Child Prostitution and Pornography

Heather Montgomery

in Childhood Studies

ISBN: 9780199791231
Published online March 2012 | | DOI:
Child Prostitution and Pornography

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The subjects of child prostitution and pornography have been approached from a number of perspectives, including those of social welfare, the law, and juvenile justice, as well as from disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, and sociology. There is a vast amount of literature in all these fields that covers children’s motivations and experiences of prostitution and pornography, their vulnerability and resilience, attempts to remove them from this work, and the prosecution of those who buy their services. Girls feature more prominently in the literature, although some work on juvenile male prostitution has been done. The child prostitution literature discussed in this entry usually refers to girls, unless it is explicitly stated, or is clear from the title, that it refers to boys or to both boys and girls. In terms of prostitution, there is a split in the literature between children in the West and in the global South, the work on the former focusing on family breakdown and young people who have run away from home, and the latter concentrating on sex tourism and trafficking. In general, there are also differences in the terminology used when discussing children in the West versus those in the South. The term child prostitution usually denotes persons younger than the age of eighteen when discussing children in the global South, whereas juvenile prostitution or youth prostitution is more frequently used when discussing young prostitutes in the West and can denote those up to the age of twenty-one. It should be noted, however, that many analyses of child prostitutes are actually about adolescents and older. In this entry, juvenile prostitution is the preferred term for work that focuses specifically on postpubescent adolescents, whereas the terms child, boy, and girl are used to describe younger children. There is, inevitably, an overlap between the terms, and ages of the children under discussion are not always given. Much of the work done on child prostitution and pornography is “gray’ literature, published by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and campaigning groups, and is written for the purposes of fund-raising or improving awareness of these issues. The most important of these NGOs is ECPAT, which was originally an acronym for End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism, now stands for End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes. Although the work of NGOS such as ECPAT is valuable, it sometimes needs to be treated with caution, especially when dealing with issues of numbers. However, ECPAT, like other NGOs, has commissioned academics to write research reports and position papers, and many academics have published such peer-reviewed articles. It is vital, therefore, to look at where any particular text is published and by whom. The majority of the work done on this issue was published in the mid to late 1990s and early 2000s, when the sexual exploitation of children was a particular concern of NGOs and governments. Although the problem has not gone away, it does now attract less attention, and the majority of the publications listed here are from the 1990s.

Article.  15946 words. 

Subjects: Development Studies

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