Child Sexual Exploitation

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With the development and subsequent global rise of free trade, globalization and internationalization many new benefits are afforded to society, many old and new social inequities have reared their ugly heads once again. This has allowed an alarming and disturbing rise of instances in the exploitation of minors. The most widespread and upsetting of these is child sexual exploitation (hereafter "CSE"). However with greater power comes even greater responsibility, not only for individuals but the masses at large to help change and understand the phenomenon of juvenile prostitution, trafficking in children for sexual purposes and child pornography. This has emerged as increasingly significant social issues within the global arena and most facets of everyday life, even though most people are unaware of the darkness which surrounds them. Child sex tourism has also seen a global increase. According to a study conducted by Estes and Weiner the order of frequency with which CSE has been identified to be fuelled by are listed as follows: 1) Prostitution by runaway and throwaway children is used to provide for their subsistence needs for example, heroin and ecstasy; 2) Pre-existing adult prostitution in the areas where there is a large numbers of street youth; 3) A history of child sexual abuse and child sexual assault; 4) poverty; 5) Large numbers of unattached and transient males in communities for example, military personnel, truckers, conventioneers, sex tourists, as well as others; 6) for some girls, membership or some connection to gangs; 7) Juvenile prostitution conducted by parents, older siblings and boyfriends; 8) Organized crime units recruiting children for prostitution; and, increasingly, 9) The illegal trafficking of children for sexual purposes to the United States from developing countries located in developing Asia, Africa, Central and South America, and Central and Eastern Europe. As these countries are the most susceptible to these factors due mainly in part to the extreme poverty line, marginal education of its inhabitants and insufficient or non existent laws to govern crimes of this nature.


The project was organized around the following research objectives:
1. Identification of the nature, extent, and underlying causes of CSE

2. Identification of groups of adult perpetrators of sex crimes against children including pimps, traffickers, and adult "customers" of children for sex;


The investigation was confronted with a wide range of methodological challenges: sampling, measurement, design and analysis. Mainly due to the relatively new and unchartered waters of this assignment with regards to a South African context. No significant studies have been conducted in South Africa in the subject of CSE and so many secondary sources were consulted referencing international studies.


The project was conducted over a period of 9 days (11 August 2005 – 20 August 2005)


Interviews and monitoring of sexually exploited children and youth where possible

Consultation with law enforcement organizations so as to ascertain general criminal trends and statistics relevant to these studies

Consultation with public human service organizations who have direct contact with the affected individuals, namely sexually exploited children for further information and assistance
Private Human Service Organizations


Due to the limited nature of studies conducted in South Africa alternate copies of other research conducted internationally were obtained, which may be relevant to this study. This was done mainly through sampling the Internet.



Child: Persons up to the age of 18 years.
Child maltreatment: To repeatedly inflict intentional physical and or emotional damage on a dependent child e.g....
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