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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

French Republic (France)

France's leaders remain committed to a capitalism in which they maintain social equity by means of laws, tax policies, and social spending that reduce income disparity and the impact of free markets on public health and welfare.

France's tax burden remains one of the highest in Europe - at nearly 50% of GDP in 2005. With at least 75 million foreign tourists per year, France is the most visited country in the world and maintains the third largest income in the world from tourism.  [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 France.  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.


ECPAT International Report: France [PDF]

Florence Tamerlo, Karine Pidery & Nadine Benichou, 3/9/2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 15 May 2011]

2. SITUATION OF MINORS IN FRANCE - According to the Vice Squad, there are a few minors prostituting themselves whereas NGOs claim there are many.

PROBLEMS OF DEFINITION - When taken in charge by the police or social care services, children involved in prostitution are considered to be at-risk children. Official figures concerning children are mixed up, and those aged 15 to 18 are not reported as such. It is explained as a will to avoid traumatizing the child by labeling him or her as a prostitute. Lastly, children under 15 are prone to more covert prostitution qualified as pedophilia and therefore escape the prostitution statistics. All child sex assaults are reported as sexual abuse, not prostitution. Moreover, some prostitution related-facts are considered as pedophilia, not prostitution. The result is that France has no child prostitution because the figures show none.


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ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2011

[accessed 28 August 2020]


Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in France. 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 28 August 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law criminalizes sexual exploitation of children. The minimum age of consent is 15, and sexual relations with a minor aged 15 to 18 are illegal when the adult is in a position of authority over the minor. For rape of a minor younger than 15 the penalty is 20 years’ imprisonment, which can be increased in the event of aggravating circumstances. Other sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 15 is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of 150,000 euros ($165,000). The law provides that underage rape victims may file complaints up to 30 years after they turn 18.

The government enforced these laws effectively but faced criticism from NGOs such as Coup de Pouce, Acting against Child Prostitution, and the French Council of Associations for the Rights of the Child that argued children cannot provide legal consent regardless of circumstance.

The law also criminalizes the commercial sexual exploitation of children. The minimum penalty for sexual exploitation of children is 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 1.5 million euros ($1.65 million). The law prohibits child pornography; the maximum penalty for its use and distribution is five years’ imprisonment and a 75,000 euro ($82,500) fine.

As part of the 2020-22 plan to combat violence against children released November 20, the government released estimates that more than 130,000 girls and 35,000 boys annually suffer rape or attempted rape, and 140,000 children are exposed to domestic violence. According to an IPSOS poll released October 7 conducted with victims of childhood sexual abuse, the victims’ average age is 10 years and 83 percent of victims are girls. Victims file a lawsuit in only 25 percent of the cases.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 30 June 2004

[accessed 5 February 2011]

[54] The Committee notes that, following the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm in 1996, a National Plan of Action was adopted to protect children from abuse and ill treatment. The following year, in 1997, protection of abused children was declared a national priority. However, the Committee is concerned at the occurrence of trafficking of children, prostitution and related issues, as noted in the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography following his mission to France in November 2002.

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 – FRANCE – According to ECPAT France and AFESIP, France’s national plan of action has been effective because it keeps concern for the needs of children in the country alive. It has also been useful because it contains concrete actions, some of which are being implemented. Nevertheless, AFESIP has reported that the delegation on women’s rights in the Senate has demanded more prevention, protection, information and resources to fight CSEC.

Special rapporteur on sale of children, independent expert on violence against children present reports

UN Commission on Human Rights, Press Release, 07 Apr 2004

[accessed 15 May 2011]

[accessed 5 November 2016]

DOCUMENTS ON RIGHTS OF THE CHILD - According to this information, children are being trafficked into France primarily from Eastern Europe, notably Romania, and from West Africa, but also from Asia including such countries as India and China.  Many, if not most, of these children are under the control of trafficking networks and are forced into prostitution.

Dozens convicted of pedophilia in France

Samantha Bordes, The Associated Press AP, July 28, 2005

[accessed 15 May 2011]

France's largest pedophilia trial came to an end when a court convicted a network of 62 defendants for systematically raping and prostituting children, some of them just infants.  Prosecutors said 45 children between the ages of six months and 14 years were raped and abused by their parents, grandparents or acquaintances at times in exchange for small amounts of money, food, alcohol or cigarettes.

France Child Sex Case In Disarray

BBC News, 19 May, 2004

[accessed 15 May 2011]

The trial of 13 people in northern France on charges of child rape has been thrown into disarray after two of the defendants admitted they lied.  The children - aged three to 12 at the time of the alleged abuse - had given supporting evidence, naming other individuals allegedly involved, but much of it was found to be inconsistent.

Air France Video Against Child Sex Tourism

[Last access date unavailable]

Since 15 March 1999, AIR FRANCE has screened this video on long-haul flights to raise awareness about the problem of child sex tourism.  It informs travelers that there are laws to punish abusers when they are abroad, but also on their return home.

RIGHTS OF THE CHILD - Report submitted by Juan Miguel Petit, Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography - Addendum - Mission to France, 25-29 November 2002 [PDF]

UN Economic and Social Council, E/CN.4/2004/9/Add.1, 14 October 2003$FILE/G0316328.pdf

[accessed 5 February 2011]

SUMMARY - The report focuses on the sale of children in the context of trafficking of children and child prostitution, and on child pornography and its links with domestic child sexual abuse.  Concerning the sale of children, trafficking and child prostitution, the report relates information presented to the Special Rapporteur by the Children’s Ombudsman (Défenseure des enfants), the police, NGOs, as well as government ministries.  According to this information, children are being trafficked into France primarily from Eastern Europe, notably Romania, and from West Africa, but also from Asia including such countries as India and China.  Many, if not most, of these children are under the control of trafficking networks and are forced into prostitution.  The Government of France is starting to work with the authorities of the countries concerned, in particular with Romania with which it signed a bilateral agreement in 2001 with respect to returning children.


76. Prostitution is reportedly growing rapidly, but the regular use of minors as prostitutes is a relatively new phenomenon and new legislation has been introduced to ensure that the clients of child prostitutes will be arrested.  The Special Rapporteur commends the Government of France for its efforts not to criminalize the children concerned by subjecting them to detention, and recognizes the difficulties it is facing in protecting such children from continuing in prostitution.

77. Many foreign children are involved in prostitution.  Most of the children in prostitution are controlled by pimps, some of whom live in another country and control the prostitution by cell phone from abroad, usually getting an older child to supervise the younger victims.

78. Concerning child sex tourism, the Government of France is taking measures to combat these offences being committed abroad by French citizens.  The Government has adopted extraterritorial legislation to increase the chances of their being arrested and brought to trial, and all government representatives abroad have been instructed to collaborate with local police on these cases.  There were no reports of sex tourism within France.




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]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – In 2003 police arrested 67 adults in a Roma encampment outside Paris and charged them with organizing sexual enslavement of Roma children who were kidnapped from Romania, brought to the country, raped to make them obey, and sent out on the streets of Paris and its suburbs to steal and prostitute themselves. According to press reports, the children were forced to earn $240 (200 euros) a day or face severe physical punishment. The child‑traffickers remained in jail awaiting trial at the end of the year.

Traffickers of the Romanian children of Romani descent have traditionally used the children as beggars and thieves, but many of the children have increasingly turned to or been forced into prostitution.

Police estimated that 90 percent of the 15 thousand to 18 thousand female prostitutes working in the country were trafficking victims, and that 3 thousand to 8 thousand children were forced into prostitution and labor, including begging. In a 2003 report the UNCHR rapporteur criticized the government for "continuing to deny the existence and the scale of sexual cruelty against children" with regard to trafficked children and called for the NCCHR to further investigate the situation.

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