Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) is a violation of the fundamental rights of girls
and boys involving sexual abuse on the part of an adult and the remuneration in funds or in kind
both for the child, as well as for a third party. The ILO views child prostitution, child pornography
and the sale and trafficking of children as crimes of violence against children.
They are considered to be economic exploitation akin to forced labour or slavery and are cited in ILO
Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 1999 (No.182) as worst forms of child labour that must be
eliminated without delay. While it is practically impossible to know the true extent of the problem,
given its hidden and illegal nature, the 2006 UNICEF report affirms that over 10,000 children are
currently being exploited in prostitution or pornography on the Kenyan Coastline alone. While the age
that a child becomes involved may be quite young, 13 to 17-year olds are most affected. ILO/IPEC
The young people often suffer irreparable damage to their physical and mental health. They face early
pregnancy and risk sexually transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS. They are often inadequately
protected by the law and may be treated as criminals once apprehended.
It is now widely agreed that many young people first become involved in prostitution through pimps
who use sophisticated models of grooming to entrap them. Discussions of grooming and entrapment
almost always only refer to men as the perpetrators. However, there is some evidence that women are
also involved in procuring children and young people for prostitution. A recent survey carried out by
Coexist revealed that in some cases family members are also involved in the luring of children into the
pervasive sex slavery trap.
It is impossible to identify a single cause for the rampant involvement of children in prostitution.
However involvement appears to be the result of a complex interaction of personal,
psychological, social and economic factors. There is need to undertake immediate and effective
measures to prohibit and eliminate the use, procuring or offering a child for prostitution, the
production of pornography or for pornographic performances. Social experts belief that this is a
collective effort that calls all the stakeholders to play.