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Human Trafficking
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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                          

Kingdom of Belgium

With few natural resources, Belgium must import substantial quantities of raw materials and export a large volume of manufactures, making its economy unusually dependent on the state of world markets.

On the positive side, the government succeeded in balancing its budget during the 2000-2008 period, and income distribution is relatively equal.

In 2009 Belgium is likely to have negative growth, growing unemployment, and a 3% budget deficit, stemming from the worldwide banking crisis.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Belgium.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


Squalid road that leads to Belgium - Children are being lured from poverty to horror in the heart of Europe

Andrew Osborne in Brussels, The Observer, 24 June 2001

[accessed 22 January 2011]

Children are being lured from poverty to horror in the heart of Europe. - It may be the spiritual capital of the grand European project but, according to a damning new report, Brussels has also become the European center for the trade in child prostitutes, who are being smuggled into Belgium to feed a growing demand.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Runaways - Where To Turn For Help Before You Are Homeless

[accessed 5 April 2011]

Here are the best phone numbers to call …They are Confidential - which means they won't tell anyone about your call unless you want them to talk to somebody for you, or you are in danger.  They are open 24 Hours - it doesn't matter what time you call  In Belgium, call 078/15 14 13

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Elphie Galland, Sarah Haider, Camille Pesquer and François-Xavier Souchet, ECPAT International, 2016

[accessed 26 August 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Belgium. The report looks at protection mechanisms, responses, preventive measures, child and youth participation in fighting SEC, and makes recommendations for action against SEC.

Human Rights Reports » 2019 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 10, 2020

[accessed 23 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law prohibits sexual exploitation, abduction, and trafficking of children and includes severe penalties for child pornography and possession of pedophilic materials. Authorities enforced the law. The penalties for producing and disseminating child pornography range up to 15 years’ imprisonment and up to one year in prison for possessing such material. Local girls and foreign children were subjected to sex trafficking within the country.

The minimum age for consensual sex is 16. Statutory rape carries penalties of imprisonment for up 30 years.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 7 June 2002

[accessed 22 January 2011]

[27] The Committee reiterates its satisfaction for the numerous measures taken by the State party to combat the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children. It is nevertheless concerned that trafficking for the purposes of sexual or other exploitation is still a problem.

RIGHTS OF THE CHILD - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Ms. Ofelia Calcetas-Santos

U.N. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-sixth session, 22 December 1999

[accessed 5 April 2011]

32. In a highly developed country such as Belgium, in which just 6 per cent of the population is living in poverty, entry into prostitution cannot be imputed to economic necessity. For those who become involved with some degree of Avoluntariness@, the causes are the same as those found throughout Europe and in other developed countries.

33. These causes include suffering violence and sexual abuse, or emotional neglect and indifference, in the home from a young age. The Special Rapporteur even received reports of children having been given by their parents to other members of the family or friends for the purpose of sexual abuse.

34. It is particularly difficult to assess the extent of child prostitution involving young children. Much of this type of abuse is hidden, taking place behind closed doors while the child is still living with his or her family, and most children feel too much guilt and shame to try to seek help.

35. Many children who suffer such abuse in the home run away around the age of 12 or 13. They often enter prostitution shortly afterwards in order to make some money while living on the streets, and often to recreate the abuse that they have suffered throughout their lives, in circumstances in which they have control over it.

36. Older children and teenagers are more likely to admit their involvement in prostitution. The majority of those being assisted by non-governmental organizations are aged between 15 and 18.

37. Despite the very different circumstances that lead these children, Belgian, immigrant or refugee, to live and work on the streets, many aspects of their future will be similar. Up to 70 per cent of them become addicted to cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, speed, or a mixture of these, and some become drug dealers to support their addiction. Other addictions include gambling, with estimates suggesting that up to 80 per cent of the children=s earnings are spent in gambling halls. A large number of such halls appeared in Brussels in 1995, and have now replaced video parks as the main places for street children to hang out.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action [DOC]

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – BELGIUM – The government has several initiatives to eradicate CSEC. It has an Inter-Ministerial Conference for the protection of children’s rights. Furthermore, Senate and Parliamentary committees are looking at various aspects of CSEC and a Senate subcommittee on the “Rights of the Child” has been set up. Belgium has also created constitutional protection for the integrity of children.

Sex Trafficking In Belgium, April 2003

[accessed 22 January 2011]

The trafficking of adults and minors for sexual exploitation has been of growing concern to Belgium for the past decade and has become a priority for the police and the judiciary alike.

WHY BELGIUM? - “Most of those destined for prostitution are young women between the ages of 21 and 30 and teenage girls under the age of 18.”

Child-sex trial shocks Belgium

BBC News, 31 January, 2002

[accessed 5 April 2011]

A man accused of raping his three daughters and turning one of them into a prostitute has gone on trial in the southern Belgian town of Neufchateau.  Sixteen other men and two women are also charged either with helping to run the prostitution ring, or being among its clients.

The Protection Project - Belgium [DOC]

The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), The Johns Hopkins University

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Women and children are trafficked to Belgium primarily for sexual exploitation. Trafficking for other forms of forced labor also exists. Victims of trafficking in Belgium are promised jobs in the catering and hotel industry or jobs as au pairs, dancers, or in prostitution. Some victims are promised marriage or the opportunity to study in Belgium Nigerian men, Chinese men and women, and Ecuadorian men and women are trafficked to Belgium for various forms of forced labor or economic exploitation.

Belgian and foreign children are sexually exploited in Belgium.  Foreign minors are exploited in sweatshops, Turkish bakeries, and Moroccan shops. They are also used as domestic servants in diplomats’ homes. Sports agents exploit young soccer players from Africa and South America.  Reportedly, gangs organize begging rings involving minors or people with disabilities. Such gangs operate in large cities and involve mostly adults or children from Romania.

Amnesty International Report 2004 - Belgium

Amnesty International, 26 May 2004,,AMNESTY,ANNUALREPORT,BEL,,40b5a1ed10,0.html

[accessed 5 April 2011]

[accessed 30 October 2016]

Measures undertaken to combat human trafficking appeared insufficient in view of reports of a continuing increase in trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation.

Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes

ECPAT International Newsletters, Issue 33, 1/December/2000

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 13 September 2011]

EASTERN EUROPE - Hungary and Poland are receiver, sender and transit countries for the trafficking of children for sexual purposes. Romania is a sender and receiver country but Bulgaria is only a sender country. Hungary and Poland receive children from Romania, Ukraine and Russia. The main destinations for children trafficked from and through Poland are Germany, The Netherlands and Belgium. Many of the victims are boys. Furthermore, in Poland students voluntarily prostitute themselves in Germany over the weekends in order to earn money.

The Dutroux Multiple Kidnapping, Abuse and Murder Case

B.A. Robinson, Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance, 4 February 2001

[accessed 23 August 2011]

One of the most shocking stories of the 1990's surfaced in Charleroi, Belgium. In 1996-AUG, Marc Dutroux confessed to abducting young girls. Newspaper reports allege that he ran a business in which girls were kidnapped, that the girls were confined in cells in the basement of one of his houses, that he sold each for tens of thousands of dollars, and that he transported them out of the country for a life of child prostitution.




Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 7 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Although child prostitution was not widespread, it was a problem. As a result of the government's 2004 campaign to prevent child prostitution, the public appeared more aware of the problem, and increased reporting was evident.

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