Main Menu
Human Trafficking
Street Children


The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Kingdom of Lesotho

As the number of mineworkers has declined steadily over the past several years, a small manufacturing base has developed based on farm products that support the milling, canning, leather, and jute industries, as well as a rapidly expanding apparel-assembly sector.

The economy is still primarily based on subsistence agriculture, especially livestock, although drought has decreased agricultural activity. The extreme inequality in the distribution of income remains a major drawback. Lesotho has signed an Interim Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility with the IMF.  [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 Lesotho.  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.


The Protection Project - Lesotho [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - A high percentage of persons in prostitution in Lesotho are reported to be children, some as young as 13 years of age.  Children are lured by traffickers or kidnapped and taken to hotels and brothels in Maseru and its outskirts.  Prostituted children in the capital can earn US$7 to US$53 a night, compared with US$13 to US$26 a month for domestic servants; prostituted boys reportedly earn more than girls.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Regional Overview: The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Africa [PDF]

ECPAT International, November 2014

[accessed 2 September 2020]

Maps sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT), online child sexual exploitation (OCSE), trafficking of children for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation of children through prostitution, and child early and forced marriage (CEFM). Other topics include gender inequality, armed conflicts, natural disasters, migration, and HIV/AIDS.

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 law sets the minimum age for consensual sex at 18. Anyone convicted of an offense related to the commercial sexual exploitation of children is liable to not less than 10 years’ imprisonment. Child pornography carries a similar sentence. An antitrafficking law criminalizes trafficking of children or adults for the purposes of sexual or physical exploitation and abuse. Offenders convicted of trafficking children into prostitution are liable to a fine of two million maloti ($139,000) or life imprisonment. The death penalty may be applied if an HIV-positive perpetrator is convicted of knowingly infecting a child. Authorities generally enforced the law. For additional information, see Appendix C.

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 720]

The Lesotho Population-based HIV Impact Assessment reported in 2017 that the HIV rate in adults (ages 15–59) was 25.6 percent, the second-highest HIV rate in adults worldwide. (5,11) Many children in Lesotho become orphans due to the high rate of HIV among adults and are vulnerable to trafficking. (1,2,9,12-14) Children, mostly orphans driven by poverty, migrate from rural to urban areas to engage in commercial sexual exploitation. (9)

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 26 January 2001

[accessed 18 February 2011]

[57] The absence of adequate information, including disaggregated statistical data, on the situation of sexual exploitation of children, is a matter of concern for the Committee. The Committee is concerned, further, that young girls in particular are vulnerable to sexual exploitation in Lesotho and that the number of incidents of such exploitation is increasing.

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 – LESOTHO – No information was received from Lesotho this year.  However, the Committee on the Rights of the Child has expressed concern both at the increasing number of young girls vulnerable to CSEC and at the increasing number of street and working children. The Committee recommended that Lesotho undertake studies on CSEC and reinforce its laws to adequately protect children.




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 18 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 - Commercial sexual exploitation of children is reportedly a growing problem in Lesotho.

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 - Child prostitution was a problem. According to media reports, young girls and boys, many of whom were orphans, moved to urban areas to work as prostitutes. A 2001 UNICEF assessment concluded that child prostitution in the country was a poverty‑driven phenomenon rather than a commercial enterprise and that the financial arrangements were casual and not the product of organized criminal syndicates. However, UNICEF and the government agreed that while the numbers remained small, the trend toward commercial prostitution by children under age 18 was a growing problem in the country. It was believed that the incidence of prostitution was growing, and the average age of commercial sex workers was dropping; however, there was no evidence of third party participation. Child sex workers (including child prostitutes) worked by themselves for economic reasons. There is little capability within either the police force or the Department of Social Welfare to address the needs of children likely to engage in prostitution.

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 - Lesotho",, [accessed <date>]