“A Barbarous Crime”
MARIAa became a child prostitute when she was 14 years old. She adopted this horrible life-style at the insistence of her own mother, who told her that she was beautiful and that men would like her very much. Besides, she would earn a lot of money. In the evenings Maria’s mother took her to a motel where they made contacts. The mother remained nearby to receive the payments. Each night, Maria had sex with three or four men.
Not far from Maria’s home, 13-year-old Carina was also forced into prostitution. Like many other families living in her community of sugarcane workers, Carina’s family sold her body to supplement their limited income. In another area Estela left school at a young age, not even knowing how to read and write, and began working as a street prostitute. And Daisy was about six years old when she was sexually molested by one of her brothers—the first of many incestuous acts perpetrated on her. She became a prostitute at the age of 14.
In many parts of the world, the problem of child prostitution is a frightening reality. The results are tragic. Often, child prostitutes, whether occasional or full-time, also become involved in crime and drug abuse. Many of them feel frustrated and worthless, seeing little or no prospect of escaping their wretched lives.
Influential personalities recognize the devastating effects of child prostitution. Brazil’s ex-President Fernando Henrique Cardoso aptly stated: “Child prostitution is a barbarous crime.” A Brazilian newspaper published this sobering comment about child prostitution: “Countries where such a practice is common, tolerated, accepted, and even sought after because of the [money] it brings experience every day the devastation that it causes. Any financial profit it may produce is inevitably annulled by the individual, family, and social disasters generated by such a practice.”
Yet, despite the noble intentions of those who want to stop child prostitution, the problem is growing. What leads to this horrific situation? Why do so many tolerate or even promote such criminal activity?
a Names in this cover series have been changed.
[Blurb on page 3]
“Child prostitution is a barbarous crime.”—BRAZIL’S EX-PRESIDENT FERNANDO HENRIQUE CARDOSO
[Blurb on page 4]
“All forms of sexual exploitation are incompatible with human dignity, and therefore violate fundamental human rights, regardless of the age, gender, race, ethnicity or class of the victim.”—UNESCO SOURCES