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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Djibouti

Djibouti has few natural resources and little industry. The nation is, therefore, heavily dependent on foreign assistance to help support its balance of payments and to finance development projects. An unemployment rate of nearly 60% in urban areas continues to be a major problem. While inflation is not a concern, due to the fixed tie of the Djiboutian franc to the US dollar, the artificially high value of the Djiboutian franc adversely affects Djibouti's balance of payments. Per capita consumption dropped an estimated 35% between 1999 and 2006 because of recession, civil war, and a high population growth rate (including immigrants and refugees).  [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 Djibouti.  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.


Protection Project - Djibouti [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Displaced women and children fleeing conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia have ended up in prostitution in Djibouti. Some of them have also been trafficked to wealthy Arab states to work as domestic servants.

Child prostitution is on the rise in Djibouti. A government study, conducted in conjunction with UNICEF, found that 73.3 percent of street children were Ethiopian and that over a quarter of these children were exploited in the commercial sex industry. Most are girls from the Dire-Dawa region of Ethiopia. They are often brought by other girls to brothels, where they are forced into prostitution. In Djibouti’s most famous sex venue, Rue d’Ethiopie, children age 11 to 16 are forced to engage in prostitution. - htsccp


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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 27 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law provides for three years’ imprisonment and a fine of one million DJF ($5,650) if convicted of the commercial exploitation of children. The law does not specifically prohibit statutory rape, and there is no legal minimum age of consent. The sale, manufacture, or distribution of all pornography, including child pornography, is prohibited, and are punishable by one year’s imprisonment and a fine of up to 200,000 DJF ($1,130).

The government enacted an anti-trafficking-in-persons (TIP) law in 2016 that prohibits human trafficking and outlines definitions distinguishing trafficking and smuggling. The law provides language that the “means” element generally needed to prosecute TIP cases is not required when the victim is a minor.

Despite government efforts to keep at-risk children off the streets and to warn businesses against permitting children to enter bars and clubs, children were vulnerable to prostitution on the streets and in brothels.

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 425]

Limited reports from prior reporting periods suggested that children, including undocumented migrant girls, have historically been vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation in Djibouti City and the Ethiopia-Djibouti trucking corridor. (8,9) Prior reporting also found that poverty among Djiboutian households made girls vulnerable to commercial sexual exploitation. (6)

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 2 June 2000

[accessed 27 February 2011]

[45] The Committee is concerned about the exposure of older children in the State party, particularly those living on the street or working in port areas and along truck routes, to sexual exploitation and to sexually transmitted diseases, including the risk of HIV infection. The Committee is also concerned that girls married at a young age may not have sufficient access to family planning services and counseling.

[57] The Committee is concerned about the high and apparently increasing incidence of prostitution involving children, in particular girls, and about the lack of facilities to provide services to sexually exploited children.

[58] In the light of article 34 and other related articles of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party undertake studies with a view to designing and implementing appropriate policies and measures, including to promote the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims of sexual exploitation, and to preventing and combating the sexual exploitation of children while avoiding the criminalization of child victims. In this regard, the Committee encourages the State party to take into account the recommendations formulated in the Agenda for Action adopted at the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, held in Stockholm in 1996.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children - Middle East/North Africa Region

UNICEF: Second World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

[accessed 8 May 2011]

These countries also have in common, however, a number of constraints that have hindered preparation of national plans of action. In all the countries of the region, there is cultural resistance to addressing the problem because the subject is largely taboo.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 8 May 2011]

[page 45]

DJIBOUTI - The Horn of Africa region has had a long history of conflict. This has led to an influx of foreign children into Djibouti and especially the capital, and has thus increased the number of street children. The civil war in Djibouti has also led to problems like economic instability, poverty, family displacement and a loss of traditional values, all of which have contributed to the increase in CSEC. Street boys, the majority of whom are from neighboring countries, are also exposed to the danger of sexual exploitation. In addition, the presence of affluent French soldiers provides easy income to poor girls. 

Djibouti has not yet developed a national plan on CSEC. The laws on CSEC in the country are inadequate and no support systems or intervention strategies have been developed due to the limited knowledge of the problem.

United Nations Population Fund Country Program Outline For Djibouti [PDF]

Executive Board of the United Nations Development Programme and of the United Nations Population Fund, 30 September 2002 -- DP/FPA/DJI/2

[accessed 8 May 2011]

12. Drought, poverty and frequent conflicts in the region encourage urban migration.  Overburdened urban areas are home to growing numbers of street children.  The pervasive poverty contributes to the number of commercial sex workers, as does the presence of many soldiers, dockworkers and truck drivers travelling the Djibouti-Addis Ababa highway. Awareness of the risks of unprotected sex is low.




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 8 February 2020]

CHILDREN – Child prostitution existed. Some children that immigrated to the country for economic reasons engaged in prostitution to survive. There was no known system of organized pimps who exploited children; however, older children sometimes acted as "protectors" and took a portion of other children's earnings as a fee."

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 1 February 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 - In urban areas, children often work in the informal sector in small-scale family businesses, trade, catering, crafts, or as domestic servants. Children displaced from Ethiopia and Somalia also seek work in the informal sector in Djibouti’s cities, working as shoe polishers, car washers, khat-sellers, street peddlers, moneychangers, beggars, and in commercial sexual exploitation.  Commercial sexual exploitation of children is reportedly increasing, particularly among refugee street children in the capital city.  A report by the Ministry of Youth and UNICEF found numerous girls between the ages of 8 and 17 years, many from Ethiopia, leaving work as domestic servants to become involved in commercial sex exploitation.

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