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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

The economy of the Democratic Republic of the Congo - a nation endowed with vast potential wealth - is slowly recovering from two decades of decline. Conflict that began in August 1998 has dramatically reduced national output and government revenue, increased external debt, and resulted in the deaths of more than 5 million people from violence, famine, and disease.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Congo

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Democratic Republic of the Congo.  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.


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 – DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO (DRC)– In the DRC, there are a number of well known CSEC phenomena. “Shegues” is a phenomenon describing young children between the age of 13 and 16 who have left home and live and survive solely from prostitution in the street. “Kamuke” or “Petit Poussins” refers to young boys aged between 10 to 17 who are offered money and luxury goods by older businesswomen in exchange for sex. “Filles Londoniennes” are girls aged between 12 and 15 who offer sexual services in exchange for money in urban areas of the country. In the DRC, the practice also exists whereby a visiting local dignitary is given a young girl by his hosts to satisfy his sexual pleasures. This practice is referred to as “Filles Encadreurs.” However, reports indicate that as a result of local campaigns, this practice is no longer widespread.


*** 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 democratic-republic-of-the-congo /

[accessed 25 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The minimum age of consensual sex is 18 for both men and women, and the law prohibits prostitution by anyone younger than age 18. The penal code prohibits child pornography, with imprisonment of 10 to 20 years for those convicted. The law criminalizes child sex trafficking, with conviction carrying penalties ranging from 10 to 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 800,000 to 1,000,000 Congolese francs ($500 to $625). From January through June, UNICEF assisted 3,318 children (3,193 girls and 125 boys) who were victims of sexual exploitation. Most of these children were provided with a holistic response including psychosocial care, medical care, socioeconomic reintegration, and legal assistance.

There were also reports child soldiers, particularly girls, faced sexual exploitation (see section 1.g.).

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 377]

Although there is strong evidence of children engaged in armed conflict, commercial sexual exploitation, and forced labor in mining, there is a lack of information on the overall nature of child labor because a comprehensive, stand-alone, child labor survey has never been conducted in the DRC. (12)

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) [DOC]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 29 September 2006$FILE/G0644909.doc

[accessed 27 February 2011]

[81] While welcoming the study on the sexual exploitation of children which is being conducted with UNICEF’s support, the Committee expresses concern at sexual harassment in schools. It is also concerned at the fact that sexual exploitation of children is a widespread practice. The Committee is also concerned at the fact that the Portella Law prohibiting the presence of children in bars and night clubs is not enforced.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 June 2001

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[68] The Committee is deeply concerned by information, including for example in the State party's report, of the trading, trafficking, kidnapping and use for pornography of young girls and boys within the State party, or from the State party to another country, and that domestic legislation does not sufficiently protect children from trafficking.

Children in Congo forced into exorcisms

Dan Harris, Special for USA TODAY, 5/21/2009

[accessed 2 May 2011]

THROWN INTO STREETS - Mushiete works with street children who have been accused of witchcraft. He says homeless children are frequently raped and beaten, even by police. Drug use is rampant. Girls often resort to prostitution, leaving their own babies to sleep on the side of the road at night while they sell themselves. sccp

Children of Congo: From War to Witches [video]

Dan Balluff, Jul 15, 2008

[accessed 2 May 2011]

Dan Balluff reports that over five million people have died during the past decade as a result of the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Few people are aware of the unimaginable scale of human suffering, death, and destruction that has occurred in this vast country deep in the heart of Africa. In the aftermath of this brutal war, children have endured the brunt of the suffering. This 67 minute film documents the plight of thousands of street children living in Kinshasa and confirms the wide-spread accusations of child witchcraft, torture and child prostitution. The film also examines the efforts to reintegrate demobilized child soldiers, displaced refugees, and orphaned children following the eruption of the massive Nyiragongo volcano, near the city of Goma in Eastern Congo. These heroic efforts are finally bringing some measure of hope and stability to the lives of the Congolese people.

UN troops in DR Congo accused of sexual abuse

Agence France-Presse AFP, KINSHASA, May 14, 2008

[accessed 7 January 2015]

The sources said Indian MONUC peacekeepers in Masisi were accused of paying for sex with young Congolese girls near the force's camp between mid-2007 and early 2008.

The United Nations in 2005 stated a "zero tolerance" approach to its troops having sex with the Congolese. MONUC logged 140 cases of alleged sexual abuse or prostitution involving its personnel from December 2004 to August 2006.

UN reports child prostitution in Congo peacekeeping mission

Monsters and Critics M&G News, Aug 17, 2006

[accessed 4 May 2011]

The UN has launched an investigation into serious allegations that UN peacekeepers in the Democratic Republic of Congo had engaged in financing child prostitution, a spokesman said Thursday.  The case was first thought to have involved Congolese soldiers in the northeastern region of South Kibu, but it was discovered that UN peacekeepers were part of the ring of child prostitution, said Stephane Dujarric.

ECPAT: UN Reforms Aim To End Sexual Abuse By Peacekeepers

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Johannesburg, 10 May 2005

[accessed 12 March 2015]

In recent years UN peace missions have been marked by allegations that some peacekeeping troops have sexually exploited the very people they were sent to protect. The alleged abuses, most notably in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), have ranged from the exchange of food, money, or goods for sex, to the sexual exploitation of minors.

Suffer the Children - The street children of kinshasa

CJ Maloney, March 1st, 2004

[accessed 4 May 2011]

[scroll down]

There are female as well as male children. The females have an advantage – if you could call it that – in that they can sell their bodies. Child prostitution is common among them. Age does not seem to be a barrier to entry, girls as young as five are reported to be selling themselves for money.

US Senator Sam Brownback visits Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Senator Sam Brownback, SAM'S BLOG, Goma, December 2, 2005

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

[accessed 4 May 2011]

We listened to one young girl's story as she held a baby on her hip.  At the young age of 10 or 11 years old these girls are abducted into the militias and serve as wives or sex-slaves to the commanders until they became pregnant and are then turned to the streets.  Others are given or sold by their own families in the hopes that the village would be spared from violence.



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 does not prohibit prostitution except in cases involving children under the age of 14. Prostitution, including child prostitution, was a problem mainly due to poor economic conditions, and there were reports of women and girls pressured or forced to engage in prostitution by their families. There was no statistical information available on the extent of adult or child prostitution in the country. Security forces encouraged prostitution and used prostitutes, and there were unconfirmed reports that security forces harassed and raped prostitutes.  TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - Internal trafficking for forced labor and forced sexual exploitation occurred and child prostitution were reported. The majority of reported trafficking occurred in the northeast and east.

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 30 January 2011]

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

Children in the DRC have been negatively affected by continuing armed conflict. The number of orphans and street children is reported to be on the rise. In November 2003, the UN Special Rapporteur to the DRC reported that there were large numbers of child refugees and war orphans engaged in street work, including begging and prostitution.

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