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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos)

Despite this high growth rate, Laos remains a country with an underdeveloped infrastructure, particularly in rural areas. It has no railroads, a rudimentary road system, and limited external and internal telecommunications, though the government is sponsoring major improvements in the road system with support from Japan and China. Electricity is available in urban areas and in many rural districts. Subsistence agriculture, dominated by rice, accounts for about 40% of GDP and provides 80% of total employment.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Laos

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

HELP for Victims

21 413 188
Country Code: 856-



The Protection Project - Country Report [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - In Laos, the only available employment for many children and young women is a factory job with poor working conditions and a low salary. The bleak employment situation motivates children to take jobs in pubs, selling alcohol; they then gradually drift into prostitution. Other children are trafficked into prostitution through false promises of jobs as domestic servants.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Helen  Breese, ECPAT International, 2017

[accessed 2 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Lao PDR. 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 2 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The age of consensual sex is 15. The law does not provide penalties specifically for child prostitution, but the penalty for sex with a child (defined as younger than age 15) is one to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of 500,000 to three million kip ($57 to $340). The law does not include statutory rape as a crime distinct from sex with a child or rape. Authorities did not treat child pornography differently from pornography in general, for which the penalty is three months to one year in prison and a fine of 50,000 to 200,000 kip ($5.65 to $22.60).

The country was a destination for child sex tourism. The government continued efforts to reduce demand for commercial sex through periodic raids and training workshops. The government and NGOs hosted seminars to train tourism-sector employees and provided many major international hotels in Vientiane and Luang Prabang with posters warning against child sex tourism.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 10 October 1997

[accessed 17 February 2011]

[27] The Committee is concerned by the increasing phenomenon of child prostitution and trafficking, which affects boys as well as girls. It is worried about the insufficiency of measures to prevent and combat this phenomenon, and the lack of rehabilitation measures.

47 Laotian women rescued from Thai prostitution dens [DOC]

Associated Press AP, Bangkok, Feb 02, 2006 laotian women rescued from thai prostitution dens2.doc

[accessed 17 February 2011]

Thai police on Wednesday raided two karaoke bars in a province near Bangkok and rescued 47 women from neighboring Laos who were forced to work as prostitutes, police said.

The women rescued from the bars in Chachoengsao province, 30 kilometers (19 miles) east of the capital, included eight girls under age 18, said police Col. Kraibun Songsuat. He said the bars' operators had kept the doors to the bars locked to keep the women from escaping.

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 – LAOS – the Department of Social Welfare has been carrying out research on the sexual exploitation of children with support from UNICEF and has carried out a campaign on the rights of the child.

ECPAT: Acknowledgment & Prevention

ECPAT International

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

In 1999, the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare carried out research on sexually exploited and sexually abused children in urban areas of 4 provinces.  This research was considered an important step as the problem of CSEC in Laos was acknowledged and the results of the research were accepted by the government.

Trafficking of Women and Children in Laos

Child Workers in Asia CWA Newsletter, Vol. 13 , no. 2-3 (Apr.-Sep. 1997)

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

THE SITUATION IN LAOS - There is some acknowledgment of the problem of child prostitution in its admission that prostitution occurs mainly in urban areas, such as in Vientiane municipality. Most of the young female prostitutes work as hostesses in bars and some have been sent for re-education several times. The causes of prostitution are a lack of employment and a poor level of education, knowledge and skills.

Fight Child Prostitution By Curbing Demand – Groups

Marwaan Macan-Markar, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, BANGKOK, November 10, 2004

[accessed 12 June 2011]

MORE LOCAL THAN FOREIGN CLIENTELE - In neighboring Laos, a government report released in October notes that child trafficking for prostitution was rampant in all 17 provinces, according to a media release of UNICEF and ECPAT.  “Interviews with 253 victims (of whom 60 percent were girls between the ages 12 and 18), their families and other key informants found that regional economic disparities, a lack of opportunity at home and the negative influence of the media all contribute to vulnerability.

Transnational and Cross-Sectoral Cooperation

UNIFEM Singapore

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

EXAMPLE 7 - A Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Thailand and Laos on Cooperation to Combat Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, was signed on 13 July 2005. The MOU will commit Laos and Thailand to joint action, including establishing joint working groups to run operations to combat human trafficking.

Examples Of Measures Taken By The Corporate Sector To Help Stop Child Prostitution

UNIFEM Singapore -- Source:

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

Starting in 2002, training sessions were organized for Accor hotel staff in Thailand with the aim of teaching them how to act and react if they come across abuse of this kind in or out the vicinity of the hotels. These sessions were then extended in 2003 to Indonesia, Laos and Cambodia, bringing the number of trained staff to over 5,000.

Mission of the Special Rapporteur to the Lao People's Democratic Republic on the issue of trafficking of children (21-25 September 1998)

UN Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-fifth session, 27 January 1999

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

[37] Child involvement in commercial sex is not very apparent in Laos. However the Special Rapporteur received reports that there are some establishments that may have clandestine operations in this respect. There are also some reports that children as young as 12 to 14 years of age have been used in the production of pornographic films subsequently brought out of the country. The Special Rapporteur remains gravely concerned that Laos could increasingly become exposed to the phenomenon as it transforms from a centrally planned to a market economy.

Thematic Reports

E/CN.4/1999/71, para. 9

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

[accessed 12 June 2011]

SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON THE SALE OF CHILDREN, CHILD PROSTITUTION, CHILD PORNOGRAPHY - The report notes that the situation of children who are at risk or are victims of commercial sexual exploitation or trafficking is, for most purposes, usually considered under the more general category of "Children in especially difficult circumstances". Children identified as being in such circumstances are those: with narcotic addictions; who have dropped out of school; with "bad behavior"; who have committed acts of theft; beggars; working as waitresses in nightclubs; in prostitution; and others with "difficulties".

Millions Suffer in Sex Slavery

United Press International UPI, Chicago, April 24, 2001

[accessed 31 January 2015]

[search document for the following text … ]

Statistical estimates indicate 300,000 women have been sold into the sex trade in Western Europe in the last 10 years, and since 1990, 80,000 women and children from Myanmar (formerly Burma), Cambodia, Laos and China have been sold into Thailand's sex industry.

New weapons against child trafficking in Asia

The Magazine Of The Ilo: World Of Work No. 19,  March 1997

[accessed 17 February 2011]

In recent years, large numbers of children from Cambodia, China, Laos and Myanmar have been forced to work as prostitutes in Thailand. Both girls and boys from poor rural areas are lured by professional recruiters and traffickers with promises of legitimate jobs in Thailand's booming economy. Children from Laos are brought across the Mekong River into various provinces in north and northeast Thailand.




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]

CHILDREN - Trafficking in girls for prostitution and forced labor was a problem. Other forms of child labor generally were confined to family farms and enterprises.

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