 15,000. Compares CPCR statement that 40% of prostitutes are children with Ministry estimate of 20%, and Podhisita et al of 12%. Guest concludes from his models that there are 200,000 sex workers in Thailand, of whom 36,000 are children

Hantrakul, S., 1983, Prostitution in Thailand, Paper presented to the Women in Asia Workshop, Monash University, Melbourne.
ISBN: None

Excellent analysis of historical and legal issues. Gives figures for brothels and sex services. Looks at the exploitation of prostitutes and describes and criticises rehabilitation projects. Part of their mission is to provide “training in regard to proper codes of conduct in relation to moral and mannerism by qualified personnel”.

Hiew, C. C. , 1992a, Endangered families in Thailand: Third World families affected by Socio-economic Change in G. Albee and L. Bond (eds.), Improving Children’s Lives : Global Perspectives on Prevention, New Delhi and London: Sage.
ISBN: 0-8039-4610-4

Psychologically based paper that tries to map Canadian models of delinquency onto Thailand, where the writer has not conducted psychological interviews. Hiew blames prostitution on the’ breakdown of family life’, especially among slum children and those with parents who work in the construction industry. Says that children are pulled into the sex trade to replace women, who serve foreign clients although also claims that foreign men visit the cheap brothels. States that 44% of prostitutes under 19 years old tested HIV+ in Chiang Mai

Hiew, C. C., 1992b, Child Prostitution: Social and Psychological Factors, Paper presented at Children in Prostitution Conference, Sukhothai University, Bangkok.
ISBN: None

Claims that sex with a child is tantamount to murder because AIDS is so widespread. Transposes studies of Canadian young prostitutes onto Thailand. Claims that prostitutes suffer from low self esteem and suicidal tendencies.


ISIS. , 1990, Poverty and Prostitution, Women’s World, ISIS: Geneva. No. 24.
ISSN: None

Evaluation of the Kamla project (a storybook for young girls explaining the dangers of prostitution, see Foundation for Women, above). Found that the project’s critics said it was inaccurate because, in their experience, 90% of prostitutes earn enought to be able to send money back home. As a result of the story, girls with the name Kamla suffered in some schools. Others were convinced that the whole story was fiction. Some only remembered the successful girls, those who were able to build houses for their parents as a result of their prostitution, and they wanted to imitate them. Communities varied in their attitudes, from those who worried that the Kamla project would actually encourage more girls into prostitution, to those who said teachers had no business putting children off one of the few ways of avoiding poverty. Some parents did not believe the story, while many others seemed to prefer closing their eyes to the possible abuses and danger that await their daughters.

Kaime-Atterhog, W., Ard-Am, O. and Sethaput, C. , 1993, Child Prostitution in Thailand: a Documentary Assessment, Institute of Population and Social Research Mahidol University.
ISBN: None

Examines other written sources on prostitution. No original material. Concludes that materialism has eroded morality.

Montgomery, H., 1996, Public vice and private virtue: Child prostitution in Pattaya, Thailand, unpublished PhD dissertation, Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, UK.

This academic dissertation is an ethnography of a small community in Pattaya, where the main source of income is prostitution. It is a detailed account of children’s lives, designed to analyse prostitution from the perspective of the children themselves, giving information about their working lives, their families and the way they interact with the wider society. Montgomery considers the changing constructions of childhood,. sexuality and prostitution in Thailand, as well as the growth of the sex trade and sex tourism. Although the child prostitutes she studied were despised by the majority of the population because they are involved in a very ‘public vice’, this was often transformed into a ‘private virtue’ within the community because it allowed the children to fulfill filial duties and support their families. The children studies were both girls and boys, and Montgomery shows that, far from being forced into prostitution by external sex traders, children seemed to view it as a survival strategy, and to act as pimps for each other.

Muecke, M.A., 1992, Mother sold Food, Daughter Sells her Body: the Cultural Continuity of Prostitution, Social Science and Medicine, 35, (7).
ISSN 0277-9536

Seminal article, based on anthropological research on the cultural factors underlying prostitution. Children and young women are fulfilling their traditional role of supporting the family in an untraditional way. Muecke notes that there is no other way for a young uneducated women to earn a living. Monastery and military are open to only to men, not women. She examines the links between prostitution, merit making and Buddhism and shows how girls who use the money to earn for good purposes are not always condemned. She is particularly good on the middle class response to prostitution:

[The Thai middle classes] interpret prostitution as a function of both the low education and poverty in Thailand as a Third World country and as a function of the greed of the individuals who sell, procure or buy girls for labour in the prostitution industry. These views implicitly discount class responsibility for prostitution by globalising it to the scale of the Third World, and by individualising it to detestable characters. This stance also safeguards the women’s groups members’ relationships to their male partners and peers. By championing the cause of child victims of prostitution, the elite activists protect the disadvantaged children of the nation and protect the ideology of women – and themselves as nurturing mothers. And by restricting their activism to child prostitution, they avoid impugning their activism to child prostitution, they avoid impugning male friends and relatives, that is those of their own class, and elitist systems (such as police, government officials surreptitiously involved in the sex entertainment trade ) for supporting adult prostitution.’ (p. 896).

Phongpaichit, P., 1982, From Peasant Girls to Bangkok Masseuses, Geneva: International Labour Office.
ISBN: 92-2-103013-X

Seminal text on prostitution written by an economist. Claims that women are not from broken homes but are fulfilling filial duties. Nothing specifically on children but important for its argument. Says that there is usually a mixture of “sympathy and distaste” for prostitutes.

Podhisita, C., Pramualratana, K., Uraiwan, Wawer, M., & McNamara, R. , 1993, Socio-Cultural Context of Commercial Sex Workers in Thailand, Paper presented at the IUSSP Working Group on AIDS: Seminar on AIDS Impact and Prevention in the Developing World .
ISBN: None

Study of sex workers based on interview groups in selected brothels. The researchers conducted discussion groups in these brothels with the consent of the brothel owners. Half the sex workers interviewed in the study were under 21 years old. Twelve per cent were under 18 years old; 36.9% were 18-20; 0.4% had their first sexual experience under 10; 15.2% between 11 and 14; 52.2% had it between 15-17. Fifty one per cent had lost their virginity in the brothels. A higher proportion of those surveyed had had no formal education compared to the population in general. All appeared to have worked in other jobs previously whether in agriculture or factories. The average monthly income was 6,000 baht. The authors suggest that money advanced on recruitment can be seen in two ways: either as a way to ensure compliance,( the women always owed money), or because brothels are illegal and, if they are raided, the girls lose their money. If they have advances, however, they were already paid and are protected from this. Over 93% had regular clients who kept coming back because some form of relationship had built up.

Sittitrai, W. and Brown, T. , 1994, The Impact of HIV on Children in Thailand, Bangkok: Thai Red Cross Society.
ISBN: None

The authors conducted focus group discussions on prostitution, involving 79 participants, including client or neighbours of child prostitutes, former child prostitutes themselves, or procurers of child prostitutes. Not everyone sympathetic to child prostitutes, some people believed they did it for fun. These groups claimed that child prostitutes between 15 and 18 years were more desirable than adults, but they also said it was wrong to sleep with younger ones (under 14).

Thitsa, K., 1980, Providence and Prostitution: Women in Buddhist Thailand, Change International: London.
ISBN: 0-907236-01-4

Controversial text linking women’s low status to Buddhism, suggesting a direct link with the expected self sacrifice of women and girls. Women are perceived as unclean by Buddhism and this ideology makes it comparatively easy for women to become prostitutes. They are already polluted, so they may as well become prostitutes if it means that their families can be supported Thitsa claims that sometimes daughters are sent off to work as prostitutes so that parents can afford to pay for an ordination ceremony for their sons.

Yoddumnern-Attig, B., 1994, AIDS in Thailand: A Situation Analysis with Special Reference to Children, Youth and Women, Unpublished Manuscript, Bangkok: UNICEF.
ISBN: None

Presents results of a survey of STD prevalence among Thai adolescents aged 15-18 years. Prevalence was 23% , increasing to 36% among 20-24 year olds, with no further disaggregations. It is argued that adolescent sexuality is changing, and sexual activity is increasing due to a general loosening of family control over young people’s behaviour. Among school age boys surveyed, 36-45% had had their first sexual encounter with a prostitute. Half the prostitutes came from farming families, 16% were formerly labourers or factory workers, and the remaining 34% were housekeepers, students or others. They work on average eight hours a day.


International Working Group on Child Labour. (1996). Vietnam, Amsterdam: IWGC (draft paper).
ISBN: None

Describes the dearth of data on child prostitution in Vietnam at the moment but suggests that 10% of prostitutes in Vietnam are children. Estimates that there are between 80,000 and 200,000 prostitutes in Vietnam. Places some of the blame on foreigners and tourists but admits that indigenous prostitution is also flourishing.

Thang, C. M., 1996, Research Report, for Childwatch International Indiactors for Children’s Rights Project, Hanoi (draft paper).
ISBN: None

The sources for all this material are not explicitly stated. It looks at the problem in terms of trafficking of children to China and Cambodia. Suggests that marriage between Vietnamese and foreigners is trafficking. There is also an implicit anti Chinese bias. The Taiwanese are blamed for trafficking and for tricking Vietnamese girls into phoney marriages. Sees the sex tourism industry of Thailand as spilling over into Vietnam but how this happens is not stated. Many myths are repeated, such as demand for younger girls is increasing as clients believe children to be AIDS free and also that the trade is increasing with an ever growing demand for young children.

3.1.2. South Asia

The literature reviewed here cannot be said to constitute a comprehensive bibliography on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the Asian subcontinent (which comprises India, Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Sri Lanka). Most of the evidence is anecdotal and fragmentary. However, the survey does highlight the main themes that inform the discourse on the subject.

In this subregion, the focus is very much on the ‘girl child’, emphasising the sexual vulnerability of females. The status of women and girls in the subcontinent is regarded as distinctly inferior to that of men. This is an extremely sore point in the accounts by social workers and journalists who have espoused the politics of gender in highlighting inequalities in society to argue for improvements in the situation of girls and women Such arguments find particular resonance in view of the extremely widespread practice of female infanticide in the subcontinent. However, one consequence is that there is very little material about boys and male prostitution, except in the case of Ceylon.

Further texts concentrate on child prostitutes with HIV/AIDS, but there is very little on other sexually transmitted diseases. Discussions on the law reveal the existing loopholes and incapability of legislation and the judiciary to punish the perpetrators of child-sex exploitation


Bahni, Prostitution with Religious Sanction: The Devadasi Problem, Venkatasani, Jogini and the Basavi Cult, Joint Women’s Project, 1989.

This is study covers Karnataka and Maharastra. It points out that girls are initiated from the lower castes, such as the Holeyar and the Madars; there is a nexus between untouchability and particular forms of prostitution, such as basavi, venkatasani and jogini. This is an informative piece of research. The geographical spread and causes (mostly poverty and the low-status of women) of these practise are well mapped. Social prejudices and superstitions are examined and soem recommendations are made.

Barse, Sheela, 1990, The Girl Child, Bombay, 66p.

An important essay on the position of girls in Indian society. The author addresses prejudicial practices affecting girls, such as foeticide, infanticide, neglect, nutrition protocol, and denial of education. India does have the highest rate of female infanticide in the world. Barse ends her essay with a plea for a holistic approach to children’s rights: “The bitter truth of discrimination against girls and methodical, persistent activism for its correction should be very clearly seen as only a sector of our concern for children.”

Bhaleao, V.R., 1985, Profile of sexually transmitted diseases in, child prostitutes in the red light areas of Bombay, in Child Labour and Health, Problems and Prospects, Naidu, U. S., & Kapadia, K.R., (eds.), Bombay: Tata Institute of Social Sciences, (201-202).

Based on ressarch and medical examination of 80 prostitutes in Bombay’s red light areas, this paper describes the causes and the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases among child prostitutes, although it is somewhat equivocal on the question of age. A detailed case presentation is included and remedies are also briefly discussed.


Grass-roots Action, 1990, Child Prostitutes: Nobody’s children. In Grass-roots Action, Issue 3, April 1990, Special Issue on the Girl Child, (65-69).

A journalistic account of the situation of child prostitutes; a situation which more and more children are being forced into, despite stringent laws.

Jeyasingh, V, 1990, Girl harlots, in Grass-roots Action, Issue 3, April 1990, Special edition on the Girl Child, (62-65).

Based on case-studies this article focuses on child prostitutes in India.

Kumar, M., 1990, Child marriage-a boon or bane?, in Grass-roots Action, Issue 3, April 1990, Special Edition on the Girl Child, (30-34).

An attempt to rationalise and analyse conflicting questions regarding child marriage through three case studies carried out in Guntur District. It looks at the impact of child marriage on children, their parents and society, the rationale behind society’s views on this matter and the consequent implications on the affected party when child marriage is proved to be an affliction. It questions why, in spite of legislation, nobody seems to be opposing this traditional custom and asks how far an individual or society can take responsibility for the prevailing situation.

Kumar, R., Economic value of girls as perceived by their parents, in Grass-roots Action, Issue 3, April 1990, Special Issue on the Girl Child, (59-62).

Based on interviews and an analysis of economic and social values, this article addresses the question of why parents prefer to have a son. It concludes that family perceptions of economic value mean that girls are considered in lesser terms than boys. To counter this girls must become equal productive members within the family. This could be achieved through regular employment for girls, for which education is a core component, as well as by raising parental economic standards.

Marglin, F.A., 1985, Wives of the God-King: the Rituals of the Devadasis of Puri, New Delhi: OxfordUniversity Press.

This academic study explores themes related to kingship and goddesses with reference to the devadasis attached to the Jaganatha temple in Puri, Orissa. It is not a comprehensive analysis because, although it dwells on religious symbolism, it cannot explain it. The point of entry should have explored the changing meanings that surround temple prostitution before and after colonial rule and not seen it as an essential continuity. The treatment of young girls (sometimes pre-pubertal) is not discussed adequately. It could have been a promising ethnography but it fails to deliver. What it does establish however, is that the devadasi tradition is a significant part of certain important temples so such temple towns might have answers for establishing methods of procuring young girls.

Miller, B. D., 1987, Female infanticide and child neglect in rural North India. In Scheper-Hughes, N., (ed.), Child survival, London & Dordrecht: D. Reidel Publishers, (95-113),
ISBN 1-5608-129-8

This article examines a variety of data and information sources on the dimensions and social context of female infanticide and daughter neglect in rural North India. The practice of female infanticide in earlier centuries is reviewed and the contemporary situation in North India is discussed through an examination of the empirical evidence and current theoretical approaches to the understanding of son preference and daughter disfavour. The role of a public health programme in the Punjab is also considered. The issue of humanist values (equal life chances for all versus North Indian patriarchal values promoting better life chances for boys rather than girls) and the challenge to anthropological research of finding an appropriate theoretical approach to the study of children’s health and survival are addressed in the conclusion of this article.

Mowli, V. C., 1992,‘Jogin’: girl child labour studies, New Delhi, Sterling Publishers Private Limited, 97p,
ISBN 81-207-1415-6

The Jogin system is based on the traditional belief in Andhra Pradesh, India, that evil over the family or the village can be avoided by dedicating a girl in the family to be a Jogin. Such a girl will be married to the god Potharaju when she is between five and nine years old. As soon as she reaches puberty she becomes the exclusive “concubine” of the feudal gentry in the village. Many Jogins end up living as outcasts in poverty or as prostitutes. This book reviews several case studies and looks at the role of voluntary organisations in rehabilitating Jogins and in preventing the ritual. It also includes a review of various articles in magazines and newspapers dealing with the child labour and prostitution, a research paper by Ingria Mendonica on the fight against gender bias, the full texts of the acts prohibiting dedication to devadasis in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and an overview of bonded labour in various economic sectors in India.

Rozario, Sr. R. M., 1988, Trafficking in Women and Children in India, Uppal Publishing House , New Delhi .
ISBN 81-85024-34-0

This reports on an interesting, national-level study (including Nepal) undertaken between 1983 and 1987. Rozario discusses the types of sexual exploitation, patterns of trafficking, recruitment and prices, sellers and the market within the context of the status of women in Indian society. The influence of religions such as Hinduism, Islam and Christianity are discussed in the context of the low status of women. Children are not examined separately, but she indicates that it was usually the girl’s close relatives who sell her into prostitution. She advocates a humanitarian and community approach to restore dignity to the prostitutes. An important study, but there are empirical errors and the methods used in collating data are not rigorous.

Shankar, J., 1994, Devadasi Cult; A Sociological Analysis, Asish Publishing House, New Delhi.
ISBN 81–7024–628-8.

This work emphasises the intimate and inseparable link between the cults and religion in terms of the rituals, symbols, sacraments and sacrifice. However the discussion does not elaborate adequately on the issues raised. The geographical spread of the cult is far greater than has been acknowledged as the author points out. The text contains a useful bibliography, but does not add anything new in the way of analysis or source material.

Story, S. C. K., 1987, Nityasumangali: The Devadasi Tradition in South India, Motilal Banarasidass: Delhi , pp. xv+226.

ISBN 81-208-0330-2.

This account romanticises the devadasi as nityasumangali (ever-auspicious woman) within the sacer ludus of pre-colonial Hindu tradition, examining its continuing significance as a living cultural phenomenon. The author insists that her work, “is not the study of the fact of the devadasi tradition, but of its meaning and mode of production”, although the two themes cannot be separated, Her discussion is based on a rigorous study of ancient Sanskrit, Tamil and Telugu texts which legitimated the oppressive Brahmanical tradition. She also interviewed a few devadasis who are notable dancers. However, there appears to have been a deliberate avoidance on her part to interview, or to evaluate the lives of the ordinary devadasis, or even to acknowledge child sex exploitation; its almost as if “the poesis of [such] devotional ritualism” has to be preserved from modernity (p. xviii). The most serious shortcoming of this study is that it fails to address the sufferings, sexual exploitation and consequent trauma of girls: there is no discussion of present day initiation rites such as branding or the coercion imposed upon them to lead lives as devadasis.

Sunada, K.S., 1990, A few steps backward:Is culture the culprit? In Grass-roots Action, Issue 3, April 1990, Special Issue on the Girl Child, (7-13).

The author looks at different historical eras in relation to the status of girls. In the past, religious ideologies held sway over the majority of the population. Neither the constitutional laws of secularism in India nor 42 years of independence have replaced these fundamental ideologies, nor have they provided an alternative ideology strong enough to dislodge the hold religion has over the population. The striking reality is that religion and tradition remain powerful forces and find expression mainly with women.

The Indian Journal of Social Work, vol LII, Number 1, January 1991, pp 71–80.

This is a valuable collection of essays that deal with the status of ‘the girl-child’ and attitudes deployed in the upbringing of girls, their position in the labour market. Priti Patkar’s article ‘Girl-Child in the Red Light Areas’ shows that the situation of daughters of prostitutes is of particular concern. There is no mention of the sons. The other articles deal with the social legislation and the loopholes in the legislation. These articles are useful in reflecting contemporary concerns of social-workers, policy makers and journalists. But they are locked within the development discourse where notions of gender and childhood are still determined by definitions of the developed world.

Colonial documents from India on religious prostitution:

Frazer, James, The Golden Bough; A Study in Magic and Religion, London, 1922.
This anthropological magnum opus contains a very brief passing reference to sacred prostitution, influenced no doubt by the colonial writings of that time.

Penzer, N.M. , The Ocean of Story, translated by C.H .Tawney, Volume 1, London 1924 , see Appendix IX: Sacred Prostitution, pp. 231–80 .

This account in ten volumes is written is a translation of Sanskrit play Katasaritasagara which is a story of a love-affair between a courtesan-prostitute and a married man. The Appendix consists of an interesting insight into the high status of the courtesan and, indeed, the position of women during the third century BC. It is a valuable historical source.

Shortt, J, The Bayadere or the Dancing Girls of South India: Notes for the Anthropological Society of India, 1867–68, Unpublished, India Office Library.

Thurston, Edgar and Rangachari, K, Castes and Tribes of South India, Madras 1909, pp. 125-153

These accounts are based on surprisingly cursory ethnographic notes of the devadasi cult. The devadasi are categorised as low-caste married women practising ‘sacred prostitution’ and there is a good deal of discussion on the laws of inheritance and so forth presumably intended for the colonial administration. Not much is said about their initiation or lifestyle and there is no mention of sexual exploitation. The colonial administration patronised the institution of ‘nautch girls’. Very inadequate analysis and the patchy source material does not help.


Agroforestry, Basic Health Cooperative, A Situational Analysis Report on Girls Trafficking on Sindhupalchowk, Mahankal and Inchowk Village Development Committee, Undated, 20 pages, Nepal: ABC.

This study is based on a month’s field-work and draws inferences from discreetly conducted observations of living standards in three villages. For instance, corrugated roofs, the use of steel utensils and videos were taken as indications that such households (mostly Tamangs) had a daughter or daughter-in-law working as prostitutes. Both illiterate and literate households are reported to be engaged in prostitution and trafficking of girls. The evidence is based from outside observations and, because of expected hostility against researchers, not easily authenticated. But the text contains some useful insights on commercial child sex exploitation.It is stated that it was frequently male members of the family who were responsible for selling children into prostitution (apparently to brothels in Bombay). Although the detail of methods is fragmentary, this is an important study.

Dhital, R, 1992, Child Prostitution in Nepal: Voice of the Child-workers in Kathmandu, Nepal (CWIN), No. 15/16, December 1992, 15 pages.

Case stories from The Terai and eastern Nepal focusing on the causes of prostitution and the patterns. A useful read.

Grover, Deepa, 1991, Harma chelibetiharu: an analysis of the situation of girl children in Nepal, Kathmandu: UNICEF, 76p.

A situation analysis of girls in Nepal which takes into account the religious background, the socio-economic conditions and the socialization of girls and women. The main sections deal with socio-religious backgrounds, statistics, health and nutrition, education, work, marriage and prostitution. Descriptions of existing programmes specifically for girls are included and recommendations are formulated to improve both interventions and strategies. Recent data and statistics were studied and a critical approach was taken regarding official figures. Some statistics may be inaccurate because deaths and births go unreported and because gender-specific data on the health status of children in Nepal are unavailable. The female literacy rate is 18% and almost 2 out of every 3 girls do not attend school due to a mixture of economic and social factors. Although there has been a rapid growth in education there are still not enough girls participating. Detailed information is provided on the activities of girls and the way in which these are perceived by their families (domestic work is considered to be a familial duty) and by society (household activities are not considered as work in census data). The study concludes by summarising the indicators by which son preference is measured and its manifestations and outcomes. Mention is also made of the main areas of intervention, information needs, advocacy and programme actions.

Hemang, D., 1990, Status of the Girl-Child in Nepal in 1990, Proceedings of the International Symposium of the Girl-child: A Neglected Majority, Kathmandu, 13-14 December 1990, 9 pages.

The author draws on the Shakespearian metaphor of the seven ages of man [sic] to illustrate how during those seven stages, women are undermined by society. In the first stage the female infant may be given away by the parents, in the form of kanyadaan to the Gods as an offering, or later as Deukis to temples where they grow up to become prostitutes — all in the name of Hinduism. As a school-girl, she is forced to seek economic employment and is exploited on that account. Her chastity having been defiled, she is abandoned by her family and community and forced into prostitution in an Indian city only to return home with STD or AIDS. This study feeds on all the stereotypes that characterise the girl-child discourse, without providing a critique of its shortcomings; furthermore, it does not offer any alternative arguments or suggest any remedies.

Human Rights Watch/ Asia, 1995, Rape for Profit: Trafficking of Nepali Girls and Women to India’s Brothels, New York: Human Rights Watch.
ISBN 1-56432-133-X

This is an extremely valuable report, based on field-work in Nepal and first hand accounts by the victims of trafficking. It describes the highly organised patterns of trafficking girls and women (mostly Tamangs), to India. These local recruiters are often members of classificatory families or friends and trusted by the girls, who were innocent of their intentions. In India, they are reported to have been subjected to rape and other forms of serious physical and psychological abuse and held in debt bondage from which escape is virtually impossible. According to NGOs, 20% of Bombay’s Nepali brothel population of 100,000 consists of girls under 18 years and over half of them are infected with HIV. According to this account, the girls are brought to India as virgins and sold to the highest bidder. The report further claims to how both the Nepali and Indian Governments are complicit in the abuses suffered by these girls and women; how local police and officials protect brothel owners and traffickers and also get a percentage of the money paid by the clientele to these brothels. The girls and women often do not know how much they earn for sex-work, because payment is made to the brothel owners. One prostitute notes, ‘Police, doctors, dalals [pimps], they are all fed by the brothels’ (p. 14) . At the end of the text, there is an enlightening commentary on the loopholes in the laws of India such as SITA (1956), which criminalises the female practitioner of prostitution who are blamed for promiscuity exempting the males in prostitution. In 1986, the ITPPA addressed the question of prosecution of those involved in the prostitution of minors, but its impact was reduced when discretionary powers were given to the court. In India, prostitution is not banned whereas the Muluki Ain, or national legal code of Nepal, bans prostitution. In 1992 the Children’s Act 2048 (under 16) was passed which contained a number of provisions designed to prevent sexual exploitation. However as the UN Rapporteur on the Sale of Children (Muntabhorn, see above) has noted that, in addition to the discrepancy of the age of consent, general legal remedies were not accessible to the victims of abuse and law enforcement agencies lacked both the training and the will to confront child sex exploitation. What is emphasised in this study is that this kind of commercial trafficking of girls and women is extremely hard to combat and the respective governments need to confront and punish the perpetrators from within.

Janssens-Sannon, P, 1989, Report on the national seminar on the girl child, Kathmandu, Nepal, 25-27 September, Kathmandu: Women’s Service Coordination Committee & UNICEF, 176p.

An account of the proceedings, recommendations and working papers from the National Seminar on the 1990 SAARC Year of the Girl Child.

O’ Dea, P., 1993, Gender Exploitation and Violence: the Market in Women, Girls, and Sex in Nepal, Kathmandu: UNICEF, , pp. iii+90.
ISBN 92-806–3007-5,

O’Dea’s report of the sex trade covers women and girls. She notes that unless there is a change in attitudes towards women nothing can cure this problem, quoting Primo Levi, “Those who know about the torment of their fellow humans and do nothing to prevent it are themselves joining the tormentors” (p. 48.). This is an incisive study of the problem, focusing chiefly on the economic and social factors that combine to exploit women and girls. The author does not differentiate between the two, so that her analysis is concerned more with gender oppression than child exploitation. She has made use of many government sources and also added an extremely useful annotated bibliography of some of the important readings on this subject.

Thapaliya, S., 1989, Legislation and the girl child in Nepal. in Janssens-Sannon, (ed.), Premeeta: Report on the national seminar on the girl child, Kathmandu, Nepal, 25-27 September, 1989, Kathmandu,: WSCC/UNICEF (85-100).

Discrimination against female children is reflected both in social attitudes and in the inadequacy of the legal system in making substantive provisions for safeguarding their welfare. Despite the existence of laws for children, few if any laws pertain specifically to female children. While male children have well defined legal rights, female children have none. This vulnerable group has yet to be recognised as a separate entity with right to the same legal provisions as those which exist for male children. Female children are denied inheritance rights and may be provided a share in the family property only under certain limited and restricted circumstances. No laws exist to protect girls and women from media exploitation and laws enacted to prevent sexual abuse and the trafficking of minor girls are relatively inadequate.



Jahangir, A., 1986, Prostitution of children in Pakistan, in Hyndman, P., (ed.), LAWASIA, the meeting of experts on the exploitation of the child, November 12 13 1984, Singapore and the conference on child labour and child prostitution, February 21-23, 1986, Kuala Lumpur, (81-87).

A review of existing legislation relating to child prostitution and other sexual offences.

Jahangir, A., Prostitution of Children in Pakistan, Undated, 2 pages.

Asma Jahangir discusses Islamic law with particular emphasis on hudood and Zina. She discusses a few cases of sexual abuse and does not examine the commercial sexual exploitation of children. She is mindful that the laws should not make minors accountable for punishment of crimes committed on them by adults.

Sri Lanka

Bond, Tim, 1980, Boy Prostitution in Sri Lanka: The Problems, Effects and Suggested Remedies, Colombo, Sri Lanka: Terre Des Hommes, in association with the Ministry of Planing & Information.

This examines the well known ’causes’ of child sex exploitation and its consequences, but the analysis needs to take into account aspects of racism and also the politics of post-colonial countries, which are seriously neglected aspect of research ,even in the case of Thailand where sex tourism is far more well organised and well documented. A useful read but the statistical methods used are not satisfactory.

Goonasekere, S. and Abeyratne, A., 1986, Child Labour and Child Prostitution in Sri Lanka and the Legal Controls, Report of the Conference on Child Labour and Prostitutes in the Philippines, 21-23 February 1986 convened by the Law Asia Human Rights Standing Committee

This survey of child prostitution in Sri Lanka covers areas of exploitation and child abuse as well as the ineffectiveness of the legal system in dealing with these problems. The paper concludes that parents’ willingness to exploit their children’ labour has encouraged both employers and poor parents to view children as an economic resource for the family and has transferred the burden of family support onto them. The focus on prostitution in public places and on protecting girls rather than boys should be altered, together with the current attitude of viewing the boy victim as an offender and the girl victim only in need of care and rehabilitation. The statute laws on child labour and those which regulate child prostitution by trying to control adult activities and the conduct of the child should be child orientated. While there is a permissible attitude towards adult exploitation, the child is sometimes viewed as the offender or the disadvantaged person whose interests may be ignored. The authors discuss the futility of trying to implement legislation. Its not that laws do not exist, there are 58 laws for child welfare, but they are not a course for redress when they should be. The discussion seeks to address these problems but does not take adequate account of the different ways in which child prostitution operates and the demand caused by the tourist trade.

3.2. Africa

African literature on commercial sexual exploitation of children is produced in the context of a scattered literature on children and childhood. Typically, African children are presented as passive victims of war and starvation, particularly in international journalism and development fundraising materials. As such ,they symbolise the view taken of the continent in current popular Western mythology as passive and beyond help. Much of the literature on adolescent sexuality in African countries has been based in these notions and is concerned not with understanding cultural ideas about sexuality, but rather with controlling population — for ‘sexuality’ read ‘reproduction’. Recent concern with the spread of HIV infection has not helped understanding of the various contexts of sexuality to develop in most circles, once again the focus is on control.

With respect to the commercial sexual exploitation of children, researchers and activists in most sub-Saharan countries seem to be agreed that this is difficult to define in African contexts. The distinction between exploitation and abuse is more complex than elsewhere, as the two ideas are inserted into other constructions of ideas rather than discrete notions. In addition, gender relations in most African societies tend to be characterised by a range of complex transactions, only some of which are related to sexual or reproductive relationships. Thus it is difficult to say exactly which of these relationships can be designated ‘commercial’ in the sense this has in modern, capitalist societies.

Besides these considerations, it has to be admitted that African literature on the commercial sexual exploitation of children is sparse and fragmented. It does not constitute a coherent discourse or set of discourses, but is better described as being produced as disparate items in other discourses. Nevertheless, this very fragmentation has its advantages. For instance, the little research that has been carried out does not suffer to the same extent from the reproductive tendencies noted in the Asian and Western material. Indeed, there may be indications that the African literature on child sexual exploitation could be the site of future advances in this field.


Ba, Yakou, 1981 ‘Some elements for a debate on juvenile “prostitution” and its suppression, in African Environment 114-15-16, ENDA Dakar, Senegal

This was originally a paper written for ENDA (Environment and Development in Africa) to be presented to the International Congress of Women in Legal Professions, Dakar 10-19 July 1978. Prostitution is defined as ‘continuous availability for sexual enjoyment of a partner not chosen for one’s own pleasure or for reasons of love and affection, and in which sexual relations involve the receipt of a gift, either in cash or in kind’. The paper asks if African youth tend to engage in this kind of sexual relationship. Suggests that early sexual experience is common among urbanised youth, using data from French West Africa. Sexual games played in childhood rapidly change into monetarised relationships. This is tacitly accepted by society. However, flaunting sexual relationships is not acceptable. Some children had sexual relationships with foreign residents or tourists, but more commonly with African adults. Although the article largely concentrates on girls, it does mention homosexuality in passing. A major contributing factor is said to be the urban environment, but rural prostitution is also said to be common. It is said to be necessary because marriage is expensive and therefore men have to wait until they are 25 to 35 years old. The practices of customary rural prostitution travel to the cities with migrants, where sex becomes more of a commodity and young women are able to support their families through sex work. Provides some material on the backgrounds of 13 ‘children of easy virtue’, aged seven to 13 years, together with some legal background. Data are not well referenced.


Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs & Radda Barnen (1988), Survey on Street Children in Selected Areas in Addis Ababa, unpublished report

A large, not very well organised report. Some information about child prostitutes, although it is stated that very few street girls practice prostitution (pp. 72-3). Interesting data on ambiguous attitudes of prostitutes towards their work — some describing it as good behaviour because it helps their parents. But data are not well analysed or presented, and a moralistic view is taken, so it is difficult to judge what has really been found in this study. Comments that the ‘hardened core’ of street girls are prostitutes, but that they do not exhibit delinquent behaviour apart from this — no stealing, fighting or drug taking. Nevertheless, prostitution is seen as a ‘social evil’ — ‘an integral part of the problem of streetism, both cause and effect..’ (p. 67).


Barker, G, and Mbogori, E., 1992, unpublished study on street children and AIDS for Childhope USA

Poor research, carried out through the brokerage of the Undugu Society of Kenya, which has published several anecdotal accounts of child prostitution in Nairobi. Particularly inept use of pseudo-referencing (for example, ‘According to the Undugu Society….turns out to be an internal strategy paper written for Childhope; Child Welfare Society, 1992 is actually an interview with a CWS staff member). Written in a patronising manner, using politically correct terms such as ‘survival sex’ and ‘sex workers’ inappropriately. States that numbers of girls are increasing on the street (no proof) and assumes that all prostitutes are female. Activities take place as part of the group work of a chuom, or surrogate family for street children and youth. Boys are garbage collectors, while ‘their “wives” will practice survival sex and share their income with their common law husbands.’ (p. 3). Although the girls represent only 10% of those on the street (no statistics given) it is also reported that one street boy may serve as a husband to up to five street girls! Gives an account of a highly unethical HIV testing procedure carried out by Undugu associated with this ‘research’. Interviews with prostitutes apparently revealed much sex with foreigners, including street boys with Asian women. This is reported as fact by the authors, but is so unlikely, while dislike of Asians is so profound in Kenya, that one assumes the interviewees were enjoying themselves lying to researchers, especially with such information as ‘Several boys said they believed that whites especially liked to be fondled by Africans; other boys remarked that foreigners sometimes brought the girls to have sex with their dogs.’ (p11).

Capital Guardians, 1989 (revised edition) An exploratory research on child sexual exploitation in Kenya: A case for child prostitution, sex tourism, sex trafficking and early marriage, unpublished MSS

This 92 page report is moralistic and descriptive. Much hearsay evidence. It reports on some secondary data, but these are too poorly presented to make sense of them. Mostly about laws and welfare projects.

Mburugu, E.K. 1992, The Kenyan Urban Case Study of Children in Especially Difficult Circumstances: Demographic and Migration Aspects, UNICEF, Unpublished.

Refers in moralistic tones to ‘cross-culturally abhorred child prostitution’ being ‘on the increase’. Blames ‘dire poverty’ but gives no evidence to prove either point. References Were’s 1988, BA dissertation to ‘prove that ‘50% of all child offenders in Nairobi were vagrants, petty thieves and prostitutes’ (p. 40) but does not disaggregate this figure.



Peltzer, K., n/d Children as commercial farm labourers and prostitutes in Africa, in ANPPCAN publication on child labour

A curious study presumably carried out in Malawi, where the author is based. It is assumed that boys can only become farm labourers and girls prostitutes, with a very broad definition of the latter term. Twenty boys and 20 girls from a rural area were ‘interviewed in depth through key-informants’. In a larger sample, 22 out of 128 girls studied were found to be prostitutes, who started this trade on average at the age of 11 years, often because they need to find work because of food shortages and cannot find positions as domestic servants in town.


Lefort, F., 1992, ‘Let street children take resposnibility’, in Children Worldwide (2), ICCB Geneva

Lefort is a priest, doctor and Director of Caritas Mauritania, publishing widely about child prostitution, as well as producing many unpublished papers, written in a somewhat heated style. He claims that prostitution with foreign clients is on the rise in Mauritania: ‘I have treated 103 boys who were victims of only 7 paedophiles, practically all foreigners’.


Rassif, S., 1990, ‘Des enfants marchandes de leur chair’, Les Enfants Martyrs No 2.

A dossier, mostly of press cuttings, with a journalistic account of girl prostitutes in Dakar, aged 13-15 years.

South Africa

Swart, J., 1990, Malunde: Street children of Hillbrow, Johannesburg: Wittwatersrand University Press.

In this and her MA thesis, two of the best pieces of research on street children anywhere, Jill Swart mentions Johannesburg black street boys working as prostitutes, not only for men but also for white women. Children in this study preferred not to sell sex, saying that ‘housebreaking and prostitution are wrong and that arrest for these is justifiable’ (p. 83).

Scharf, W., Powell, M., and Thomas, E., 1986, Strollers — Street children of Cape Town, in Burman, S., & Reynolds, P., (eds.) Growing up in a divided society, Johannesburg: Ravan Press, (262-287).
ISBN 0-86975-306-1

Study in Cape Town in 1985 of 300 ‘strollers’ or street people, of whom 30 were female. Well carried out and described research. Claims that girls living on the street were not necessarily promiscuous and that older female strollers would protect groups of girls. All but four of the 28 boys strollers studied in 1984 said they had derived some income from prostitution at some stage, with both male and female whites as customers. A year later news of HIV had reduced this proportion considerably: seven boys earned most of their money from prostitution, three of them with women. Comments that sex customers are the only adults who have a positive image of strollers and that performing satisfactorily for clients gives boys a sense of self-worth and manhood, even though they were ambiguous about male clients.


Rajani, R., & Kudrati, M., 1994, The varieties of sexual experience of street childen in Mwanza and their implications on sex education/HIV prevention programmes, unpublished MSS, Kuleana Centre, Mwanza.

Excellent study by the authors, who run the Kuleana Centre, a small NGO working in HIV/AIDS and children from a children’s rights perspective. Good description of triangulated methods developed in the context of long-term relationships with children in the project, using focus group discussions, drawings and 14 child research consultants. Studying prostitution in the context of sexual behaviour:


Too much focus on adult perpetrators and overt prostitution can …be limiting and misleading. Zeal to protect street children can over-estimate obvious, blatant exploitation at the expense of other kinds of sexual behaviours that may pose even greater risks’ (p. 3).

Also points to the lack of information about street child sex. Shows that boys can be customers.


Loewenson, R., & Chikamba, M., 1996, Sexual abuse of children in Zimbabwe, in Old ways: New theories, Volume 1, Harare, Connect ( 90-112).

Report of research carried out in Harare and rural Masvingo province, with the support of a group of children’s rights advocacy organisations, to examine the extent of sexual abuse in Zimbabwe, using participatory methods, including focus group discussions and drawings. The philosophy was based on Paulo Freire’s educational methods. The group was particularly anxious to examine the relationship between sexual abuse and traditional cultural behaviour, in the context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and developing culturally sensitive counselling for abused children.

Loewenson, R., and Chikamba, M., 1994 (Research coordinators), Sexual abuse of children in Zimbawe: report of an Action Research Project, Unpublished, Training and Research Support Centre, 47, Van Praagh Avenue Harare, Zimbabwe.

Overview report of a participatory research programme of NGOs in Zimbabwe, describing: background literature review; methods and study groups used in the research;
Findings of research; Recommendations for action. Includes case studies (preserving confidentiality. The literature review concludes that ‘the information on the extent of sexual abuse is anecdotal at best’. No distinction is made between sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation, the latter appearing as elements in a longer list: Sodomy of street boys by ‘richer men in cars; Child prostitution (of girls); Kuzvarira, pledging girls (sometimes under 12 years old) in marriage; Ngozi, pledging young girls to male adults as compensation for a crime; Sale of children for sex or marriage (kuputsa or kutengesa). The review concludes that under-reporting is common, for number of reasons, which could be summed up as the effects of adult power over children. It is also pointed out that ‘Many cases…appear due to their effects’ — for example STDs, of which 907 cases were reported in 1990 in Harare Genitourinary centre in children under 12 years of age. After discussion of the literature, it was decided that ‘sexual abuse cannot easily be dealt with by law or prescription but needs involvement of affected groups in the social analysis and sanction rather than try to build an academic quantitative view of the problem.’The research aimed to: ‘identify the extent, nature, forms, causes and effects of child sexual abuse in urban and rural Zimbabwe as perceived by youth, adults and professional communities; identify the actions that can be taken to prevent, report and manage child sexual abuse in rural and urban Zimbabwe;build communication and confidence in the concerned communities in the research on dealing with child sexual abuse.’ The research approach taken was based on the community participation techniques of Brazilian educationalist Paulo Freire. Discussion on relevant themes was stimulated with the use of ‘codes’ such as drawings as entry points to focus group discussions. Research was carried out in two areas in urban Harare and a rural area, with groups of youth in and out of school adult men and women and various groups of key individuals or staff or relevant organisations.The results show differential ideas among the research groups with respect to the way in which children and their ability to take decisions and act are viewed. The report concludes that


‘The definition of a “child” is…a combination of a series of physical, mental, sexual and emotional attributes in which the family and social environment play a role. The ages given by the groups for moving from childhood to adulthood range from 10 to 24. With respect to sexual issues, the law sets 16 as the age for ability of the child to knowingly give consent to sex: while rural groups generally agree with this age, urban groups felt that 17-22 (or an average ageof 18) was a more appropriate age.’

However, it was also clear that sex was taking place at earlier ages, within and outside marriage and the report goes to some detail abut the circumstances in which this takes place, within an overall theoretical perspective of children’s rights focusing on adult authority over children. Groups also defined “abuse”, “child abuse”, “sexual abuse” and “child sexual abuse” as well as the circumstances and effects of abuse.. Once again there were variations between groups and between rural and urban.

Muchini, B., and Nyandiya-Bundy, S., 1991, Struggling to survive: a study of street children in Zimbabwe, UNICEF, Unpublished

Although prostitution is one of the activities mentioned (p.7) for street children, there was no evidence of prostitution in the sample of 520. One case study (p. 32) of a 15 year old girl observed working as a prostitute at night.

3.3. Latin America

Latin American literature on children has long been dominated by the street children discourse, which is itself dominated by the reproduction of mythologies about these children, particularly with respect to the numbers of children involved, in guestimates that go way beyond statistical probability but seem not to stretch the credibility of both regional and international publics, which appear to have an insatiable appetite for sensational news about these children. In the late 1980s, concern about high rates of HIV in Latin America, particularly Brazil, together with the knowledge that many children living and working in the street are involved in casual prostitution and sexual activities led to the development of new programme approaches aimed to limit the spread of HIV infection. This is combined with two other characteristics of the street children literature in this region, a focus on drug (usually solvent) abuse and, more recently, international concern about extra-judicial killings of these children, especially in Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia. There is not doubt that the street children discourse, in Brazil and Colombia in particular, is characterised by ambivalence. Street children are worthy or pity if young, and feared if older adolescents. In either case they are often stigmatised and the literature is often lurid and lacking in any kind of academic rigour. Despite the fact that there is a fairly well developed sociological literature on prostitution in the region, the studies of child prostitutes do not often draw upon this, being more involved with medical than sociological models.

More recently, psychologists in several countries have shown an interest in studying child sexual abuse, which now constitutes a proper field of study and is resulting in some interesting publications. In general, but to a less hysterical extent, Latin America is going through the same kind of discovery of child sexual abuse that occurred in the USA and Europe in the late 1980s. This seems to be leading to a more reflective approach to commercial sexual exploitation, using interesting ideas about societal violence and poverty as the point of departure. Other than that, most of the vast outpouring of literature on child prostitution is journalistic, campaigning or based on accounts of mostly non-governmental projects. The literature included in this bibliography concentrates on academic literature only.


Lucchini, R., 1994, The Street Girl: prostitution, family and drug, Fribourg, Institute for Economic and Social Sciences, 42 pp.

Lucchini’s academic research on street children in several Latin American cultures is based on theories of social action and complex analyses of the relationships between different domains — home, school, street and institutions. He claims that children make deliberate strategic choices between domains, according to the extent to which they consider their needs are met. He shows that children who live on the street do not constitute a single, undifferentiated category and his more recent work has focused occasionally on the relatively small numbers of girls living on the street. Because his data are collected largely in the form of case studies his work cannot be used as the basis of studies of prevalence. Nevertheless, it is insightful and has much to bring to understanding the context of and complex reasons for prostitution among girls with street associations.


Defence for Children International, 1988, La prostitutción de menores de edad en la cuidad de Cochabamba, Cochabamba, DEI, 32pp with appendices.

The Bolivian section of Defence for Children International is one of the most active in the international children’s rights organisation. The group based in Cochabamba is marked by the volume of its publications and takes a particular interest in child prostitution. AS an advocacy organisation it relies to a great extent on secondary data, often drawn from newspaper sources. However, it has clearly taken a lead in national awareness-raising efforts.


Bridel, R., & Collomp, J-P, 1986, The sexual exploitation and abuse of children in Brazil, Oslo, Redd Barna, 36 pp with annexes.

A document based on a three-week fact-finding mission in six urban locations by lawyers, which uncritically absorbs most of the mythology and guestimates in this area.

Correa, M., 1994 The construction of sexuality among adolescents: a study of two different groups in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Paper for XIII World Congress of sociology, also Published in Pfeffer & Behera (eds) 1996.

Although this is not concerned with child prostitution, it is interesting for the insight it provides into sexual attitudes among Brazilian urban teenagers. Focusing on 62 adolescents aged between 13 and 15 years, both male and female, their acquisition and development of the language and normative rules of sexuality. Well researched and interesting analysis.

Dimenstein, G., 1992, Meninas do Noite, Editora Atica.

Dimenstein’s work on the extra-judicial killings of street children made him famous. This book, which, like its predecessors has been widely translated, consists of a series of case studies of female prostitutes, illustrated by artistically satisfying, posed photographs, with the location of each girl provided. It might almost be a catalogue.

Fonseca Moraes, A., & Ramirez, M., 1993, ‘Meninas na Rua, mulheres no mundo, in Rizzini, I., (ed.) A criança no Brasil Hoje: desafio para o terceiro Milênio, Rio de Janeiro, Editoria Universitária Santa Úrsula, (also published in English).

A study of violence against street girls in Rio de Janeiro and the resilience of the girls themselves. An interesting and sophisticated analysis of the relationship between gender and the culture of violence, which might well be compared with Treguear & Carro (see Costa Rica, below). Does not discuss prostitution as such, but well worth the effort of reading.


Vidal, Paula, n/d (circa 1986) ‘La prostitución infantil y juvenil como medio de sobrevivencia en Chile, unpublished paper.

Account of a pilot study of adolescent sex workers, in the context of programme provision.


Cámara de Comercio de Bogotá, 1993, La prostitución infantil en Bogotá, CEDE, Universidad de los Andes, Santafé de Bogotá.

A sample survey in central Bogota. In a total of 14,211 female prostitutes, 20% were between 15 and 20 years old and 8% between nine and 14 years old. Provides numerical information about clients and incomes. The majority of those under 20 were mothers. Some qualitative information about where and how they live.

Segura Escobar, N., 1992, La Prostitución infantil y la educación: Colombia, unpublished MSS, Paris: UNESCO.

Study of child prostitutes in Bogota, examining educational level, family and socio economic status, together with programme provision (state and NGO). More attention to legal facts and secondary data, but nonetheless interesting. Around 30 pages of appendices, including oral testimony.

Costa Rica

Treguear L., Tatiana, & Carro B., Carmen, 1994, Niñas y adolescentes prostituidas, San José de Costa Rica, UNICEF, Childhope, PRONICE.

Easily one of the best-researched and analysed accounts of child prostitution in existence in any region. The data are not particularly startling, but they are well presented. The discussion locates child prostitution within structures of social violence and inequality. The authors define prostitution as ‘a form of violence, exploitation and victimisation of girls, in which through the objectification of their bodies and sexuality, they become commodities, so that they can be bought and sold’ (p. 1). Prostitution is an institution that supports the family and also the product of institutionalised social violence in Latin American society, by which Treguear and Carro mean class and gender conflict.


Caballeros, M.E., 1993, Niñas y adolescentes prostituidas: caso Guatemala, UNICEF/Childhope/Pronice, Guatemala.

Provides background information about the power relationships in which young street prostitutes are involved, those who control their commercial sexual activities, drug traffickers and the police.

Tumax, L., & Morales, V., 1988, Diagnóstico situacional de las niñas y adolescentes de y en la calle de la cuidad de Guatemala, Childhope Guatemala,

Study of 38 street girls, ‘84%’ of whom were prostitutes, having begun to be sexually active on average at 13 years of age.


Wright, J. D., Kaminsky, D. & Witting, M., 1993, Health and Social Conditions of street children in Honduras, in American Journal of the Diseases of Childhood, 147, 279-283.

Responsible, well-researched paper, based on the experiences of Project Alternatives in and around the major markets of the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa. Divides children (male and female) who use the project into two main groups, those with close family contact, living and working in a family environment in the markets (market children), and those who seldom if ever have contact with their natal families (street children). Takes a public health approach, and is over-reliant on numerical statistics. These show that many of the boys have sexual relationships, and have had at least one episode of STD. 9.4% of the 976 children studied were sexually active (5.2% of the market children and 43.5% of the street children) . Of 92 sexually active children, 64.4 had been treated for STDs (40% market children; 85.1% street children) and 13% had engaged in prostitution.
(5.4% market children and 21.9% street children).


Basili D, F., & Equipo Asociación Germinal, 1990,Crisis y Comercio Sexual de Menores en el Peru, Lima: Radda Barnen.

A collection of 27 oral testimonies from child prostitutes and their parents, followed by some reflections about the problem and its origin.

3.4. Anglophone West

Much of the literature from the ‘West’ is from journalistic and academic sources, which has inevitably given it a certain slant. Many articles have come out of studies in the sociology of delinquency although the recent focus on AIDS has also been reflected in the literature. The concern over child abuse and the long terms effects of childhood trauma has been a major issue in all the countries included under this heading – USA, Canada, Australia and Britain — and this has also influenced the substance and content of the debate.

The main themes of the literature are well represented in the bibliography below: the emphasis on delinquency, broken homes and abusive relationships and finally the stress on AIDS that has been placed on more recent literature. It is interesting that there have been no long term studies of what happens to children after they leave prostitution or what are the most successful way to rehabilitate young prostitutes. There have also not been sufficient research on what turns children towards prostitution. Although poverty and abuse are mentioned as risk factors, many children who also share these risks do not become prostitutes and it is necessary to know why this is not the case. There have been many small scale studies of prostitutes in certain cities such as San Francisco, London, New York or Glasgow but there has been no attempt to collate this information to give a larger picture. Kelly Weisberg in Children of the Night gives an excellent summary of much of the US material but no larger comparative have been made. Another major gap in the literature from all countries concerns the clients. There have been few systematic surveys of the men who use juvenile prostitutes apart from some general work on paedophiles, such as in Burgess and Lindeqvist.

There is also a great deal of literature from other European countries, princiaplly those such as the Netherlands or Scandinavian countries, which have experimented with legalised adult prostitution. Some have also legalised all forms of pornography, including child pornography. The studies from these countries are important for enhancing our understanding, but they have been excluded from this bibliography due to the constraints of space and time. It is important to note, however, that studies on child prostitution do exist in these countries and any complete bibliography of source material should include them. Also, despite the contribution that many journalists have made to a discussion of the commercial sexual exploitation of children, few except Robin Lloyd have written books about their findings. Therefore, although there have been many newspaper and magazines articles about the subject over the years, this bibliography is heavily biased towards the academic and newspaper articles have not been given the prominence they perhaps might otherwise have had.

Baizerman, M., Thompson, J, Stafford-White, K., 1979, Adolescent Prostitution, in Children Today 8 (5).
ISBN: 0008-1026

Based on first hand psychological interviews of girl prostitutes between the ages of 13 and 18 years. Claims that not all have pimps and many use contraception but that their psychological problems are immense, they have low self esteem and lack affection.
Their clients are usually white men over 25 who sometimes ask for girls the same age as their daughters.

Burgess, A. W. and Lindeqvist, M., 1984, Child Pornography and Sex Rings, Lexington: Lexington Books.
ISBN: 0-669-06741-5

Looks at paedophilia in a Western context. Actual paedophilic behaviour is closely linked to collecting child pornography. The fact that it is permanent has serious implications for the children later on. Difference between paedophiliac activity and rape. The child is ‘seduced’ – his or her inhibitions lowered by alcohol, pornography, threats, bribes, promises, treats.

Campagna, D. S., & Poffenberger, D. L., 1988, The Sexual Trafficking in Children,
Dover, Massachusetts: Auburn House Publishing Company.

ISBN: 0-86569-154-1

Discusses prostitution in the USA, which the authors call ‘sexual trafficking’. Deals with how children become involved in prostitution and how they are forced to stay in it. Very much concerned with forced prostitution and the exploitative pimp/prostitute relationship which it applies solely to women. Emphasises the role of unhappy homes and the ways that pimps can exploit this and set a child up in psychological dependence. The picture they paint is unrelentingly bleak — children either end up dead, sometimes murdered by their pimps or by a clients, or they are so emotionally scarred that rehabilitation is impossible. Claims that up to 1.2 million children are being sexually exploited in the US but they do not define sexual exploitation (does this include incest for example) and they do not tell you where this figure is from. Fairly evenly divided between a discussion of male and female prostitution and although it admits that they have different problems, it seems as if the root causes are the same: broken homes, low self esteem, being easy prey to the kindness of strangers who hang around bus stops waiting to pick up runaways. However, also emphasises that parents are abusive and often knowingly sell their children, especially to be used as ‘models’ in child pornography. Deals also with child pornography and the role of motorcycle gangs in child prostitution – a subject that is not dealt with elsewhere. The last section of the book tackles international sex rings, looks at adoption and the importing of child pornography but skates over this rather quickly

Christiane F., 1981, H: Autobiography of a Child Prostitute and Heroin Addict, London: Corgi.
ISBN: 0-552-11772-2

Story of a lower middle class German girl’s gradual drift into prostitution via heroin addiction. It is written by journalist who interviewed her at length and is not therefore, strictly autobiographical. The book portrays the boredom of the housing estate where Christiane grew up very well and the clubs which offered the only source of excitement to the young people there. After starting with marijuana, the young people gradually experimented more and more until Christiane and her friends became addicted to heroin. The only way to finance this habit was through prostitution. Christiane lived with her mother and stepfather during this time and there are interviews with her mother and other people, such as police officers who dealt with her over the years. What is most striking about this book is the absolute helplessness of the adults involved. Nobody knew what to do with Christiane or how to deal with her she and she was placed into unsuitable care and drying out clinics. It was only when she was totally removed from her environment and sent to another city that she managed to get off heroin entirely.


Deisher, R., Eisner, V. and Sulzbacher, S., 1969, The Young Male Prostitute, Paediatrics vol. 43 no. 6.
ISSN: Unknown

Interview based study of 63 male juvenile prostitutes in Seattle and San Francisco. One of the earliest reports on the issue and it is noticeable in that it is much more concerned with religion than it is with race. Primary concern is broken homes.

Donovan, K. , 1994, Hidden From View: an exploration of the little known world of young male prostitutes in Great Britain and Europe with recommendations for an effective interagency approach, West Midlands Police.
ISBN: None

Deals with young male prostitutes in England and other European countries. Takes a very small sample group (less than 20) and bases the investigation on them. As might be expected, the numbers coming out of care are high as is tension with the police. In all the literature on male prostitution there is a discussion on whether these boys are ‘really’ gay or just do it for the money which is largely absent from works written about female prostitution. Nobody questions if they are ‘really’ straight or not. Good first section on the history of male prostitution and the recognition that it is not a new phenomenon and has been institutionalised for centuries. Good too, on the ways of recruiting boys into prostitution – usually done through other boys and what happens to the afterwards. Boys usually leave prostitution by the time they are 23 and either settle into long term relationships (occasionally with a customer) or they turn to other kinds of criminal activity. The average age boys enter prostitution is 14 years. The information on other European countries supports these findings. Many prostitutes came from an institutionalised background and started at 14 or 15 years of age. In Holland where prostitution is legal, the same rules apply to male and female prostitutes. They must be over 18 but can work in licensed brothels. Most leave prostitution after two years.

Finkelhor, D., 1979, Sexually Victimised Children, New York: Free Press.
ISBN: 0-02-910210-3

Finkelhor’s considerable body of published work is seminal and essential for understanding sexual relationships between children and adults. This book places the emphasis on sexual abuse within the home, in particular incest. It suggests links with prostitution because many juvenile prostitutes in America have been sexually abused before turning to prostitution.


Finkelhor, D. and Araji, S., 1986, A Source book on Child Sexual Abuse, London: Sage.
ISBN: 0-8039-2748-7

Important in defining situational and preferential paedophiles; some go actively seeking children, others have sex with them because it is available ( through juvenile prostitution) but they are not necessarily seeking it.

Gibsonainyette, I., Templer, D.I., Brown, R. and Veaco, L., 1988, Adolescent Female Prostitutes, in Archives Of Sexual Behavior 17 ( 5).
SSN: 0004-0002

The authors estimate that there are 600,000 prostitutes under the age of 18 in the USA and that there has been a 242% increase in underage prostitution between 1967 and 1976. These girls show a negative attitude towards men and are likely to have been in a special education class at school. Based on statistical analysis between prostitute girls in a ‘correctional facility’ and non prostitute girls.

House of Congress, 1985, The Use of Computers in the Sexual Exploitation of Children and Child Pornography. Washington: House of Congress. Congress record: S.1305, 99th Congress, Ist session, 131 CONG. REC. S8244 (daily ed. June 17, 1985)

Discusses the legal issues involved with child pornography and the difficulties of passing legislation against it in the USA. The right of privacy and the right to free speech are important considerations and it will be difficult to pass a law which does not infringe on either of these. Because computer networks are run by private companies, a change in the law would require them to police the networks which would invade privacy. Also, in only seven states is possession of child pornography an offence so at the moment it is hard to prosecute people for receiving and or sending pornography. The article admits that there is a problem and that computers do provide a new way of transmitting pornography or the setting up of meetings with children but argues that laws that will be both constitutional and effective will be hard to draw up.

International Working Group on Child Labour. (1995). Canada, IWGCL: Amsterdam.
ISBN: None

Gives a summary of some of the other research done on child prostitution in Canada. Suggests a disproportionate number of child prostitutes have been previously sexually abused and also that there are a disproportionate number of native Canadian prostitutes. Distinguishes between part time and full time prostitutes and also discusses survival sex. Also analyses the role of pimps but suggests that pimping is not always present in juvenile prostitution, despite the stereotype.

Joseph, C., 1995, Scarlet Wounding: Issues Of Child Prostitution, in Journal Of Psychohistory Vol.23, No. 1.

ISSN: 0145-3378

Survivor’s account of ‘The Club’, a place where she lived with her parents and was forced to receive guests, partake in pornography, was raped and abused. She survived but repressed these memories for years. Many children, she claims, died. Estimates that 100 million children world wide are prostitutes and 2.4 million in America. Very reminiscent of the satanic abuse stories and very clearly written by a believer in organised abuse. Figures are given without a source and no forensic or supplementary data given to support the author’s claims.

Lowman, J., 1987, Taking Young Prostitutes Seriously, in Canadian Review Of Sociology And Anthropology, 24 (1).
ISSN: 0008-4948

An account of the work of the Bradley Commission, established in Canada to examine child and juvenile prostitution. This recommended that children be locked up ‘for their own good’ and therefore had the effect of criminalising children working in prostitution. The report ignores the views of child prostitutes, even though the Commission had specifically asked for them. It took under 21years as a chronological definition of juvenile prostitution. According to the research reported, a history of abuse and incest feature highly in the decision to become a prostitute. Home life was ‘impossible’ for many, yet family reunification is recommended. Some of the girls in the study did not define themselves as prostitutes but the Commission rejected this as “self deception”. It is acknowledged that these juveniles seek independence and claimed that, although this is what they want, they also need love and security. It is also claimed that there is no strict causal relationship between prostitution and drug use and also that not all pimps are exploitative.

National Consultation on Adolescent Prostitution, 1984, Proceedings of the National Consultation on Adolescent Prostitution, Ottawa: Canada.
ISBN: None

This survey emphasises broken homes, degradation and the difficulties of reintegration. It is psychologically based and claims that children who become prostitutes are previously alienated. Points out that there had been no study of Native Canadians involved in prostitution.


Pleak, R.R. and Meyerbahlburg, H.F.L.T., 1990, Sexual-Behavior and Aids Knowledge of Young Male Prostitutes in Manhattanin Journal Of Sex Research, 27, (4).

ISSN: 0022-4499

The emphasis in this paper is on AIDS prevention and it does not mention any other forms of STD. The sample group used has some underage (14 years old) subjects in their study but it does not focus specifically on this age group and they are not the object of study. Male prostitutes in this subject appeared to be knowledgeable about AIDS and had changed their behaviours accordingly. Informants recruited through clinics and then word of mouth, one informant would recruit others.

Schaffer, B and Deblassie, R.R., 1984, Adolescent Prostitution, in Adolescence, 19, (75).
ISSN: Unknown

Based on Freudian interpretations. Emphasises alienation, abuse and broken families but goes on to claim:

“A teenager who enters prostitution may be atoning for guilt produced by incestuous fantasies. Anger caused by the father’s rejection is directed inward and outward. By taking money from men, the prostitute takes revenge against the father”.

Sereny, G., 1984, The Invisible Children: Child Prostitution in America, West Germany and Great Britain, London: Andre Deutsch.
ISBN: 02-339-76485

The book attempts to be an academic text but is written from a journalistic point of view. Children are interviewed but rarely followed up. The author places child prostitution very much in the context of family breakdown and claims that children are runaways. Serenyi also claims that, in London in particular, there is little demand for child prostitutes from local men and that the majority of the clients for young prostitutes are Arabs, which is not substantiated by any other studies.

Snell, C. L., 1995, Young Men in the Street : Help-seeking behaviour of young male prostitutes, Connecticut and London: Praeger, Westport.
ISBN: 0-275-92874-3

Estimates that there are 100,000 to 300,000 youthful prostitutes in the street but does not state who qualifies as ‘youth’ or how this figure was reached. Indeed the sample group covers ages 14 – 34 years with a mean age of 22. There did not seem to be the same incidence of care or foster parents in the children’s background in this survey as others have suggested. Only a third were raised by ‘others’ which included fathers, foster carers and institutions. Also, few define themselves by prostitution (only 23%) others say they are students or doing menial jobs. However the incidence of sexual abuse was high and many claimed to have their first sexual experience before 15 years of age. Tended to stay in prostitution for seven years. The shelters available to them are disliked as they remind the youths of homes — too many rules and regulations and property gets stolen. A number of young men report sexual abuse in these shelters. The emphasis is placed on AIDS prevention rather than STDs in general. Respondents were asked if they were at risk from AIDS but not whether they were at risk from other diseases. Respondents were more frightened of getting mugged than they were of AIDS.

Weisberg, D. K., 1985, Children of the Night: A Study of Adolescent Prostitution, Massachusetts. Lexington Books.
ISBN: 0669 06389-4

Good, comprehensive book on child prostitution in the USA, especially in San Francisco Is based on first hand research in San Francisco but compiles data from many different sources. Laws are clearly discussed as are projects that aim to get children to give up the life. Pays equal attention to male and female prostitution but presents data on each group separately. Starts with a history of child prostitution and links it in to ‘the runaway children’ phenomenon of the 1960s. Then goes on to give an ethnography of three areas of San Francisco where underage prostitutes can be found. Unusual in that it does not just deal with street prostitution but other forms as well, including upper class prostitution. Typically, there is a section on whether or not rent boys are ‘really’ gay. The importance of broken homes is emphasised — when children are neglected, they run away, often on a whim which means they have made few plans and have little money. Then if they do not return home, prostitution becomes one of the few options open to them. Concludes that the majority of young prostitutes are white and that their ages range from 12 – 18 years. Also notes a high correlation between sexual abuse (most commonly incest) and prostitution, but notes that sexual abuse is not always consistently defined so this must be interpreted with care. Discusses the health risks for children and notes that STDs are not their only health problem. They are also susceptible to colds, flu and psychological disorders.

Widom, C.S. & Ames, M.A. , 1994, Criminal Consequences Of Childhood Sexual Victimization, Child Abuse and Neglect, 18 (4).
ISSN: 0145-2134

Argues against a strict causal relationship between childhood sexual abuse and prostitution or delinquency. Sexual abuse tends to occur in multi-problem families and therefore it may not be specifically child abuse that causes the problems. Suggests that abuse generally, and not sexual abuse in particular, is what puts children at risk. However, they do seem to beat increased risk of being arrested for prostitution (not necessarily child prostitution) if they have been sexually abused as children.

Wilson, G.D., & Cox, D. N., 1986, The Child Lovers: A study of paedophiles in society, London and Boston: Peter Owen.

ISBN: 0-72060-6039

Discusses the basis of attraction between men and children. Comments on similarities between this attraction and ‘normal’ male attraction: “A certain degree of attraction to well developed thirteen and fourteen year old girls is very common, if not endemic, in the male population” (p. 18), referring to a study of 77 paedophiles (contacted through the now defunct Paedophile Information Exchange), which asked men what physical traits they found attractive in a child. This list included good looks, smooth skin (hairlessness), smallness. Personality traits include innocence, openness and curiosity.


Index – Introduction – Part 1 – Part 2 – References – Annotated Bibliography