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Child Prostitution in South-East Asia

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Child Prostitution in South-East Asia

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Child prostitution is an appalling social issue plaguing Southeast Asia’s youth and society at large. In this brief paper I will expand on the epidemic of child prostitution in this region of the world. By illustrating why these children are becoming prostitutes and pointing out who is paying for their business, I hope to better understand the scenario and look at alternatives to alleviating this social problem. The magnitude of this problem is phenomenal. The Human Rights branch of the United Nations has estimated that “hundreds of thousands of children are involved in child prostitution and pornography in India alone. Other reports say there are 200,000 child prostitutes in Thailand, and 60,000 in the Philippines” (Lukas, 1996). These U.N. estimates are not accurate because they were taken several years ago and since child prostitution is illegal many of the numbers remain hidden from western statistics. The U.N. doesn’t post statistics with regard to Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, or Indonesia which are all countries where child prostitution occurs. These estimates that the U.N. has predicted, do present a question of why child prostitution is occurring in the first place. Much of Southeast Asia is comprised of lesser-developed countries where poverty, hunger, and child labor are rampant. Having children who go to work selling their bodies is a deplorable act, in my opinion. Unfortunately this is a cultural norm in countries like Cambodia and many other countries of the region. Mu Sochua is Cambodia’s Minister for Women’s Affairs and she claims that, “it’s become socially acceptable to sleep with young girls; the message is its O.K. Do it. You won’t be punished” (Perrin, 2002). Mu Sochua thinks that if the Cambodian society changed their opinion with regard to child prostitution then girls wouldn’t be drawn into these sorts of situations. These children wouldn’t sell themselves if there was no one to buy them for these acts, and they would have to find an...

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