Human Trafficking and Forced Child Prostitution

Essay by trafficking August 2004

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Human Trafficking and Forced Child Prostitution

When Prof. Martin Patt of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell retired from active teaching in 2002, he began to devote both time and energy to new projects as they captured his attention. Lately his attention has been captured by both human trafficking and one of its derivatives, forced child prostitution. He has been developing a related resource website [ ] that packs quite a punch in demonstrating the horrible reality of trafficking in persons. His website features a list of countries. Clicking on a country brings up a description of its human trafficking situation followed by a list of current related web-links. Many of these links (e.g. Philippines) are heavy with child prostitution.

We learn from one of the links posted on his website, for example, that the words child labor that often evoke images of young children toiling for pennies in sweatshops - producing clothes or sporting goods that are exported for consumption in Western markets, can also imply the commercial sexual exploitation of children for prostitution or pornography and the utilization of children for drug trafficking.

Prof. Patt's website contains links to testimonials of former child laborers that are haunting. Children as young as five are subject to physical, sexual and emotional abuse; they are kidnapped, sold, or tricked into forced labor, sometimes by friends or family; they work with harmful chemicals, equipment, or in life-threatening conditions, resulting in long-term health consequences; they are extremely susceptible to HIV/AIDS; and in many cases, they lose the opportunity to access one of the most basic rights of all children: education.1

Perhaps like you, I too had thought that human trafficking was an institution of the past, with the exception of a few isolated Middle Eastern and African states. How utterly wrong I was! Prof.