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

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                                                                                       

Republic of Chile

Chile has a market-oriented economy characterized by a high level of foreign trade and a reputation for strong financial institutions and sound policy that have given it the strongest sovereign bond rating in South America. Exports account for 40% of GDP, with commodities making up some three-quarters of total exports. Copper alone provides one-third of government revenue.  [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 Chile.  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.


Chile Awakens To Child Prostitution After Scandal

Jen Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, Santiago, November 24, 2003

[accessed 28 April 2011]

But behind these high-profile figures are the thousands of youngsters who sell themselves nightly on Chilean streets for $1 to $50 a trick. Across the nation, there are 4,000 children working in the commercial sex trade, according to a recent study by the National Youth Service (SENAME). Other surveys put the number as high as 15,000.

Francisco, 15, has been a sex worker for half of his life. "I saw other kids doing it," he said. "We did it out of need."  Francisco said his mother died in childbirth, and his father was shot to death in Colombia. He bounced from orphanage to orphanage before escaping at age 7 to live on the streets of this capital city of 5 million inhabitants.

Jonathan, a 15-year-old transvestite, entered the sex trade by choice. "I wanted to buy my own clothes," said the tube-top-clad youngster, who began selling his body at 12. He recently left the streets after several of his colleagues disappeared. He counts himself lucky that he escaped danger.  He may be the exception.

Francisco has been beaten numerous times by pimps and clients. Maria San Martín, a former child prostitute, says she was raped by a client and lost a good friend, who was killed by her pimp.  "Thank God I lived to tell this," she said. "But so many girls have died."

Child advocates say the Spiniak case has prompted many Chileans, who they say are conditioned to ignore child beggars, to finally see child prostitution as a widespread social problem.


*** ARCHIVES ***

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 28 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Children are involved in prostitution in Chile.  UNICEF reported that in 1999 there were approximately 10,000 child prostitutes between the ages of 6 and 18.  In 2003, the Government of Chile estimated that there were approximately 3,700 children involved in some form of commercial sexual exploitation. Children are also trafficked internally for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation.

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 28 January 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - A credible 2003 study concluded that more than 3,700 children and adolescents--the vast majority of whom lived at home or with close relatives--had been the victims of commercial sexual exploitation in 2002-03.

Anecdotal reports suggested that young women were the primary targets for trafficking to other countries. Traffickers reportedly used newspaper advertisements for models and product promoters to lure girls, ages 11 to 17, into prostitution. Law enforcement agencies indicated that traffickers looking for children also targeted economically disadvantaged families, arguing to the parents that they were giving the child an opportunity for a better life.

SENAME, the ministries of government and health, and other government agencies formed the Protect Network, which conducted general public awareness and education campaigns to prevent sexual violence and abuse, including the commercial sexual exploitation of minors. Nearly 80 percent of SENAME's budget supported NGO programs, particularly those that worked with street children.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 February 2002

[accessed 28 January 2011]

[51] The Committee, while taking note of the establishment of a working group to prepare a plan of action against commercial sexual exploitation of children, expresses its concern that, with regard to the phenomenon of commercial sexual exploitation of children, there are no data available, legislation is inadequate, cases involving sexually exploited children are often not investigated and prosecuted, child victims are registered and therefore may be subjected to criminalization, and social reintegration programs are not available. It further notes that prostitution of boys is on the rise.

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

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Right, Chile, 26/11/2004

[accessed 19 September 2011]

[9] The Committee welcomes the adoption in January 2004 of the Law on Crimes of Commercial Sexual Exploitation.

[47] The Committee recommends that the State party strengthen measures to combat sexual abuse and commercial sexual exploitation of children and provide victims of such abuse with adequate care.

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 – CHILE – There has been little follow up action to the National Plan of Action against CSEC (Marco de Acción contra la ESCNA) and consequently it has had no impact. The proposals in the national plan are not being used to guide public actions against CSEC, no resources have been allocated to implement the plan, and it has been said that the plan is not known by institutions working with children. At the same time, a national plan to tackle child labor is being developed under ILO Convention 182 and a national policy and plan of action for children and adolescents have also been developed.

Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

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

[accessed 28 April 2011]

[35] The National Service for Children has launched a sensibilization campaign over the last two years and has developed a pilot project of intervention and rehabilitation for victims of commercial sexual exploitation.  The Penal Code criminalizes the trafficking of children for prostitution or adoption. The use of children under the age of 12 in pornography is illegal. If the child is aged between 12 and 18 it is not illegal unless violence is used. Parliament is currently considering modifying the Penal Code to protect all minors under the age of 18 and to penalize the distribution, acquisition or storing of materials of child pornography. Children do not incur any criminal liability for their involvement in these offences.

Child Prostitution in Chile

World Vision Report

[accessed 28 April 2011]

The child sex trade is a problem in many developing countries. But in Chile, it's a problem that has only recently been discovered, or at least acknowledged, after a sex scandal involving high-profile businessmen and government officials.

Chile Deputies In Child Sex Claim

Clinton Porteous, BBC News, Santiago, 11 October, 2003

[accessed 28 April 2011]

Three Chilean politicians have been accused of links with a child prostitution ring that is the subject of a criminal investigation.  A 15-year-old boy allegedly told police he had been invited to a party by Mr Spiniak where young boys were paid 30,000 pesos ($46) for sex.

Chile tackles child-sex trade

Jen Ross, The Christian Science Monitor, Santiago, January 13, 2004

[accessed 28 April 2011]

It has taken a scandal of this magnitude to open Chile's eyes to a problem long ignored.  A recent study estimates that there are 4,000 children in the commercial-sex trade in Chile, though other studies have shown the number could be as high as 15,000.  Some start as young as 5 years old.

The Protection Project - Human Rights Reports of The Americas - Chile [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - A recent study estimates that 4,000 children work in the commercial sex industry in Chile; other studies indicate that number could be as high as 15,000. Some 65,000 online networks of pedophiles across the country have been identified.  A 2003 scandal involved a prominent Chilean businessman who was alleged to have recruited street children for a prostitution ring. Two senators have been under investigation, and several police officers and prominent businessmen have been arrested since the scandal unfolded, and the affair has reportedly “opened the country’s eyes to the problem of street children and child prostitution.”  In October 2003, the 55-year-old Chilean businessman and six others were charged with using children for sadomasochistic orgies.

Report Of The Special Rapporteur On The Sale Of Children, Child – 1999

UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-fifth session, 29 January 1999

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

[accessed 28 April 2011]

106. Regarding child prostitution and pornography, prostitution is legal in Chile and has no specific legal age limit. It should be noted, however, that until now, those involved in child prostitution could be punished under other applicable laws such as those prohibiting rape, incest, corruption of minors, sodomy, and the facilitation of prostitution. Additionally, minors are prohibited from working in brothels, cabarets, or casinos. The Government asserts that these measures, in addition to the NGO support devoted to helping girls who fall into prostitution, are sufficient for the time being, as the level of child prostitution has not become a serious cause for concern for the Government, and the police have received only five reports of child pornography in the past two years.

Regional Governmental Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children  [PDF]

Andrés Musalem Léon de la Barra, Approach to Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Chile and the Actions taken by the State

[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 - Chile",, [accessed <date>]


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