Main Menu
Human Trafficking
Street Children


The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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


The Jamaican economy is heavily dependent on services, which now account for more than 60% of GDP. The country continues to derive most of its foreign exchange from tourism, remittances, and bauxite/alumina.

The economy faces serious long-term problems: a sizable merchandise trade deficit, large-scale unemployment and underemployment, and a debt-to-GDP ratio of almost 130%.

High unemployment exacerbates the serious crime problem, including gang violence that is fueled by the drug trade.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Description: Jamaica

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


Child Prostitution Widespread in Jamaica

Jamaica Observer, July 21, 2002

[accessed 27 January 2015]

Children, Some As Young As 10 And 11 Years Old, Are Engaged In Prostitution.

Study listed nine categories of children engaging in sex for gain and said they were pushed basically by lack of economic support, love and affection.  The first of the nine categories listed was children living and working on the streets, mostly boys between ages 12 and 18

Reasons for child prostitution

Dave Campbell, Letter to the Editor, Jamaica Gleaner, June 17, 2006

[accessed 4 June 2011]

[accessed 11 November 2016]

Children are now seen as bread winners for some families, as the parents realise that people are more responsive to a child's cry for help.

As a result of this, parents send their children, especially females, to hustle for the family by engaging them in sexual activities with older men, while subjecting them to both physical and mental abuse which will later have a greater psychological effect on them in life.


*** 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

[accessed 1 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law criminalizes the commercial sexual exploitation of children and applies to the production, possession, importation, exportation, and distribution of child pornography. It carries a maximum penalty of 20 years’ imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 JMD ($3,500). The law prohibits child sex trafficking and prescribes a penalty of up to 30 years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both. There were continued reports of the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The law criminalizes sexual relations between an adult and a child–male or female–younger than 16 and provides for penalties ranging from 15 years to life imprisonment. Children have fewer legal protections than adults concerning sexual assault. The legal definition of rape is penile penetration of the vagina. A person who commits anal rape of a child is punished by only 10 years in prison. Similar to the situation for women, the distinction created wide discrepancies between cases that had the same element of sexual assault at their core. The risk of sexual assault reportedly was three times higher for children than adults. Cases were widespread and varied, involving children as young as age four.

Law enforcement continued to be implicated in reports of child rape. A police constable was taken into custody following allegations that he raped a 15-year-old girl in protective custody.

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 1 September 2020]

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

[page 652]

Jamaica is a destination and source country for commercial sexual exploitation of children. Jamaican children are trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation and forced labor to countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. (9) Sources indicate that children, sometimes at the behest of parents or criminal leaders referred to as “dons,” are forced into commercial sexual exploitation. (1) Young girls, immigrant children, lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/intersex youth, children from poor families, and children from rural areas are particularly vulnerable to human trafficking and child sexual exploitation. (2,4)

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 6 June 2003

[accessed 15 February 2011]

[54] The Committee is concerned at the sexual exploitation and trafficking of children, including street children, and the lack of accurate data and adequate laws and policies in this regard.

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

International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, 30/11/2001

[accessed 19 September 2011]

[13] The Committee is deeply concerned about the lack of laws, policies or programs to address explicitly the proliferation of sex tourism and its consequences, which include the sexual exploitation and prostitution of women and children, and the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. In particular, the Committee is alarmed that school drop-out rates have increased as young girls are induced to leave school to enter the sex trade, sometimes even with the consent and encouragement of parents who benefit from their earnings.

Gateways to exploitation

Globe and Mail, Nov. 10, 2007 -- Source: ECPAT International

[accessed 7 October 2012]

JAMAICA - Male and female sex workers operating in tourist areas are known as “beach boys” and “beach girls.” Working on the beach, they make private contacts with tourists. Additionally, there are reports of van operators who take passengers to safe houses for sex with boys and girls. Some girls are sent out to the beach by their parents to wait for men. In general, clients are mostly Westerners, but local men are also involved. Boy prostitution, described as “rent-a-dread,” also occurs.

Companies involved in human trafficking

Howard Campbell, Jamaica Gleaner, April 28, 2007

[accessed 15 February 2011]

[accessed 11 November 2016]

"If you had asked me three or four years ago, I would tell you that, 'Look, these things don't happen in Jamaica'," he said. "But, believe me, it happens."  The Justice Minister said that since the task force was set up by former Prime Minister P.J. Patterson in 2005, many cases of human trafficking have been unearthed. Many involve children.

EXPLOITING THE YOUNG - Using the sensational 'sale' of a teenage girl by her parents to a man in St. Elizabeth as an example, Mr. Nicholson said the exploitation of young boys and girls in Jamaica was widespread. He warned that, under the law, not only persons who know of the deed can be jailed.

The paedophiles are here

Martin Henry, Jamaica Gleaner, June 8, 2006

[accessed 4 June 2011]

[accessed 11 November 2016]

Whatever the law may wish to say about age of consent, the majority of firstborns in this country have been born to teen-age mothers, and a large proportion of these to mothers under the age of consent. The age of first sex is well-documented to be in the early teens.

Transactional sex in a rich variety of prostitutional commercial exchange, from the onset of puberty, is a dominant feature of Jamaican culture.

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 – JAMAICA – The ILO/CCDC study recommends a number of key actions and activities which should be included in a national plan of action on the worst forms of child labor. These recommendations include improvements to Jamaican legislation so that child prostitution is classified as a criminal offense; collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Sport and Entertainment to develop strategies to eradicate child sex tourism; and sensitivity training programs for health, education, and labor officers, NGOs, CBOs, the media, owners and operators of clubs and other places of adult entertainment that may employ children.

UNICEF Jamaica Lauds Steps To Establish Post Of Children's Advocate In The Island

United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, June 22, 2005

[accessed 4 June 2011]

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Jamaica congratulates the Government of Jamaica for having actively pursued the establishment of a Children’s Advocate, which is a post essential to the effective implementation of the Child Care and Protection Act

Violence Against Children in Jamaica, W.I. A Cross Cultural Qualitative Study

Dr. Joan Lesser, Dr. Marlene Cooper, and Yunena Morales, 30 minute Paper Presentation in English at the Third International Conference On New Directions In Humanities, Humanities Conference 2005, University of Cambridge, 2-5 August 2005

[accessed 4 June 2011]

Within the last decade 22,000 youth were labeled "street children" who lived and worked in the streets doing jobs such as machinery, welding, domestic work, care giving and newspaper delivery. Many turn to or are forced into child prostitution and/or the drug trade in order to survive.

My Parent And My Pimp - Child prostitution in Jamaica

Stephen-Claude Hyatt, Jamaica Gleaner, December 6, 2001

[accessed 4 June 2011]

[accessed 11 November 2016]

What is not known is that there are Jamaica women who will send their daughters and sons out nightly to "work the beat" and take money home to them. Many of these children are not allowed back into the home unless a certain amount of money is made nightly.

Prostitution In Jamaica

Paul Andrew Bourne, able2know, 2 Sep, 2005

[accessed 4 June 2011]

COMMERCIAL SEX WORKERS - Street and working children are a particularly vulnerable group to prostitution. These children lack family and social support. (Dunn, 2001) posits that small boys between the ages of 6 and 17 years were most exploited. They did not have the protection of adult family members or institutional environment for support and as such were exposed to extreme economic deprivation and abuse. Those involved in sexual activity were between 12 and 18 years. The majorities were from very poor backgrounds and were out of school; although a few attended school regularly Dunn, (2001).

The Children Of Jamaica's Sex Trade

Jamaica Observer, June 26, 2005

[accessed 27 January 2015]

"In Montego Bay, 20 girls and 10 boys between 10 and 18 years from several inner-city communities were identified as being involved in sexual activity for gain on a large scale," said the report prepared by Leith Dunn and her team.  "They are organized in groups, an adult is usually in charge of the younger ones but they work independently of each other.  "These young sex workers, the report said, could be seen along the Gloucester Avenue Hip Strip and the beach, popular tourist spots.  Dunn and her team also cited examples of groups of young girls, between 13 and 18, working in the tough inner-city community of Canterbury; and boys between 10 and 16 who had sex with men at the UDC-owned Dump Up Beach.




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 15 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 - A 2001 study funded by ILO-IPEC found that children as young as 10 years old are sexually exploited and engaged in prostitution, catering to tourists. Young girls are hired by “go-go” clubs or massage parlors. Children are trafficked internally for sexual exploitation and pornography.

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 9 February 2020]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - The Child Care and Protection Act passed in 2004 specifically prohibits the sale or trafficking of minors and provides that violators receive the maximum penalty under the law. This law subjects convicted traffickers to a fine or imprisonment with hard labor for a term not exceeding 10 years, or both. It also provides that no person under the age of 18 years may be employed in a night club. Although authorities raided some night clubs, police tended to arrest victims of trafficking rather than owners of the clubs. There were few if any convictions under this law. Authorities reported that very few children had been found to be trafficking victims.

The International Labor Organization (ILO) estimated that several hundred minors were involved in the country's sex trade.

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 - Jamaica",, [accessed <date>]