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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Cuba

The government continues to balance the need for economic loosening against a desire for firm political control. It has rolled back limited reforms undertaken in the 1990s to increase enterprise efficiency and alleviate serious shortages of food, consumer goods, and services. The average Cuban's standard of living remains at a lower level than before the downturn of the 1990s, which was caused by the loss of Soviet aid and domestic inefficiencies.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Cuba

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


Tourism In Cuba: Breeding A Nation Of Hustlers

[Last access date unavailable]

Tourism can also be thanked for creating thousands of jobs in the sex trade.  ECPAT’s study, Child Prostitution and Sex Tourism: Cuba says, "In Cuba, the link between tourism and prostitution is perhaps more direct than in any other country that hosts sex tourists."  A higher ratio of tourists are drawn to Cuba for prostitution – rather than for the beaches, the shopping or the cultural experience – than to any other country in the world.


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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 - Prostitution is legal for individuals 16 and older. There is no statutory rape law, although penalties for rape increase as the age of the victim decreases. The law imposes seven to 15 years’ imprisonment for involving minors younger than 16 in pornographic acts. The punishment may increase to 20 to 30 years or death under aggravating circumstances. The law does not criminalize the possession of pornography, but it punishes the production or circulation of any kind of obscene graphic material with three months’ to one year’s imprisonment and a fine. The offer, provision, or sale of obscene or pornographic material to minors younger than 16 is punishable by two to five years in prison. Child trafficking across international borders is punishable by seven to 15 years’ imprisonment. The law does not establish an age of consent, but sexual relations with children younger than 16 can be prosecuted if there is a determination of rape. In such cases the law leaves room for consideration of possible consent and the age of the other person, especially if the other person is also a minor. A determination of rape may be made if victims lack the ability to understand the extent of the action or is not in command of their conduct, which could be applied or claimed for a person age 15 or 14. The penalty ranges from four to 10 years’ imprisonment. If the victim is older than 12 and younger than 14, the penalty is seven to 15 years’ imprisonment. The punishment for having sex with a minor age 12 is 15 to 30 years’ imprisonment or death.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 6 June 1997

[accessed 30 January 2011]

[42] The Committee further recommends that the Criminal Code provide for the protection of children up to the age of 18 from sexual exploitation. The Committee also recommends that further measures be undertaken in order to address matters relating to the sexual exploitation of children, particularly through tourism, taking into account the recommendations adopted at the World Congress against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm.

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 – CUBA – At the Latin American Regional Consultation on Sexual Violence in February 2001, the Cuban Government issued a statement via its Consulate General. The statement claimed that allegations that Cuba was one of the Latin American countries most affected by CSEC were profoundly untrue.

Restless in Havana

National Review Online, August 1, 2006

[accessed 6 May 2011]

[accessed 4 November 2016]

Europeans took over where the Soviets left off: They showered him with aid, investment, and tourism. Under-age prostitution is not the least of the delights of Castro’s island. It pulls ‘em in by the planeload.

Sex Tourism and Child Prostitution in Cuba

Arch Kielly, LtCol, USAF, Retired -- Article republished from

[accessed 12 Aug  2013]

Cuba is attempting to right its economic problems by permitting the sexual trade of its children for badly needed monetary resources.  A generation of young people may have been invested to make Cuba’s tourism more appealing to foreign tourists.

Bush Says His Restrictions on Travel Will Stamp Out Prostitution in Cuba!

Wayne S. Smith, The Center for International Policy CIP senior fellow, July 20, 2004

[accessed 6 May 2011]

Is prostitution, including child prostitution, on the rise? As anyone who travels regularly to Cuba will tell you, the answer to that is definitely not. True, prostitution was indeed rampant going into the mid-1990s, but then a government crackdown got into high gear in 1998 and now they are gone.

Castro refutes Bush’s charges against Cuba

Socialist Action newspaper, August 2004

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

[accessed 6 May 2011]

Fidel responded as follows to the State Department document: “No country in the world has given as much physical and moral protection, as much health and education to its children as Cuba has.

Bush, Electoral Politics and Cuba's "Illicit Sex Trade"

Prof. NELSON P. VALDES, CounterPunch, October 18 / 19, 2003

[accessed 6 May 2011]

[accessed 4 November 2016]

It should be noted that in Cuba prostitutes are not considered criminals, but those who foster, benefit or help prostitutes are considered participants in a criminal activity.

Cuba's Real Record On Child Prostitution

Reuters, 2003

[accessed 6 May 2011]

Cuban lawmakers have opted to not criminalize prostitution but, rather, to focus on sexual procurement (i.e., pimping) by increasing the penalties. The sentence for pimping was increased to four to ten years, increasing to seven to fifteen years if minors are involved. Prison sentences were increased for the corruption of minors in an effort to stop the activities of sex offenders and pedophiles. The penalty for pedophilia was set at fifteen to thirty years.

Cuba's Prostituted Revolution

Frank Calzon, The Miami Herald, September 16, 2002

[accessed 6 May 2011]

Add one more issue to the debate about lifting U.S. restrictions on travel to Cuba: the exploitation of Cuban woman and children.  Prostitution exists in many countries, but Fidel Castro's communist polemics and repressive controls compound the problem in Cuba.

Protection Project Report - Cuba [DOC]

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

[last accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - According to one report, Cuba is one of many countries that have replaced Southeast Asia as a destination for pedophiles and sex tourists.  This trend is attributed to a concurrent drop in political restrictions on travel to Cuba and a crackdown on sex tourism in Southeast Asia, causing sex tourists to seek alternative destinations.  In addition, Canadian and American tourists have contributed to a sharp increase in child prostitution and in the exploitation of women in Cuba. Canadian sex tourism is cited as being largely responsible for the revival of Havana brothels and child prostitution.

Cubans refer to the girls who go with tourists as jinteras.  The beach resort of Varedero is a popular area for sex tourism, and sexual exploitation of adult and child is particularly common. Young girls coming from the interior of the island to urban and tourist areas are the most vulnerable to exploitation, because they lack language and negotiating skills. Prostituted children are vulnerable to abuse by pimps and corrupt policemen.

Destination Cuba, Country information: Cuba

[accessed 6 May 2011]

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN IN TOURISM - Expanding tourism, together with other factors, has led to a growth of the leisure infrastructure. In connection with this, there has also been a growth of prostitution and cases of trafficking in humans, promoted by the difficult economic situation of the country since 1990. Every day, new children are driven into prostitution, in order to earn something to contribute to the survival of their family. Many street children are abducted and subsequently become victims of commercial sexual exploitation. In their desperation, some fall for promises of well-paid jobs in the towns and cities. In recent years, the number of children in the towns and cities that are being sexually exploited has increased markedly. The press reports of cases in which foreign tourists have particularly asked for children below the age of 14.

Regional Governmental Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children  [PDF]

Sonia Beretervide Dopico, Second Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children

[accessed 19 November 2016]



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]

CHILDREN - Child prostitution was a problem, with young girls engaging in prostitution to help support themselves and their families.  Children may marry with the consent of their parents at age 14, but the law provides for 2 to 5 years' imprisonment for anyone who "induces minors under 16 years of age to practice homosexuality or prostitution.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - While underage prostitution was widely apparent, there were no reliable statistics available regarding its extent. Although the police generally enforced laws on underage prostitution, the phenomenon continued, with cabarets and discos catering to sex tourists. The government prosecuted persons involved in child prostitution and child pornography and assisted other countries in international investigations of child sexual abuse

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