Sociological review of child prostitution

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“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (US DHHS) described trafficking as the fastest growing criminal industry in the world (2004)” (Jones et al). Among human trafficking, child trafficking for prostitution is more severe than any other forms of human trafficking. According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “An estimated one million children around the world are forced into prostitution every year, and the total number of prostituted children could be as high as 10 million” (Child prostitution). Prostitution is a social evil and no country seems to be free of it, irrespective of the economic advancements or the high levels of standard of living. Child prostitution is referred as forcing children to engage in sexual activities for money. In most of the countries people below the age of 18 is referred as children and the prostitution occurs in this age category is labeled as child prostitution. Various reasons cited for the reasons for increasing number of child prostitution by sociologists. Poverty, lack of knowledge, changing life styles and perceptions about life etc are the major reasons for child prostitution. This paper analyses child prostitution on a sociological perspective.

Poverty seems to be the major reason behind child prostitution. It is evident from the fact that in third world countries, child prostitution is more than that in developing or developed countries. “Majority of children in third world countries (mostly Asian countries) are recruited into prostitution through forced abduction, pressure from parents, or through deceptive agreements between parents and traffickers” (Child prostitution). Children during their younger age may not have much knowledge about the consequences of prostitution. They do not know much about how prostitution affects their future life. They don’t have the ability to segregate between the goods and evils and antisocial elements exploit the weaknesses of children. Children at their adolescent age would be hyperactive sexually because of the development of sex hormones. The encouragement of parents and other antisocial elements force them to perceive prostitution as a normal act rather than a sin or unacceptable social behavior.

Certain children have very different understandings of prostitution to those campaigning to end the practice. They do not see prostitution as a form of work or necessarily as a form of abuse. Instead they claim it as a way of fulfilling perceived social and moral obligations to their families (Montgomery).

“Child sexual abuse often negatively affects long-term psychological and social well being, although more than half of all sexual abuse survivors do not suffer the most extreme forms of psychiatric trauma” (Child prostitution). Only after becoming the adults, children will come to know more about the consequences of their action. The sexual abuse at a younger age will definitely generate dissatisfaction among children and many of such children may develop psychological problems in future. The social acceptance of the sexually exploited children would be lesser than that of the normal children. Such segregation often generates vengeance in the minds of sexually exploited children. In extreme cases, it is quite possible that such children may become psychopaths also.

Child prostitution is prohibited in most of the countries by law; however in some countries child prostitution is perceived as a kind of custom or part of their culture. For example, at some parts of India, sexual exploitation of children has strong association with the culture and custom. “According to some research, child prostitution is socially acceptable in some sections of Indian society through the practice of Devdasi. Young girls are given to the ‘gods’ and they become a religious prostitute” (Child Prostitution in India). Another factor which encourages child prostitution in India is the custom of child marriages. In India, “child marriages are a common phenomenon even today and the bride is very much younger to the bridegroom so the husband drives the innocent wife into prostitution” (Misha)

“Child prostitution is a direct violation of a child’s Human Rights” (Child Prostitution: A Denial of Human Rights). Children have the fundamental and natural right to grow normally. Forcing him to engage in an unhealthy activity is the violation of their rights and scuh actgs should be punished severely.

To conclude, the future of a nation lies in the hands of the children and forcing children to engage in prostitution like social evils will result in the development of evil forces which may destroy the nation in future. Child prostitution may create lot of social problems in future as the children who suffered sexual abuse may develop psychological problems in future and may become antisocial elements. In short, child prostitution should be prohibited by law and strict penalties should be given to those who encourage children for prostitution.

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  1. “Child Prostitution”. Web. 24 April 2011. <>
  2. “Child Prostitution: A Denial of Human Rights”. Web. 24 April 2011. <—Child_prostitutionsecd.htm>
  3. “Child Prostitution in India”. Web. 24 April 2011. <>
  4. Jones, Loring. Engstrom, David W. Hilliard, Tricia and Diaz, Mariel. “Globalization and Human Trafficking”. Web. 24 April 2011 <>
  5. Misha, Sarika. “Child Prostitution in India”. 1987. Web. 24 April 2011. <>
  6. Montgomery, Heather. Are Child Prostitutes Child Workers? A Case Study”. Web. 24 April 2011. <>
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