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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Moldova

Moldova remains one of the poorest countries in Europe despite recent progress from its small economic base. It enjoys a favorable climate and good farmland but has no major mineral deposits. As a result, the economy depends heavily on agriculture, featuring fruits, vegetables, wine, and tobacco.

Economic reforms have been slow because of corruption and strong political forces backing government controls.  [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 Moldova.  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

Free hotline w/in Moldova:
0 800 77777
Country code: 373-



Moldova: Lower prices behind sex slavery boom and child prostitution

The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Chisinau, 12/Mar/2007

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 21 June 2011]

Two American TV crews have investigated Moldova's growing sex slave trade. In Chisinau, human traffickers now charge as little as $500 for delivering a child prostitute into a life of white slavery abroad. These record low prices are driving up demand, and exports are booming.

MAIN ORIGIN OF FORCED CHILD PROSTITUTION - Organ trafficking and sexual slavery are mainstays of Moldova's economy. Record numbers of Moldovan women are made into sex slaves, forced into prostitution and lifelong servitude.  Moldova holds a dubious world record: The country is today the leading haven for pedophiles and for traffickers who earn fortunes enslaving underage kids in a brutal international sex trade.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Alessia Altamura, ECPAT International, 2012

[accessed 3 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Moldova. 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 - Child prostitution is punishable by three to seven years’ imprisonment. Authorities punished commercial sex with minors as statutory rape. The law prohibits the production, distribution, broadcasting, import, export, sale, exchange, use, or possession of child pornography, for which the punishment is one to three years’ imprisonment and fines of 150,000 to 250,000 lei ($8,520 to $14,200). These laws were generally enforced. The minimum age for consensual sex is 16. The country is a destination for child sex tourism. According to UNICEF, about 10 percent of children in the country were exposed to sexual abuse.

The Prosecutor’s Office to Combat Organized Crime and Special Cases is responsible for investigating and prosecuting child sexual abuse cases, and the Antitrafficking Bureau of the General Prosecutor’s Office is responsible for investigating and prosecuting child trafficking and child sexual exploitation. During the year law enforcement identified seven victims of child pornography production, ranging in age from three to 14. From January to November, La Strada’s Child Safeguarding Team registered 79 new cases of child sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. Law enforcement referred 63 cases for assistance.

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 797]

Both boys and girls are recruited for commercial sexual exploitation. (1,3-5,22) Traffickers recruit children as young as age 10 for prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation. (1) Moldova is also a destination for child sex tourism. (3,5,13,20,22)

In Moldova in recent years, there has been an increase in child online sexual exploitation and sexual abuse. In 2018, the government identified 20 cases in which human trafficking victims were recruited via the Internet.

During 2013–2018, the Prosecutor General’s Office opened 185 cases of online child sexual exploitation, including child pornography. (21) In 2017–2018, of these cases 78 child trafficking cases involved child online sexual exploitation. The National Institute of Justice, which trains prosecutors and judges, has institutionalized a 1-day training module on “Identification, investigation and trial of crimes against children with the means of Informational Communication Technologies (ICTs).” (21)

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 4 October 2002

[accessed 21 February 2011]

[45] The Committee notes that some measures have been developed to combat trafficking, but is nevertheless deeply concerned about the serious proportions of trafficking of girls from Moldova. It notes with concern that there is no precise information about the real dimensions of this phenomenon and that very little support in terms of rehabilitation and reintegration is provided to the victims of trafficking.

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 – MOLDOVA – It appears that Moldova has the highest number of girl victims of trafficking for sexual purposes.

Joint East West Research on Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes in Europe: The Sending Countries [PDF]

Edited by: Muireann O’Briain, Anke van den Borne & Theo Noten, ECPAT Europe Law Enforcement Group, Programme against Trafficking in Children for Sexual Purposes in Europe, Amsterdam, 2004 -- ISBN: 90-74270-19-0

[accessed 21 June 2011]

[page 34]  In Moldova, many different kinds of persons, and even UN peacekeeping troops, use the sexual services of minors. In most cases where children have gone abroad, the children’s own parents will have paid US$1000-$1500 to send them out of Moldova, hoping that they might build a better future for themselves. From the trafficker’s point of view, the value of a minor will depend on the destination. The report notes that in Russia, a Moldavian girl can cost US$400, but in the Arab Emirates she can be sold for US$10,000. According to the Moldavian police, in the summer of 1999 police in Moscow discovered two brothels, where 15 of the girls were Moldavian minors sold into slavery for US$400 each, their virginity costing US$150. However sexual exploiters normally use private apartments in order to avoid being detected by the police; they are careful about approaching potential clients, or advertising the services of minors, and they don’t allow occasional clients to enter the apartments.

NGOs urge Moldova and Pridnestrovie to work together in fight against sex slave trade

The Tiraspol Times & Weekly Review, Chisinau, 11/Mar/2007

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

[accessed 15 September 2011]

TOP EXPORT: PROSTITUTES - In Moldova, the situation is much worse. Although formerly one of the most wealthy parts of the former Soviet Union, Moldova is today officially the poorest country in Europe. With nearly total unemployment, the registered daily income of 80% of the population is below a dollar per day. This fact can explain why desperate people sell their organs for money and sex trafficking is rampant. Moldovan prostitutes are now the country’s main export.

40% of Moldova's sex slaves are kids, and both the traffickers and the involved government officials know that children are highly sought after for the sex trade.

Anti-trafficking action in south-eastern Europe: Lack of effectiveness of law enforcement and migration approaches [PDF]

Barbara Limanowska, 14 January 2004 -- United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) Consultative Meeting on “Migration and Mobility and how this movement affects Women” Malmö, Sweden, 2 to 4 December 2003

[accessed 21 June 2011]

[pg 8] INTERNAL PROSTITUTION AND TRAFFICKING - There is more information, especially from Moldova, Romania and Bulgaria, that women and girls are often initially trafficked internally for sexual exploitation. There is information from many countries about the functioning of the internal prostitution market, which leads to the conclusion that the chain of trafficking in sex workers very often starts with the local market. Pimps who “own” women locally and control the internal prostitution market often sell them or move them from place to place. After some time, these women are sold abroad.

A Report On Sex Tourism And Trafficking Of Women And Children

Rev. Father Shay Cullen, MSSC, Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, People on the Move, N° 96 (Suppl.), December 2004

[accessed 21 June 2011]

MOLDOVA - An estimated 30 percent of trafficking victims from Moldova are adolescent girls trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation, according to UNICEF.

Child Trafficking

[Last access date unavailable]

WHAT IS THE SCALE OF THE PROBLEM? - An estimated 500,000 women from all over the world are trafficked into Western Europe alone with Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, and Albania particularly major trafficking source countries for women and children.

Messages from Moldova

November 07, 2004

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

[accessed 21 June 2011]

Some are trafficked repeatedly, due to being unwanted, shunned and stigmatized by their families for having been trafficked and sexually exploited in the first place. They have no place in society and again become even easier prey to the traffickers. Some of these young people become traffickers themselves, luring other unsuspecting children into the world of prostitution, glamorizing this as a profession that affords them an extravagant lifestyle.




ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - MOLDOVA [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2008

[accessed 21 June 2011]

Access to information on the commercial sexual exploitation of children in the Republic of Moldova is very limited and few studies have been conducted.

The ‘entertainment’ sector is often a cover for prostitution activities, and girls exploited in commercial sex can be found in bars, saunas and brothels alongside adult prostitutes. According to International Organization for Migration (IOM), child prostitution is also widespread in hotels and near train and bus stations, and there is indication that some students engage in prostitution on weekends to generate extra income.

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 21 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 - According to the IOM, Moldova is considered the primary country of origin in Europe for trafficking of women and children for prostitution to the Middle East, Balkans, and Europe. According to information gathered by ILO-IPEC through a rapid assessment survey, boys and girls as young as 12 years old are trafficked, many of them recruited by people they know. IOM statistics from 2000-2003 indicate that 42 percent of the trafficking victims who were returned to Moldova were minors

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 10 February 2020]

CHILDREN - Trafficking of children for the purpose of sexual exploitation and begging remained a problem.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – The country was a major country of origin for women and children trafficked abroad for sexual exploitation and men and children who were trafficked to Russia and neighboring countries for forced labor and begging.

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