Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is a human, social and national challenge of the highest priority for any country. Considering the importance of this issue, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) calls for State Parties to take all appropriate measures to prevent the inducement or coercion of a child to engage in unlawful sexual activity, as well as to prevent the exploitative use of children in prostitution, pornography or other unlawful sexual acts, Article 34. And the article 35 calls for State Parties to take all appropriate measures to prevent the abduction, sale of or trafficking of children for any purpose or in any form. The Declaration of the Agenda for Action of the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (1996) provided the following definition of the (ECPAT, 2001-02):
“The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) is a fundamental violation of children’s rights. It comprises sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons. The child is treated as a sexual object and as a commercial object. The commercial sexual exploitation of children constitutes a form of coercion and violence against children, and amounts to forced labour and contemporary form of slavery.”
International Labour Organization (ILO) declared the CSEC as one of the worst forms of child labour under the ILO Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention 182, and the convention demands the ratifying States to design and implement action plans to eliminate the worst forms of child labour as a priority. Prostitution is one of the fastest growing components of today’s world economy. Some NGOs and international agencies like to call victims of prostitution ‘sex workers’ and refer to the ‘sex industry’ as if prostitution were just another job, like working at any
other place, but in fact most of the women are youths and children and little more than modern slaves. Workers create commodities, but like old-fashioned slaves these women are commodities to be bought and sold as if they were things, and not human beings. Many hundreds of thousands of women and young girls are trafficked every year from
the world’s poorest areas to Western Europe, Australia, Israel, Japan, U.S.A., Arab Gulf and other countries. This contemporary slave trade generates billions of dollars every year (A World to Win News Service, 2005).
There are mainly five types of CSEC, including child prostitution, child sex tourism, early marriage, child pornography and trafficking in children (ECPAT, 2004):
1) Child Prostitution: The use of a child in sexual activities for remuneration or any other form of consideration, as stated by Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
2) Child Sex Tourism: The commercial sexual exploitation of children by persons who travel from their own country to another usually less developed country to engage in sexual acts with children.
3) Early Marriage: The marriage of the children and adolescents below the age of 18 years. There are some common examples of early age marriage, such as: forced marriages, temporary marriage, false marriage and marriage with the Hindu deity.
4) Child Pornography: Any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes, as stated by Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
5) Trafficking in Children: Trafficking consists of all acts involved in the recruitment or transportation of persons within or across borders, involving deception, coercion or force, debt bondage or fraud, for the purpose of placing persons in situations of abuse or exploitation, such as forced prostitution, slavery-like practices, battering or extreme
cruelty, sweatshop labour or exploitative domestic services.
© Zahid Shahab Ahmed (Pakistan)