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Human Trafficking
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The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Republic of Mozambique

At independence in 1975, Mozambique was one of the world's poorest countries. Socialist mismanagement and a brutal civil war from 1977-92 exacerbated the situation.

Mozambique remains dependent upon foreign assistance for much of its annual budget, and the majority of the population remains below the poverty line. Subsistence agriculture continues to employ the vast majority of the country's work force. A substantial trade imbalance persists although the opening of the Mozal aluminum smelter, the country's largest foreign investment project to date, has increased export earnings.  [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 Mozambique.  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

Ministry of Interior

21 303510

Ministry of Justice

21 494264

Country code: 258-



Childhood on the Market - Teenage Prostitution in Southern Africa

Viktoria Perschler-Desai, African Security Review Vol 10 No 4, 2001

[accessed 13 Aug  2013]

INTRODUCTION - Most of the empirical information in this paper is based on the results of both the RA and of investigations carried out in Maputo City and Maputo Province by experts from the Ministry of Welfare, street educators and other researchers. Preliminary information about child prostitution indicates that 98% of the children involved in offering sexual services are female: of these, 26% are between 10–14 years of age. Only 14.1% attend school. Of the others, 69% have dropped out, owing to a lack of financial means to remain at school. Only 12% of these children had reached second grade in primary school, while 7.4% attended secondary school.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Helena Esteves, ECPAT International, 2014

[accessed 3 September 2020]


Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Mozambique. 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 minimum age for consensual sex is 16 for boys and girls. The law prohibits the commercial sexual exploitation of children and child pornography. Authorities partially enforced the law, but exploitation of children and child prostitution remained a problem. Girls were exploited in prostitution in bars, roadside clubs, and restaurants. Child prostitution appeared to be most prevalent in Maputo Province and the provinces of Nampula, Beira and Manica, border towns, and at overnight stopping points along key transportation routes. Some NGOs provided health care, counseling, and vocational training to children, primarily girls, engaged in prostitution.

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 835]

Mozambican children, lured from rural areas with promises of work and educational opportunities, are subjected to forced domestic work and commercial sexual exploitation in urban areas in Mozambique and South Africa. (2,3,5) Research indicates that Mozambican children are also trafficked to South Africa for forced labor in agriculture, street vending, and commercial sexual exploitation. (2,5)

Although primary education is free, families must provide school supplies and uniforms. (28,29) Moreover, barriers to education for children include lack of schools, classroom space, and trained teachers. Many students, particularly in rural areas, face difficulties traveling long distances to get to school. (28,30-32) In addition, physical and sexual abuse is common in schools. Research found that some male teachers demand sex from female students. (1,29)

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

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

[accessed 22 February 2011]

[66] The Committee is concerned that:

(a) Child prostitution is practiced and, according to recent evidence is increasing, especially in the Maputo, Beira and Nacala areas and in some rural areas;

(b) Some children are victims of trafficking for the purposes of prostitution;

(c) As noted by the State party in its initial report (para. 646), “the police’s poor knowledge of the main legislation protecting children from prostitution … their ignorance of children’s rights” and the “lack of guidance on the role of police intervention in this field, as well as the absence of institutions dedicated to the recovery of the child victims” are factors contributing to the vulnerability of children to exploitation.

MOZAMBIQUE: New bridge puts children at risk

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, Chimuara , 7 November 2006

[accessed 13 March 2015]

"At the barracas there are also a number of rooms that are rented out by the hour. There is a lot going on - children also work in the bars - and there is nearly no monitoring by authorities," Engering commented.  A former barraca owner quoted in 'A Bridge Across the Zambezi', a recent report by SC-UK assessing the social consequences of the bridge construction project, admitted to profiting from child prostitution: "I had six girl sex workers working for me, and I had rooms in the back ... others continue to have bars and rooms available and hire girl sex workers."

One 12-year-old was quoted as saying, "Many young girls in this area chat with men. They get pregnant and make abortions here by the river ... they do not know how to use condoms and do not want to go to school."  The SC-UK report estimated HIV/AIDS prevalence in Caia and Chimuara at over 20 percent.

AIDS, Pregnancy and Poverty Trap Ever More African Girls

Sharon Lafraniere, New York Times, Patrice Lumumba Mozambique, June 3, 2005

Click [here] to access the article.  Its URL is not displayed because of its length

[accessed 15 September 2011]

But for the last 25 years, the trends had been positive. African girls, like girls elsewhere, were marrying later, and a growing percentage were in school.  The AIDS epidemic now threatens to take away those hard-won gains. Orphaned and impoverished by the deaths of parents, girls here are being propelled into sex at shockingly early ages to support themselves, their siblings and, all too often, their own children.

Flora said she remembers how her father's earnings from work in South Africa's mines kept the family supplied. After he died in 2000 at 36, she said, her mother's earnings as a cook for a Bible school - the equivalent of less than $35 a month - did not go far enough.

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 – MOZAMBIQUE – The Ministry of Coordination of Women’s Affairs and Social Action in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior has been undertaking sensitization activities for the police on child abuse and child prostitution. Rede da Criança, a local NGO, also carries out community sensitization campaigns on CSEC.  In terms of protection, reform to legislation affecting children, which will include CSEC, is envisaged. Reports indicate that the Ministry of Coordination of Women’s Affairs and Social Action is focusing on the implementation of an Act that prohibits minors from entering nightclubs, bars and similar establishments.

Comparative Criminology - A comparative Criminology Tour of the World

Dr. Robert Winslow, San Diego State University, July 15, 2003

[accessed 23 June 2011]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - Child prostitution appeared to be most prevalent in Maputo and Beira, and at border towns and overnight stopping points along key transportation routes. There was no evidence that it exists in other rural areas. Child prostitution reportedly was growing in the Maputo, Beira, and Nacala areas, which have highly mobile populations and a large number of transport workers. According to the Child Network, a domestic NGO, some members of the U.N. peacekeeping force that was in the country between 1992 and 1994 may have initiated child prostitution in Manica Province. In addition, many child prostitutes have been infected with HIV/AIDS.

Child Prostitutes brought to SA

Mandy Rossouw, Beeld, Johannesburg, 2003-02-19

[accessed 3 August 2011]

Child prostitution is flourishing in South Africa and syndicates are bringing thousands of children from Asiatic and African countries into the country to sell their bodies. A report compiled by UN officials who investigated child abuse, child rape and prostitution in South Africa claims that children were abducted or lured with false promises from Angola, Mozambique, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Eastern Europe.

Child Trafficking Projects in southern Africa

01. 06. 2005

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

[accessed 15 September 2011]

In Mozambique, girls are sometimes not even ten years old when they are sold off, mainly to be forced into prostitution.

Seduction, Sale & Slavery: Trafficking In Women & Children For Sexual Exploitation In Southern Africa [PDF]

Jonathan Martens, Maciej ‘Mac’ Pieczkowski, & Bernadette van Vuuren-Smyth, International Organization for Migration IOM Pretoria SA, May 2003

[accessed 23 April 2012]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - The major findings may be summarized as follows:

Mozambican victims include both girls and young women between the ages of 14 and 24. They are offered jobs as waitresses or sex workers in Johannesburg, and pay their traffickers ZAR 500 to smuggle them across the border in minibus taxis either at Komatipoort or Ponta do Ouro. They stay in transit houses along South Africa’s border with Mozambique and Swaziland for one night where they are sexually assaulted as an initiation for the sex work that awaits them. Once in Johannesburg, some are sold to brothels in the Central Business District (CBD) for ZAR 1000. Others are sold as slaves on private order for ZAR 550, or shopped around to mineworkers on the West Rand as ‘wives’ for ZAR 650. An estimated 1000 Mozambican victims are recruited, transported, and exploited in this way every year, earning traffickers approximately ZAR 1 million annually.

Mozambique: children sold for organs

Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey, Pravda.Ru, Lisbon Portugal, 15.10.2001

[accessed 22 February 2011]

Children are being kidnapped or sold in Mozambique and are being used in prostitution rings and forced labor rackets in Zimbabwe and South Africa. Others are less fortunate – they are killed before their vital organs are removed and sold for transplantation.

Child Protection - Progress and challenges

United Nations Children's Fund UNICEF, February 14, 2011

[accessed 23 June 2011]

VIOLENCE, EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE - Sexual exploitation and abuse against children and women also occur at home and in the workplace. In a study done by the Ministry of Women and Social Action, as many as 34 per cent of women surveyed reported having been beaten and ten per cent of the respondents reported to have been subjected to some form of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse and harassment is also a problem in schools. Case studies suggest that 8 per cent of primary school children have been sexually abused and another 35 per cent have experienced sexual harassment.

Children of Conflict - Child Workers

BBC World Service

[accessed 23 June 2011]

PROSTITUTION - For such children, living a hand to mouth existence on the streets selling their bodies, gives them access to much larger amounts of money. In this way, children can often earn more than adults in regular employment. 9-year-old Mariazinha, lost a leg in a car accident and uses crutches. The easiest way for Mariazinha to earn money is to have sex with white tourists visiting Mozambique.

Protection Project:  Mozambique [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

Factors pushing girls into prostitution in Mozambique include poverty, unequal gender relations, the breakdown of the traditional family, a lack of education, and prior sexual abuse. Some peacekeeping soldiers with the UN operation in Mozambique have been accused of recruiting girls into prostitution. Also it has been asserted that tourists visiting Mozambican cities contribute to the problem of child prostitution.

Government Reaffirms Commitment to Children - 1997

Mozambique News Agency, AIM Reports, Number 112, 18th June 1997

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Deputy Social Welfare Minister Filipe Manjate urged society as a whole to "protect children against prostitution and sexual abuse", saying this should be Mozambicans' top priority. "Domestic violence, sexual abuse of children, child prostitution and drug consumption by minors must be fought against", he said.




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

ECPAT International, 2007

[accessed 23 June 2011]

Since the 1990s, child prostitution has grown significantly in urban areas of Mozambique. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child noted the existence of and an increase in child prostitution in Maputo, Beira, Nacala and some rural areas. The majority of victims are girls, some as young as 10 to 14 years old, most with little or no education. Girls typically receive between US$1 and US$4.50 from each client, with the average being US$2.50. Prices tend to be higher for sexual intercourse without a condom, which leads many children to agree to engage in unprotected sex in order to boost their income. Many of these girls are employed as domestic workers or in subsistence agriculture during the day and are exploited in prostitution at night for additional money. In some cases, girls who work as hawkers and domestic servants suffer sexual abuse and harassment in the course of their work and “for some, these experiences seem to motivate their becoming involved in prostitution - charging money for what they are otherwise forced to do, owing to the circumstances under which they live.” They may also resort to commercial sex in order to escape highly exploitative working conditions.

While the majority of children involved in prostitution in Mozambique appear to be girls, there are reports of prostitution of boys, although not much information on this phenomenon is readily available. The Committee on the Rights of Child has noted that boys are less protected from abuse than girls.

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 22 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 - The number of children in prostitution is growing in both urban and rural regions, particularly in Maputo, Nampula, Beira, and along key transportation routes. Many child victims of commercial sexual exploitation have been infected with HIV/AIDS. Street children are reported to suffer from police beatings and sexual abuse. Mozambique is a source country for child trafficking.

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]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS – Child prostitution appeared to be most prevalent in Maputo, Nampula, Beira, and at border towns and overnight stopping points along key transportation routes. Child prostitution reportedly was growing in the Maputo, Beira, and Nacala areas, which had highly mobile populations and a large number of transport workers. Child prostitution was reported in Sofala and Zambezia provinces. Some NGOs were working with child prostitutes by providing health care, counseling, and training in other vocations.

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