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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Liberia

Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically-elected government in 2006, some have returned. Richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, Liberia had been a producer and exporter of basic products - primarily raw timber and rubber.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Liberia

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


Study Finds Many Girls Selling Bodies to Pay for School

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, MONROVIA, 6 September 2005

[accessed 13 March 2015]

As many as four out of five schoolgirls in war-scarred Liberia are resorting to having sex for cash so they can pay for their education, a study by British-based charity Save the Children has found. With unemployment at 85 percent, sending a child to school costs half the average annual income of around US $115.

"In the capital, Monrovia, an estimated 60 to 80 percent of teenage girls want an education so much, they sell the only commodity they have -- their bodies -- to fund it," Save the Children said in its report published on Monday.  The charity said its researchers uncovered the problem unexpectedly in the course of carrying out their part of a wider global education survey.


*** 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 prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography, and authorities generally enforced the law, although girls continued to be exploited, including in commercial sex in exchange for money, food, and school fees. Additionally, sex in exchange for grades was a pervasive problem in secondary schools, with many teachers forcing female students to exchange sexual favors for passing grades. The minimum age for consensual sex is 18. Statutory rape is a criminal offense that if convicted has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The penalty for conviction of child pornography is up to five years’ imprisonment. Orphaned children remained especially susceptible to exploitation, including sex trafficking.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 June 2004

[accessed 14 June 2011]

[62] The Committee shares the State party’s concern about the prevalence of child prostitution, particularly in urban areas, and is further concerned at the lack of data thereon.

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 – LIBERIALiberia has not developed a national plan due to the instability in the country as well as the fact that CSEC is not regarded as a priority.  There is very little cooperation in actions relating to combating CSEC. The NGO FOCUS Fore-Runners of Children’s Universal Rights for Survival, Growth and Development) reports that it has contacted child rights NGOs and is currently working on modalities for better cooperation.

When ‘Peacekeeping’ Equals Rape

Suki, The American Chronicle, November 13, 2006

[accessed 13 Aug  2013]

[scroll down to August 10, 2007 6:37 PM]

The litany of this sex horror goes on. Refugees International reports that in Liberia peacekeepers patronize a club called Little Lagos, where they have sex with girls as young as 12 and also take porn photos of them. The poor children do all this for a few bucks, or food. Sex with the vulnerable and the exploited is routine for these men all over Africa, and the world.

Aid staff abusing Liberian children, charity says

David Fickling, The Guardian, 8 May 2006

[accessed 14 June 2011]

Liberia is facing an epidemic of child prostitution, with more than half of children engaged in selling sex in some parts of the country, a children's charity warned today.

The Save the Children report found that girls as young as eight were selling sex for items such as food, beer, clothing, perfume or mobile phones.

Others were reported as having sex with adults in return for good school grades, video screenings or rides in cars.

MANO RIVER UNION: Reports That Child Refugees Sexually Exploited Shock Annan

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Abidjan, 27 February 2002

[accessed 13 March 2015]


Refugee children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation, reportedly by employees of national and international NGOs, UNHCR and other UN bodies, fellow refugees, security forces of host countries and other persons, according to a joint assessment by UNHCR and Save the Children-UK. The exchange of sex for money or gifts appeared widespread. The victims were mostly girls aged 13 to 18, while the most vulnerable group comprised orphans and children separated from one or both parents. The perpetrators "are often men in positions of relative power and influence who either control access to goods and services or who have wealth and/or income".

The Experience of Refugee Children in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone [PDF]

UN High Commissioner for Refugees UNHCR and Save the Children-UK, February 2002

[accessed 14 June 2011]

This assessment was initiated by UNHCR and Save the Children-UK (SC-UK) due to growing concerns, based on their field experience, about the nature and extent of sexual violence and exploitation of refugee children and other children of concern to UNHCR in the countries of the Mano River Sub Region in West Africa.




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 – NGO estimates of the number of persons trafficked to the country during the year ranged between 20 and several hundred. Victims were trafficked within the country and from neighboring countries for prostitution and labor. Young children were at a particularly high risk for trafficking, especially orphans or children from extremely poor families.

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