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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Cameroon

Because of its modest oil resources and favorable agricultural conditions, Cameroon has one of the best-endowed primary commodity economies in sub-Saharan Africa. Still, it faces many of the serious problems facing other underdeveloped countries, such as stagnating per capita income, a relatively inequitable distribution of income, a top-heavy civil service, and a generally unfavorable climate for business enterprise.  [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 Cameroon.  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.


Survey: Cameroon tops providers of African sex workers

Panapress PANA, Yaounde, 18 july 2006

[access restricted]

According to results of this survey conducted in 2004 in the cities of Bafoussam (west), Bamenda (northeast), Douala (littoral) and Yaounde (centre), 40% of children from age 9 up to 20 are victims of child prostitution.

For this edition, the choice has been made on child prostitution to mobilise Cameroonians from the civil society and break the authorities` silence on this phenomenon, which is tarnishing the image of Cameroon worldwide.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT - Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2013

[accessed 25 August 2020]

[FRENCH] Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Cameroon. 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 25 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law prohibits commercial sexual exploitation, sale, offering or procuring for prostitution, and practices related to child pornography. A conviction requires proof of a threat, fraud, deception, force, or other forms of coercion. Penalties include imprisonment of between 10 and 20 years and a fine of between 100,000 and 10 million CFA francs ($170 and $17,000). The law does not specifically provide a minimum age for consensual sex. According to anecdotal reports, children younger than 18 were exploited in commercial sex, especially by restaurant and bar promoters, although no statistics were available. Anecdotal reports suggested the ongoing crisis in the two Anglophone regions had contributed to a dramatic increase in the prostitution of underage girls and number of early pregnancies, especially in areas with IDPs.

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 305]

It is unclear how many investigators were employed by the government in 2018, although several government bodies work together to enforce criminal laws related to the worst forms of child labor. In general, these agencies do not receive adequate funding or training to investigate the worst forms of child labor, and high staff turnover is a challenge. (3,9,11) As a result, NGOs are critical in bringing child trafficking cases to the government’s attention and providing services to victims. (3,9,64) During the year, there were credible reports of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation. However, the government does not appear to have initiated investigations into any of these cases. (9).

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 12 October 2001

[accessed 26 January 2011]

[64] The Committee is concerned about the increasing number of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation, including prostitution and pornography, especially among those engaged in child labor and street children. Concern is also expressed at the insufficient programs for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of children victims of such abuse and exploitation.

Different Realities, Different Therapies

Sybille Ngo Nyeck, Essay delivered at the 2 nd International Francophone Congress on Sexual Assaults in Brussels, Belgium from May 7-9, 2003

[accessed 22 April 2011]

The issue of sexual assault is known around the world.  In Cameroon, two jurisdictions (or methods) are considered effective in preventing and repressing sexual abuse: the oral jurisdiction (traditional) and the written jurisdiction (the penal code).

A.     THE TRADITIONAL JURISDICTION AND ITS POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE INFLUENCES WITHIN THE CULTURE TOWARD THE PREVENTION OF SEXUAL ABUSE - In the name of tradition, the traditional submission of women and the denial of freedom of speech to children have covered up sexual misconduct for a long period of time. The silence assigned to the victims of sexual assault is a prejudice especially felt by children, whom we today recognize as having some rights, such as the right of speech and the right to have an opinion and to expect that this opinion will be respected.



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 – In May gendarmes in Yaounde dismantled a prostitution ring which used young boys. The boys were lured into the ring by the prospect of being hired by prestigious soccer clubs in a foreign country. Police arrested three of the organization's five members, who were in detention and awaiting trial at year's end; the other two were still in hiding.

Women and children traditionally have faced the greatest risk of trafficking and have been trafficked most often for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor.  Girls were internally trafficked from the Adamawa, North, Far North, and Northwest provinces to Douala and Yaounde to work as domestic servants, street vendors, or prostitutes.  According to a study by the International Circle for the Promotion of Creation and the Cameroon Society for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, of 722 young girls between 9 and 20 years old interviewed in the cities of Yaounde, Douala, Bamenda, and Bafoussam, 291 were the victims of sexual exploitation.

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 26 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 - According to a 2004 study by the Institute for Socio-Anthropological Research, children who have been trafficked in Cameroon are forced to work in agriculture, domestic service, sweatshops, bars and restaurants and in prostitution. The Ministry of Social Affairs also reports that children of some large rural families are “loaned” to work as domestic servants, vendors, prostitutes or baby sitters in urban areas in exchange for monetary compensation.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – CAMEROON – United Action for Children (UAC) is trying to bring all NGOs together to form a network on CSEC. In the area of prevention, UAC has been holding radio talks on CSEC and other child protection issues like HIV/AIDS and teenage pregnancy. Promotion de l’Enfant et de L’Environnement (PEE) has also been carrying out sensitization campaigns on CSEC. In January it organized a workshop in Kribi on the rights of the child, with children participating in debates and giving input on the issues affecting them. Finally, in the area of reintegration and rehabilitation, the government is reported to have established four rehabilitation centers for children in extremely difficult circumstances, and UAC offers counseling services to CSEC victims.

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