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South African Child Sex Industry Growing Rapidly

December 7, 2000 · 


Cape Town, South Africa – Child sex was a lucrative market in Gauteng and the Western Cape, with children as young as four-years-old being sold into the international racket, Molo Songololo, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) said.

The research report was undertaken by the Cape Town-based NGO dealing with children’s issues, and is endorsed by the Office of the Rights of the Child, which is based in the Office of the President.

The report, the first of its kind in South Africa, focuses on in-country trafficking of girl-children, and cross border trafficking of girl and boy children.

The report also provides information on trafficking routes, the traffickers, trafficking operations and the conditions in which children are held captive.

It indicates the involvement of gangs, transnational criminal syndicates and individuals.

The report says children are abducted from city centres by gangs or debt- bonded by their parents.

Nigerian criminals operating in South Africa were identified as serious offenders.

The report said the child sex industry is one of the fastest and most lucrative criminal enterprises in the world, with estimated profits of about 12 billion dollars.

The report, which took five months to compile, interviewed 20 girls and conducted research in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape,
Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

The organisation said there were no accurate figures for child prostitution in South Africa, but that in 1998, one quarter of the prostitutes arrested in Cape Town were under the age of 18.

“The children’s desire for rescue and safety comes across clearly as a challenge to a system and society that currently provides little intervention or response to such children,” the organisation said in a statement.


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