Torture in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                

Republic of Bolivia

Bolivia is one of the poorest and least developed countries in Latin America. Following a disastrous economic crisis during the early 1980s, reforms spurred private investment, stimulated economic growth, and cut poverty rates in the 1990s. The period 2003-05 was characterized by political instability, racial tensions, and violent protests against plans - subsequently abandoned - to export Bolivia's newly discovered natural gas reserves to large northern hemisphere markets.  [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 Bolivia.  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.


The Protection Project - Bolivia [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 from Bolivia for the purposes of forced prostitution and forced labor. Trafficking is believed to exist for the purpose of organ sales and illegal adoption as well.

In July 2000, Bolivian nationals trafficked 24 Bolivian girls to Argentina for the purpose of prostitution. The recruiter (the mother of the brothel owner) recruited children from outdoor markets in the rural areas of Bolivia. She told them and their parents that the girls could work as criaditas, or little maids, in Argentina. The parents authorized the children to leave under the pretense that they were going on vacation, so that they could get tourist visas. Tickets and visas were purchased through a travel agency. The recruiter; the brothel owner’s husband, who had transported the children; the owner of the travel agency; and the brothel owner were charged with forcing minors into prostitution.


*** ARCHIVES ***

Working wonders for kids

Cristina Uzal, United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF

[accessed 6 April 2011]

On average, Maria sees about 20 cases a day with problems ranging from child abuse, paternal or maternal neglect, family assistance claims and numerous cases of exploitation and child prostitution.

The Department of Labor’s 2004 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2005

[accessed 23 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Some children are known to work as indentured domestic laborers and prostitutes. Children are reportedly trafficked internally to urban or border areas for commercial sexual exploitation. It is also reported that children and adolescents are trafficked internally within Bolivia and to Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Spain for the purpose of forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation.  Women and adolescents from the indigenous areas of the high plains are at the greatest risk of being trafficked.

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 23 January 2011]

CHILDREN - Child prostitution was a problem, particularly in urban areas and in the Chapare region. There were reports of children trafficked for forced labor to neighboring countries.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 28 January 2005

[accessed 23 January 2011]

[63] The Committee is concerned about the extent of sexual exploitation and trafficking of children for this or other purposes, in particular economic exploitation, in the State party and about the lack of effective programs to address this problem.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights

Action Canada for Population and Development ACPD in partnership with the International Programme on Reproductive and Sexual Health Law at the University of Toronto, "3rd edition of The Application of Human Rights To Reproductive & Sexual Health: A Compilation of the Work of International Human Rights Treaty Bodies", August 2005 -- ISBN: 0-9689549-4-4

[accessed 6 April 2011]

BOLIVIA (2001)

[42] The Committee urges the State party to address the problems and shortcomings facing children and affecting their welfare, beginning with the varied types of child exploitation such as the trafficking of children, their sexual exploitation and domestic maltreatment.

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 – BOLIVIA – Attempts to coordinate efforts to address CSEC in Bolivia were initiated with the establishment of the Committee for the Fight against Sexual Violence against Children and Adolescents (Comité de Lucha contra la Violencia Sexual en Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes) in December 2000. The Committee known as “COLCOVIS” includes government departments, international organizations and NGOs. The Congregation of the Sisters of the Adoration (Congregación de las Hermanas Adoratrices) is carrying out work in the areas of prevention, rehabilitation and reintegration. The Sisters run three homes in the cities of Sucre, Santa Cruz and La Paz. They are also running training workshops in the Ciudad del Alto, Zona Rosas Pampa for children who have been involved in prostitution.

Rights of the Child in Bolivia  - Report on the Implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child [DOC]

Nathalie Perroud for the Committee on the Rights of the Child, 38th session, Geneva, January 2005

[accessed 6 April 2011]

In Bolivia, the average age of entry into prostitution is 16. Most of the prostituted youth are between 17 and 20. Young children tend to enter prostitution because of experiences of abuse or violence; older children are forced to prostitute themselves because of economic pressures. Most prostituted children come from the lower social classes and from broken families. Only 12.6% of prostituted children have any education, leaving them with few opportunities should they try to leave and perpetuating low self-esteem. As a result, many remain in the sex trade despite wanting to exit. Approximately one third of girls and adolescents in prostitution have between one and five children, mostly under the age of 5.

FIU Student Fights Child Prostitution in Bolivia

Florida Department of Education, "Success Stories"

[accessed 30 December 2014]

"I've always been interested in social issues, and this was one that needed to be addressed. Through my research and personal inspection I found girls as young as six living in brothels under abusive conditions," she said.  Not content to merely study the matter and write reports, Vaughan used her contacts at the American embassy to help secure $150,000 in funding to help rescue as many as 150 girls.

Few Union Rights, Widespread Child Labor And Extreme Poverty In Bolivia

Workers Revolutionary Party, 4 November 2005

[accessed 6 April 2011]

Child prostitution remains a problem, with related law being poorly enforced and police raids ineffective and easily avoided.

Internationally-Recognized Core Labour standards in Bolivia

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions ICFTU, Geneva, 2 - 4 November 2005

Report for the WTO General Council Review of the Trade Policies of Boliiva

[accessed 12 Aug  2013]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The Ministry of Labour does not enforce child labour provisions. Minimal governmental resources are devoted to investigating child labour cases. As a result, UNICEF reports that the worst forms of child labour - such as mining, sugar cane harvesting and sexual exploitation – persist in the country. Child prostitution remains a problem, with related law being poorly enforced and police raids ineffective and easily avoided.

Code for Children and Adolescents CCA

United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF

[accessed 12 Aug  2013]

Since the approval of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by the U.N. General Assembly, in November of 1989, and the promulgation of a new Code for Children and Adolescents (CCA) in Bolivia, on October 27, 1999, the country has come a long way towards fighting to defend the rights of children and adolescents.

Regional Governmental Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children  [PDF]

Mary Del Carmen Arias Paz, Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Bolivia

[accessed 19 November 2016]

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution - Bolivia",, [accessed <date>]


Torture in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Bolivia]  [other countries]