Child Prostitution Carries Far-Reaching Effects for Victims

Posted by on Sep 28, 2011 in Everything Else | 0 comments

This is a guest post by Allison Gamble. She has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of internet marketing.

anon. photography; Child Prostitute; Silverpri...

anon. photography; Child Prostitute; Silverprint 8 1/2″ x 6″; year 1871; inscription at the back: Mary Simpson a common prostitute age 10 or 11 year. She has been known as Mrs. Berry for at least two years. She is four month with child. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The global problem of sexual exploitation of children stems from multiple causes and generates numerous subsidiary issues. Two major aspects of the problem are the psychological effects on victims and the reasons why some adults engage in sex with children. Forensic psychology may shed some light on those motivations, but whatever the circumstances, the experience of prostitution is so devastating to children that the consequences will likely haunt them throughout life.

According Drs. David Finkelhor and Angela Browne, the impact of sexual exploitation on a child is far more dramatic than other childhood trauma:

The model proposed here postulates that the experience of sexual abuse can be analyzed in terms of four trauma-causing factors, or what we will call traumagenic dynamics ─ traumatic sexualization, betrayal, powerlessness, and stigmatization. These traumagenic dynamics are generalized dynamics, not necessarily unique to sexual abuse; they occur in other kinds of trauma. But the conjunction of these four dynamics in one set of circumstances is what makes the trauma of sexual abuse unique, different from such childhood traumas as the divorce of a child’s parents or even being the victim of physical child abuse.

It is the coming together of these four factors that creates the devastation unique to child prostitution. A report to the UN General Assembly on defense of children”s rights states victims of child prostitution:

●      Are often seriously depressed;

●      Sometimes become suicidal;

●      Have extremely low self-esteem;

●      Have distorted ideas about sex;

●      Carry a great sense of loss and sacrifice;

●      May dissociate or fantasize excessively;

●      Become utterly dependent on their abusers;

●      Carry profound guilt;

●      Are unable to trust anyone;

●      Develop many phobias, fear of returning home, of adults, of sex and violence, and of ostracism;

●      Often become impaired learners;

●      Exhibit online pokies behavioral problems such as excessive aggression or attention-seeking
.

The report also touches on why people pursue sexual encounters with children. The primary reasons discussed are pedophilia and response to distorted social norms and ideas.


 Pedophiles have a specific personality disorder that causes them to seek sex with pre-pubescent children. They are notoriously difficult to treat, and often re-offend once released.

Non-pedophiles may pursue sex with children as a novelty, or following perceived or actually relaxed social norms. Some people take advantage of child prostitutes when far away from home, with the attitude that what they do on the other side of the world is unrelated to their regular lives. Soldiers and tourists may fall into this category. Others use child prostitutes because they believe sex with a virgin will increase their masculinity, or even that it”ll prevent or cure AIDS.

Child trafficking is especially common in Brazil, considered a Tier 2 country for trafficking by the U.S. State Department. A Tier 2 ranking implies that the country is trying to fix the problem, but not entirely succeeding. Brazil’s tourism largely depends on the stereotypical party atmosphere of Rio and Carnival, and without tourism, the Brazilian economy would be shaken. Large-scale corruption within law enforcement in Brazil allows for the perpetuation of child prostitution, as officers of the law are frequently patrons of the child sex industry.

In order to make Brazil a safer place for children, drastic steps need to be taken to eliminate the role of the child sex industry and human trafficking within the Brazilian economy. If the economy was not dependent on trafficking as a source of income, the government would be able to better find and prosecute those who perpetrate the crimes. Furthermore, services to help rehabilitate the victims of trafficking need to be enacted in order to prevent a movement back into prostitution.

Child trafficking may not be considered a common problem, but it”s more widespread than most Americans realize, and continues to be a growing phenomenon worldwide. The devastating consequences to the victims last a lifetime, and the costs in terms of both personal loss and damage to society continue to mount. It”s up to concerned citizens and their governments to bring this ongoing tragedy to light and protect potential victims. Only with concerted effort, education, and public concern can the market for child prostitution be finally closed.

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