Rose is one of a dozen teenage girls, scrawny and bruised, huddle d here around the glow of a candle in a generator room off Center Street. About a hundred of them take turns sleeping on a single dingy mattress during the day before heading to the streets to work at night.
Beaten and robbed by their customers, they are forced to have sex with more men and boys to make enough money to survive. In Liberia, still recovering eight years after the end of 14 years of civil war, children are driven to prostitution because of poverty. While difficult to quantify, observers say they are seeing greater numbers of ever-younger girls crowding street corners to sell sex.
Child prostitution usually manifests in the form of sex trafficking, in which a child is kidnapped or tricked into becoming involved in the sex trade, or survival sex, in which the child engages in sexual activities to procure basic essentials such as food and shelter. Prostitution of children is commonly associated with child pornography, and they often overlap. Some people travel to foreign countries to engage in child sex tourism. Research suggests that there may be as many as 10 million children involved in prostitution worldwide. The practice is most widespread in South America and Asia, but prostitution of children exists globally, in undeveloped countries as well as developed. Most of the children involved with prostitution are girls, despite an increase in the number of young boys in the trade.
Some victims are runaways from home or State institutions, others are sold by their parents or forced or tricked into prostitution, and others are street children. Some are amateurs and others professionals. Although one tends to think first and foremost of young girls in the trade, there is an increase in the number of young boys involved in prostitution. The most disquieting cases are those children who are forced into the trade and then incarcerated. These children run the possible further risk of torture and subsequent death.
Research indicates that traffickers have a preference for females age 12 and under because young children are more easily molded into the role assigned to them and because they are assumed to be virgins, which is valuable to consumers. The girls are then made to appear older, and documents are forged as protection against law enforcement. Victims tend to share similar backgrounds, often coming from communities with high crime rates and lack of access to education. However, victimology is not limited to this, and males and females coming from various backgrounds have become involved in sex trafficking.
Prostitution of children in the form of survival sex occurs in both undeveloped and developed countries. In Asia, underage girls sometimes work in brothels to support their families. In Sri Lanka, parents will more often have their sons prostitute themselves rather than their daughters, as the society places more weight on sexual purity among females than males. Jaffe and Rosen write that prostitution of children in North America often results from "economic considerations, domestic violence and abuse, family disintegration and drug addiction". In Canada, a young man was convicted of charges relating to the prostitution of a 15-year-old girl online in 2012; he had encouraged her to prostitute herself as a means of making money, kept all of her earnings, and threatened her with violence if she did not continue.
Criminologist Ronald Flowers writes that prostitution of children and child pornography are closely linked; up to one in three prostituted children have been involved in pornography, often through films or literature. Runaway teenagers, he states, are frequently used for "porn flicks" and photographs. In addition to pornography, Flowers writes that, "Children caught up in this dual world of sexual exploitation are often victims of sexual assaults, sexual perversions, sexually transmitted diseases, and inescapable memories of sexual misuse and bodies that have been compromised, brutalized, and left forever tarnished."
There is a dispute surrounding what constitutes a prostituted child. International law defines a child as any individual below the age of 18, but a number of countries legally recognize lower ages of consent and adulthood, usually ranging from 13 to 17 years of age. In the Czech Republic, for example, prostitution is legal for children older than 14. Thus, law enforcement officers are sometimes hesitant to investigate cases because of the differences in age of consent. The laws of some countries do, however, distinguish between prostituted teenagers and prostituted children. For example, the Japanese government defines the category as referring to minors between 13 and 18. However, it is currently defined as being under the age of 18.
If the victim expressed interest (and many did, being young and easily flattered by the attention), Strom or one of his associates would ask for her cell phone number to contact her offline and make plans to meet.
The same way thousands of teenage girls and young women have over the years, authorities say: through coercion, force and fraud, often at the hands of San Diego County gang members looking to build their status and get rich off selling others again and again for sex.
The teen told police that Brown eventually got her out on El Cajon Boulevard in an area known for prostitution. She gave all her proceeds to Brown, she said, and also cashed her college savings bonds for him.
Before the Vegas trip, she told her mom she wanted to go to Magic Mountain with her high school friends for a few days. Her mother said no. The teen left anyway, ending up instead with Brown dropping her off on the Strip, which was buzzing due to an Evander Holyfield heavyweight championship fight.
Both boys as well as girls are driven to prostitution. For example, in Pakistan, more than 95% of truckers engage in sexual activities with young boys. This practice is justified by the face that these drivers live, on average, more than 21 days away from home and see these activities as the principal distraction during their off time.
Moreover, in certain cultures, myths and prejudices often justify the search for sexual relations with children. In Asia for example, some men are persuaded that the fact of having sexual relations with very young virgin girls prevents them from contracting HIV/AIDS, as well as curing this illness. Most men believe also that having sexual relations with a virgin increases their virility, as well as bringing longevity and success in business.
In Kenya, for example, a sexual encounter with a young girl under the age of 16 can cost around twenty euros. But the price can reach sixty euros depending on the situation. In comparison, the average Kenyan only earns four euros a day.
You might not even notice the Manara nightclub if it weren't for the gradual flow of cars leading right to it. Just behind the Mosque of President Hafez Assad, the club's parking lot is crammed with cars, many bearing plates from neighboring gulf states. Inside, disco lights pierce the smoky air. Patrons pack the seats as they sip beer and lazily gaze at the dance floor. They watch teenage girls dressed in snug, revealing clothes awkwardly shuffling to thumping Arabic music. Many girls wear stilettos so steep they can barely walk. Some dance in pairs, often tightly pressed together, fingers entwined. Most seem bored and some, noticeably, are uneasy.
The story of a Sunni girl from Fallujah selling herself in a Damascus nightclub represents startling new fallout from the Iraq war, one human rights organizations and experts are only beginning to address. An increasing number of young Iraqi women and girls who fled Iraq during the turmoil are turning to prostitution in Syria, although there are no reliable statistics on how many girls are involved. That might partly explain why so little reporting has been done on the topic. For journalists and human rights workers, securing contact with Iraqi sex workers in Syria is difficult and dangerous because the topic is taboo.
"It's a serious problem because there are young girls doing this -- 11, 12, 13 years old," says Abdelhamid El Ouali, the representative for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees who's based in Damascus. "It's amazing at first. But when you fight for your life, what are you going to do?"
Koumay Mulhem, a young Syrian journalist, has been researching Iraqi prostitution in Syria for a year as a reporter for an online women's magazine, and is preparing to make a documentary about it. Mulhem serves as my tour guide of sorts one recent Friday night as I try to get a sense of how widespread Iraqi prostitution is here.
But the emergence of Iraqi prostitution in Syria, especially among young girls, reflects the dire conditions of the local Iraqi refugee community. One U.N. official, who asked to remain anonymous, admits that the "conspiracy of silence" surrounding prostitution underscores the international community's larger failure to recognize the dire conditions of Iraqi refugees and provide them with a safe haven.
An estimated 200,000 youths run away from home each year, according to the report released by the municipal government in late September, citing South Korean police. A survey of 175 female teen runaways by the municipal government found half had been led into the sex industry.
The United Voice for Eradication of Prostitution is a non-governmental organisation that counsels teenage prostitutes, educates them on the pitfalls of selling sex, and administers rehabilitation programmes.
She cited the case of an 18-year-old runaway prostitute she had counselled. Three weeks after becoming romantically involved with a young man and moving in with him, he and seven friends gang-raped her.
Fast forward eight years and Aroma looks back at the episode with crushing regret. But she is determined to weaponize the ensuing trauma to help stop others from becoming, like her, one of the hundreds of young Japanese women coerced into pornography by tricksters masquerading as legitimate modeling agents. 781b155fdc