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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Mali

Mali is among the 25 poorest countries in the world, with 65% of its land area desert or semidesert and with a highly unequal distribution of income. Economic activity is largely confined to the riverine area irrigated by the Niger. About 10% of the population is nomadic and some 80% of the labor force is engaged in farming and fishing. Industrial activity is concentrated on processing farm commodities. Mali is heavily dependent on foreign aid and vulnerable to fluctuations in world prices for gold and cotton, its main exports.  [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 Mali.  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.


Prostitution In Mali, Making The Harm Visible

Fatoumata Sire Diakite, Founder and President of the Association pour le Porgres et la Droits des Femmes Maliennes in Mali, Published by The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, February 1999 -- ISBN 0-9670857-0-50

[accessed 19 June 2011]

In Mali, prostitutes are typically between 14 and 40 years old. They are both educated and uneducated. They are adolescents and adults. They are single and married. Some are called professional prostitutes even though they don’t like that term. Some are called occasional prostitutes because they have been forced into prostitution, or they have ended up there not by choice. Prostitutes work in hotels, restaurants, and brothels. They also work under trees in the street. Those that work under the trees in the street are the ones who are most exposed to and at the greatest risk of being victims of violence.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

The Luxembourg Bureau of ECPAT,  ECPAT International, 2017

[accessed 3 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Mali. 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 3 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law prohibits the sexual exploitation of children, including commercial sexual exploitation. Penalties for the sexual exploitation of both adults and children are six months to three years in prison and a fine of between 20,000 and one million CFA francs ($33 and $1,661). Penalties for convicted child traffickers are five to 20 years in prison. Penalties for indecent assault, including child pornography, range from five to 20 years in prison. The country has a statutory rape law that defines 18 as the minimum age for consensual sex. The law, which was inconsistent with the legal minimum marriage age of 15 for girls, was not enforced. Sexual exploitation of children occurred. The Division for Protection of Children and Morals of the National Police conducted sweeps of brothels to assure that individuals in prostitution were of legal age and arrested brothel owners found to be holding underage girls. Between January and April, 60 percent of the more than 1,000 victims of gender-based violence (including rape, sexual assault, and physical and psychosocial violence) were girls.

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 3 September 2020]

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

[page 763]

Although Mali participates in some programs to reduce the worst forms of child labor, these programs are insufficient to fully address the scope of the problem, especially in artisanal gold mining, slavery, and debt bondage. (2) In addition, Mali does not fund or participate in programs to address child labor in domestic work, fishing, forced begging, and commercial sexual exploitation. (100)

Concluding Observations Of The Committee On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 October 1999

[accessed 20 February 2011]

[35] The absence of adequate information, including disaggregated statistical data, on the situation with regard to the sexual exploitation of children, is a matter of concern for the Committee. In the light of article 34 and other related articles of the Convention, the Committee recommends that the State party undertake studies with a view to designing and implementing appropriate policies and measures, including care and rehabilitation, to prevent and combat the sexual exploitation of children. It also recommends that the State party reinforce its legislative framework to protect children fully from all forms of sexual abuse or exploitation.

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 – MALI – A Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women and Children made up of women and child rights NGOs has been formed. Its activities have been focused mainly on awareness raising through workshops, and sensitization campaigns.  As a follow up to the ECPAT Regional Consultation in Dakar on CSEC, APDF in collaboration with the Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women and Children organized a three-day workshop in July 2001.

Protection Project - Mali [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Child trafficking for forced labor predominates in Mali. In addition, women are trafficked to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to work as domestic servants. Girls are also recruited in Nigeria and brought to Mali for commercial sexual exploitation.

ECPAT International Annual Report - July 2004 - June 2005 [PDF]

ECPAT International

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

[accessed 19 June 2011]

[page 156]  In Mali, ECPAT Luxembourg continued its collaboration with the NGO “Samu Social Mali” to implement a project providing medical and psychosocial support to street children from Bamako for their social reintegration. Night and day, mobile teams meet the children and provide them with medical care and psychosocial support to assist them in their rehabilitation process. 270 children were monitored on a regular basis by the teams. This year, special attention was given to young mothers living in the street.

Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes

LOOKING BACK THINKING FORWARD - The fourth report on the implementation of the Agenda for Action adopted at the World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children held in Stockholm, Sweden, August 1996 -- ECPAT International, November 2000

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

[accessed 19 June 2011]

WEST AFRICA - There have also been reports on the trafficking of children for sexual purposes from Guinea, Mali, Benin and Senegal. The trafficking of children from Guinea and Mali into neighboring countries for either sexual purposes or cheap labor has reportedly become an increasing problem.




ECPAT: Country Report – Mali

[Last access date unavailable]

The main cause behind child prostitution in Mali is poverty. Financial and social setbacks, such as single parenthood or physical handicaps, drive women and girls into the Malian sex trade (known as maki). Child victims of CSEC, as young as 14, are exploited in hotels, restaurants, brothels and on the street. 80% of the girls in prostitution come from rural areas in Mali.

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