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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Burundi

Burundi is a landlocked, resource-poor country with an underdeveloped manufacturing sector. The economy is predominantly agricultural with more than 90% of the population dependent on subsistence agriculture.

An ethnic-based war that lasted for over a decade resulted in more than 200,000 deaths, forced more than 48,000 refugees into Tanzania, and displaced 140,000 others internally. Only one in two children go to school, and approximately one in 15 adults has HIV/AIDS. Food, medicine, and electricity remain in short supply.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Burundi

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


Gender Profile of the Conflict in Burundi [PDF]

UN Development Fund for Women UNIFEM

[accessed 12 Aug  2013]



The Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Burundi reported in 2001 that child prostitution was reaching "disquieting proportions." Causes for child prostitution are often war-related, such as the destruction of traditional community support structures, increased numbers of orphans due to combat, HIV and abandonment and the inaccessibility of other means of financial sustenance.


*** ARCHIVES ***

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 minimum age for consensual sex is 18. The penalty for conviction of commercial sexual exploitation of children is 10 to 15 years in prison and a fine of between 500,000 and two million Burundian francs ($270 and $1,080). The penalties for conviction of child pornography are fines and three to five years in prison. There were no prosecutions during the year.

Women and girls were smuggled to other countries in Africa and the Middle East, sometimes using falsified documents, putting them at high risk of exploitation.

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 278]

Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, with more than 90 percent of its citizens engaged in subsistence agriculture, and approximately 80 percent of the workforce employed in the informal economy. (2,16,17) Burundian children are trafficked within the country, often from rural areas, for domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation. (6,15,16) Women who offer room and board to children sometimes force the children into commercial sexual exploitation to pay expenses. (15,18) Burundian girls are also trafficked internationally for commercial sexual exploitation in Kenya, the Middle East, Rwanda, and Uganda. (11,15,19)

UNICEF - Burundi

[accessed 13 April 2011]

BACKGROUND - Rape, child prostitution and exploitative child labor remain all too common. An estimated 7,000 children have been used as soldiers.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 6 October 2000

[accessed 25 January 2011]

[75] The Committee is concerned that children have been the victims of sexual exploitation, sometimes by those persons who are responsible for their care.

[76] The Committee recommends that the State party make every effort to end and prevent the sexual exploitation or abuse of children, giving particular attention to children living in camps.

The Protection Project - Burundi [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Women and girls are trafficked to European cities and to South Africa for prostitution. The number of children trafficked from Burundi to the United Kingdom has increased in recent years. Parents often pay significant sums to send their children to the United Kingdom, believing that their children will have a better life there. On arriving, however, girls from African countries are threatened with voodoo curses to make them think that if they tell anyone about the traffickers, they and their families will die. They are told that the only way to remove the curse is to repay the money they owe to the traffickers, which is usually about UKŁ25,000.

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 – BURUNDI – CSEC in Burundi is an emerging problem. Victims of CSE are also victims of discrimination as their risk for being sexually exploited varies in relation to their gender and ethnicity. The exposure of children to CSE has been exacerbated by the war, which has displaced people and split families. Victims include children from broken families, street children, and children living in camps. In June, a criminal network engaged in sexually exploiting children was discovered. According to the report, the network rented a house in which they were using schoolgirls under the age of 15 years for pornography and prostitution. Four members of the network have been imprisoned.

Analysis of the Situation of Sexual Exploitation of Children, East & South Africa Region

UNICEF: Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children - DRAFT Consultancy Report Prepared as a component of the UNICEF – ESARO  & ANPPCAN Partnership Project on Sexual Exploitation and Children’s Rights, October, 2001, Nairobi, Kenya

[accessed 13 April 2011]

3.1 MAGNITUDE AND LINK BETWEEN HIV/AIDS AND CSEC - MAGNITUDE OF THE PROBLEM – There is little quantifiable data on CSEC in the region. However, there is an overwhelming amount of evidence that sexual exploitation and abuse (including commercial sexual exploitation of children) is a massive problem. Indeed, there is a clear indication that sexual abuse and exploitation of children within the home, school and workplace is widespread in the region. Such children are more likely to end up in commercial sex work (Kaponda, 2000).

In Burundi, the government admits that as a result of poverty, children frequently abandon their families at an early age to look for a job, which may be in prostitution.

Watchlist Country Report on Burundi

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict

[accessed 12 September 2012]

EDUCATION - In interviews with the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children in 2000, Burundian women expressed concern about children and adolescents’ lack of access to school. They reiterated the needs to raise levels of school attendance and literacy, and again offer children and adolescents alternatives to violence and prostitution. Since 2000, the access to education has further deteriorated due to insecurity. Unconfirmed reports indicate that state funding for educational and other social programs is unevenly allocated around the country in favor of the Tutsi population, thereby limiting access to secondary school and university and professional opportunities for certain groups.

Human Rights Overview – Burundi

Human Rights Watch, World Report 2005, Jan 12, 2005

[accessed 13 April 2011]

JUSTICE - Despite frequent calls for justice, both national and international actors appear driven more by expediency than real concern for accountability. The late 2003 agreement between the government and the FDD, generally supported by the international community, granted “provisional immunity” to all combatants and leaders of both forces, meaning that justice for their crimes would be at least postponed and probably never delivered.




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]

WOMEN - The law prohibits prostitution; however, it was a problem. There were reports that soldiers and rebels sexually exploited women and young girls residing near military installations and rebel camps.

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 25 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 - Child prostitution is also a problem. There are reports that child trafficking occurs both within Burundi and across borders.  CHILD LABOR LAW AND ENFORCEMENT - The Penal Code prohibits prostitution. An individual who entices or forces a person under the age of 21 into prostitution faces a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 francs (USD 9.30 to 93.04) and a prison sentence of up to 15 years. The law does not specifically prohibit trafficking.

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