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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Lebanon

Lebanon has a free-market economy and a strong laissez-faire commercial tradition. The government does not restrict foreign investment; however, the investment climate suffers from red tape, corruption, arbitrary licensing decisions, high taxes, tariffs, and fees, archaic legislation, and weak intellectual property rights. The Lebanese economy is service-oriented; main growth sectors include banking and 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 Lebanon.  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.


Report by Special Rapporteur [DOC]

UN Economic and Social Council Commission on Human Rights, Fifty-ninth session, 6 January 2003$FILE/G0310090.doc

[accessed 13 June 2011]

[52] Children involved in prostitution are taken into custody by the internal security forces and referred through the Department of Public Prosecutions directly to a juvenile misdemeanors court.  Children are normally given custodial sentences of between three and six months.  Females serve their sentences in Ba’abda women’s prison but have little access to rehabilitation facilities apart from a few activities carried out in association with external organizations.  Male children are imprisoned in a juvenile facility at Rumiyyah prison where they are separated from the men.  Rehabilitation programs including vocational training are run in the juvenile facility.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Marie Darmayan, ECPAT International, 2016

[accessed 2 September 2020]


Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Lebanon. 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 penal code prohibits and punishes commercial sexual exploitation, child pornography, and forced prostitution. The minimum age for consensual sex is 18 for both men and women, and statutory rape penalties include hard labor for a minimum of five years and a minimum of seven years’ imprisonment if the victim is younger than 15 years old. The government generally enforced the law.

The ISF, DGS, and judicial officials improved enforcement of the country’s antitrafficking law, which prohibits the sexual exploitation of children. NGOs provided training throughout the year to increase police and judicial officials’ sensitivity to the issue and reported increased numbers of potential victims that authorities referred to NGO-run shelters and victim protection programs. This included a training for DGS officers focused on behavioral psychology and effective communication skills with victims with trainees selected from departments that specialize in direct communication with citizens, migrants, refugees, travelers, and those at the airport and at the administrative retention center. Separately, four trainings were conducted for DGS officers on countertrafficking and identification of victims of human trafficking.

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 2 September 2020]

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

[page 710]

Syrian girls are trafficked into Lebanon for commercial sexual exploitation under the guise of marriage. (4,20) Some boys are also subjected to commercial sexual exploitation, particularly boys who work and Kurdish boys from Syria. (20,42) Working on the streets is especially common among refugee children from Syria, including Palestinians from Syria

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1 February 2002

[accessed 1 March 2011]

[58] The Committee is concerned at the insufficient data on and awareness of the phenomenon of sexual exploitation of children in Lebanon.

Child prostitution still taboo, despite laws

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, BEIRUT, 6 March 2006

[accessed 13 March 2015]

"My parents needed money so they sent me to work as a housemaid at the age of 12. Do you know how much I had to put up with in my situation?" Nadine asked rhetorically. “All men want is one thing – your body! So I decided to ask for money in exchange for what I was offering.”

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 – LEBANONVarious NGOs have contributed not only by raising awareness, but also by implementing policies and projects aiming at assisting abused children, including victims of sexual abuse. The NGO Dar el Amal has discussed the issue of sexual exploitation of children with Save the Children Sweden and Save the Children U.K. They have jointly taken the decision to set up a committee to develop policies to assist abused children. The committee will be composed of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, the ILO, UNICEF and Dar el Amal. Additionally Dar el Amal is coordinating various activities with the private and public sectors with the aim of protecting children.

5.1 Middle East - State of CSEC/ Attitudes toward CSEC [PDF]

ECPAT International, Looking Back, Thinking Forward, 1999-2000

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

[accessed 13 June 2011]

While Israel, Jordan and Lebanon indicate a tacit willingness to address the issue, the majority of the countries in the region have not conducted research and deny the possibility that children are being sexually exploited for commercial purposes.  Open discussions of sex related issues are regarded as a social taboo thus further explaining the lack of research and acknowledgement of CSEC.  While the extent of child prostitution in the Middle East region is unknown, anecdotal evidence indicates that there is a large problem in selected areas of the region.

Commercial sexual exploitation of children - Middle East/North Africa region

based on the situation analysis written by Dr Najat M’jid for the Arab-African Forum against Commercial Sexual Exploitation, Rabat, Morocco, 24-26 October 2001 -- Source document (in French): Rapport sur la situation de l’exploitation sexuelle des enfants dans la région MENA, 10 septembre 2001

[accessed 13 June 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.  Often the issue is dealt with more generally under headings such as ‘violence’ and ‘trauma’.  This means that there has been no regional consensus on defining CSEC in law; in some countries, for example, it is looked upon as an indecent act, in others as rape, although in all 20 countries there is some section of the penal code that can be invoked against sexual abuse and exploitation.




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 17 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 - It is common for children to earn family income by working in the fields or begging in the streets.  Non-Lebanese children constitute 10 to 20 percent of children working in the formal sector, but make up a larger share of children working on the street.  There have been reported cases of child prostitution and other situations that amount to forced labor.  Although Lebanon is a destination country for women trafficked from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union for the purposes of involuntary domestic servitude and prostitution, there are no official government reports of child trafficking in the country.

Human Rights Reports » 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 28, 2005

[accessed 9 February 2020]

CHILDREN - NGO's throughout the country reported that child prostitution was a problem. The authorities discovered and broke up three child prostitution rings. In two of the cases, the perpetrators were charged with facilitation, in the third, with child prostitution. At year's end, the cases were pending prosecution.

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