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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Burkina Faso

One of the poorest countries in the world, landlocked Burkina Faso has few natural resources and a weak industrial base. About 90% of the population is engaged in subsistence agriculture, which is vulnerable to periodic drought. Cotton is the main cash crop.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: BurkinaFaso

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Burkina Faso.  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.


Child slavery in Burkina Faso, including boy domestic slaves; protection from the authorities and NGOs; possibility of emancipation, particularly when a young boy given to a family as a payment of a debt reaches the age of majority (2004-2006)

Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Symbol: BFA101075.FE, Publication Date: 20 February 2006,,IRBC,,BFA,456d621e2,45f146f3b,0.html

[accessed 24 January 2011]

[accessed 1 November 2016]

RESPONSES TO INFORMATION REQUESTS (RIRs) - Many sources indicated that child forced labour is still a problem in Burkina Faso (Country Reports 2004 28 Feb. 2005, intro. and Sec. 5; AFP 5 Jan. 2006). Country Reports 2004 reported that "security forces . . . intercepted 644 trafficked children in 2003," and that "trafficked children were subject to violence, sexual abuse, forced prostitution, and deprivation of food, shelter, schooling, and medical care" (28 Feb. 2005, Sec. 5).

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Burkinabe children are trafficked to Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Nigeria; "most are destined for domestic work but others are bought for sex or to work in shops or on farms" (United Nations 5 Apr. 2004). Another source indicated that child slaves in Burkina Faso work on cocoa and cotton plantations or as "servants, market traders, child beggars and prostitutes" (AFP 5 Jan. 2006)


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

François Anne-Laure, en collaboration avec Touré Mamadou et Dah Monique, ECPAT International, 2016

[accessed 26 August 2020]


Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Burkina Faso. 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 provides penalties for conviction of “child prostitution” or child pornography of five to 10 years’ imprisonment, a fine of 1.5 to three million CFA francs ($2,500 to $5,000), or both. The minimum age of consensual sex is 15. A 2014 law criminalizes the sale of children, child commercial sexual exploitation, and child pornography. Children from poor families were particularly vulnerable to sex trafficking. The government did not report any convictions for violations of the law during the year. The penal code prescribes penalties of 11 to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of two million to 10 million CFA ($3,400 to $17,000) francs for sex trafficking involving a victim 15 years or younger. It also prescribes five to 10 years’ imprisonment and fines of one million and five million CFA francs ($1,700 and $8,500) for sex trafficking involving a victim older than age 15.

2018 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor

Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, US Dept of Labor, 2019

[accessed 22 August 2020]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

[page 257]

Table 5.  Agencies Responsible for Child Labor Law Enforcement - Ministry of Justice - Appoints one or more judges who specialize in child protection issues to each high court to oversee juvenile court cases. Collaborates with MFSNF social workers in charge of child protection to conduct investigations on behalf of vulnerable children, including victims of child trafficking, commercial sexual exploitation, exploitative child labor, and begging.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) - 2002

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 October 2002

[accessed 24 January 2011]

[58] The Committee is concerned about the increasing number of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and pornography. Concern is also expressed at the insufficient programs for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims of such abuse and exploitation.

The Protection Project - Burkina Faso [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Burkina Faso has been labeled “a theatre of child labor.”  Children from other African countries are trafficked to Burkina Faso for prostitution, as domestic workers or street vendors, and for agricultural work, particularly in banana and coffee plantations.  Minors from Burkina Faso are trafficked to Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria to work on cocoa farms.

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 – BURKINA FASO – There is no plan of action on CSEC in Burkina Faso. However, UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Action is in the process of carrying out a study on CSEC. It will be completed by the end of August 2001, after which time activities on the development of a national plan will begin. It is hoped that a plan will be in place in time for the Second World Congress.

Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

U.N. Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Fifty ninth session, 6 January 2003$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 11 April 2011]

[31] Sale of children is not specifically criminalized, but is repressed through other legal means including the criminalization of child labor and the removal or illegal transport of children.  Males or females in prostitution may receive prison sentences of 15 days to 2 months and a fine.  As a preventive measure, legislation prohibits the presence of minors in certain places, such as bars, nightclubs and cinemas. In 2001, investigations were carried out into 90 cases of sexual abuse and 23 cases of commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Women’s Anti-Discrimination Committee Takes Up Report Of Burkina Faso

U.N. Committee on Elimination of  Discrimination against Women, 695th & 696th Meetings (AM & PM), Press Release WOM/1516, 14/7/2005

[accessed 12 April 2011]

COUNTRY RESPONSE - Regarding awareness of the Convention, a representative said the country had popularized it, distributed it throughout governmental structures, and was working on translating it.  A monitoring process had been established, and efforts made to ensure that the Convention was understood. As for trafficking, she knew of no child prostitution in the country.  Burkina Faso had ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which addressed child labor, and was also a State party to the Convention on the Rights of Women in Africa.

Identifying Gaps in Protection Capacity Burkina Faso [PDF]

David McKeever, Consultant, UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR Strengthening Protection Capacity Project, July 2005

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

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[120] Particularly in the case of single-parent families, refugee women and girls are often exposed to the risk of exploitation and/or prostitution. When looking for work, and even when they manage to find paid employment, refugee women are exposed to the risk of sexual exploitation and harassment. Those who do not find work are sometimes forced into prostitution.

ECPAT: Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes

ECPAT International Newsletter, Issue No : 33  1/December/2000

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

[accessed 13 September 2011]

WEST AFRICA - Children are sent from Benin and Burkina Faso to Nigeria where they are forced to work as domestics. Some are exposed to sexual abuse and some find themselves in the commercial sex industry.




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]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - Trafficked children were subject to violence, sexual abuse, forced prostitution, and deprivation of food, shelter, schooling, and medical care. Organized child trafficking networks existed throughout the country, and during the year security forces dismantled four such networks. Child trafficking networks cooperated with regional smuggling rings.

According to the 2004-05 report by the Protection of Infants and Adolescents office, security forces intercepted 921 trafficked children, more than half of whom were girls; 158 were destined for international trafficking.

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 24 January 2011]

Note:: Also check out this country’s report in the more recent edition DOL Worst Forms of Child Labor

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Burkina Faso is a source, transit, and destination country for trafficked children. Studies indicate that a significant proportion of trafficking activity is internal. Children are trafficked into Burkina Faso’s two largest cities, Bobo-Dioulasso and Ouagadougou, to work as domestic servants, street vendors, in agriculture, and in prostitution.

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