The commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Latin America
Developments, Progress, Challenges, and Recommended Strategies for Civil Society
Although the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) has gained increased visibility in recent years, children and youth are more at risk than ever of being sexually exploited; the Latin America Region is no exception. This Overview includes information and analysis on CSEC in Spanish-speaking countries in South and Central America and the Dominican Republic. Despite overall economic progress in the region, persistent social problems − unequal income distribution, heavy dependence on the informal sector, political instability and high prevalence of crime and violence − impact negatively on development. Large numbers of children are living in poverty. Indigenous and Afro-Latin minorities and women experience especially high incidence of poverty, as well as discrimination and, in the case of women, violence. Other underlying factors contributing to the growth of CSEC in the Region include high levels of youth migration to urban areas; the presence of gangs and organised criminal networks involved in all forms of trafficking; and traditional cultural norms and practices that tolerate violence against women and children, as well as prostitution. Estimates indicate that 2 million children are victims of CSEC in the region.