Torture in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                            

Republic of Nicaragua

Nicaragua has widespread underemployment and the second lowest per capita income in the Western Hemisphere. The US-Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has been in effect since April 2006 and has expanded export opportunities for many agricultural and manufactured goods. Textiles and apparel account for nearly 60% of Nicaragua's exports, but recent increases in the minimum wage will likely erode its comparative advantage in this industry.  [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 Nicaragua.  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.


Nicaragua Chamber of Tourism vows to fight child prostitution

Xinhua News Agency, June 15, 2006

[accessed 27 June 2011]

The plan will target hotels, travel agencies, car rental offices, taxis, bars, restaurants, to stop minors from selling sexual services to tourists, said Judith Acevedo, the executive secretary of Canatu.

Child Prostitution: A Growing Scourge

W. E. Gutman, Panama News, Tegucigalpa, Vol. 10, No. 7, April - 17, 2004

[accessed 27 June 2011]

[accessed 24 October 2017]

A REGION OUT OF CONTROL - Sex tourism is a growing and lucrative enterprise for criminal networks operating in Nicaragua, Central America's largest and poorest nation.  According to Casa Alianza, between 1,200 and 1,500 girls and young women work the brothels of Managua, and almost half are under the age of 18.  A study of 300 street children by the Nicaragua Ministry of Family reveals that more than 80 percent admitted to engaging in prostitution to support their drug habits.


*** ARCHIVES ***

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 12 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Child prostitution is a problem in Nicaragua, particularly in Managua, port cities, along the Honduran and Costa Rican borders, and near highways. Prostitution also occurs in rural areas. Nicaragua is considered to be a source and transit country for trafficking within Central America and Mexico.

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs - Media Report

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, June 23, 2004

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

[accessed 27 June 2011]

1. CHILD LABOR IN NICARAGUA - Child prostitution has risen in Nicaragua, particularly in Managua and in port cities along the Honduran and Costa Rican borders.  According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), prostitution among children between the ages of 12 and 16 has grown significantly; in towns, taxi drivers often operate as “middlemen” in the commercial sexual exploitation of these children. The Organization of American States (OAS) has also noted increased sexual exploitation of girls as young as 10 years old. Truck drivers and other travelers, including foreigners, are known to engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of young girls in rural areas, particularly in towns along the Pan-American Highway.

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 12 December 2010]

CHILDREN - Child prostitution was a problem. While the law defines statutory rape as sexual relations with children who are 13 years of age and younger, there is no legal prohibition on prostitution by juveniles 14 years of age and older.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 3 June 2005

[accessed 12 December 2010]

[70] While welcoming the measures taken by the State party to combat and raise awareness about the problem of sexual exploitation and trafficking in persons, the Committee is concerned at the information that a consistent number of children are victims of sexual violence, pornography, remunerated sexual activity and sexual tourism in Nicaragua and that sexual abuse and exploitation in its various forms, including trafficking, pornography and sexual tourism, have not been classified yet as crimes in the Penal Code.

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 UPDATESNICARAGUA – Efforts to prevent the commercial sexual exploitation of children are being carried out by TESIS, a NGO. It has a team that it dispatches to different parts of the country to carry out prevention and awareness raising workshops. The workshops also instruct the local communities on how to carry out prevention and awareness raising activities of their own. In Managua, TESIS also runs a small school for the children of prostitutes and runs a theatre for children at risk of falling victim to commercial sexual exploitation. Children and youngsters are involved in TESIS’ projects and especially in the theatre prevention project. There has also been an increase in reports of CSEC in the press.

Broken Bodies - Broken Dreams: Violence Against Women Exposed [PDF]

Image by Evelyn Hockstein, UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN

[accessed 27 June 2011]

[caption at the bottom of page 48]

“Roxanna” takes a rest while waiting for clients alongside a main road in Managua, Nicaragua. She is 15 years old and walks the streets at night with other teenagers who also work as prostitutes to help their families.

Roxanna, like many of them, had been sexually abused when she was younger: “I was raped when I was 13 by two guys. It was seven in the evening, and I was on my way home from the market. I had to stay at home for a month after the rape.

“We needed money — we were so in debt that I decided to go to the streets.”  Roxanna’s father left the family when she was nine, and her mother is 60 years old and diabetic. “She has ulcers on her legs and can’t walk,” Roxanna said. “Two months after I started working she asked me how I earned the money. I told her — she agreed there was no alternative. Now I go out every night.”

Working to Help Coffee’s Children

Tea & Coffee Trade OnLine, Vol.176 No.2, Feb/March 2002

[accessed 27 June 2011]'s+children.-a085013144

[accessed 13 November 2016]

PRICE CRISIS EXACERBATES POVERTY AND CHILD LABOR  - In extreme cases this year, children of coffee workers and farmers are being forced into harsher, more exploitive forms of child labor. Displaced coffee workers in Nicaragua, according to a recent news story in La Prensa, have congregated near the Costa Rican border, and reports of child prostitution have sprung up for the first time there, as families have been driven to desperate actions just to survive.

Government survey reveals increase in child prostitution in Nicaragua

August 23, 1999

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

[accessed 27 June 2011]

[in the column at the right -- scroll down to Monday, Aug 23]

GOVERNMENT SURVEY REVEALS INCREASE IN CHILD PROSTITUTION IN NICARAGUA - The official study involved interviews with 300 child prostitutes -- 70.3 percent adolescent girls and 29.7 percent adolescent boys -- conducted in the areas of Managua, Corinto, Bluefields, Rivas and Leon.  The majority of the 300 children questioned said they didn't attend school: 28.4 percent said they didn't want to, 20.2 percent didn't have the money and 11.1 percent said they had to work to support their children.

Sex Tourism Plagues Central America

Paul Jeffrey, Response Magazine for United Methodist Women UMW

[accessed 27 June 2011]

Street children who used to sniff relatively inexpensive glue are now turning to crack, readily available in the region as Central American military officials, no longer living high on the hog from U.S. military assistance, turn to drug trafficking to make money. Since crack is more costly than glue, street kids are more likely to sell their bodies to finance their habit.  Much of the growth of child prostitution in Central America has occurred in the last three years. A recent study of 300 street children by the Nicaraguan Ministry of Family showed that more than 80 percent had begun to work as prostitutes in the past year.

The Protection Project - Nicaragua [DOC]

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

[Last accessed 2009]

FACTORS THAT CONTRIBUTE TO THE TRAFFICKING INFRASTRUCTURE - Nicaragua is the poorest country in Central America and the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti.  In Nicaragua alone, 1.6 million children live in poverty and 300,000 do not go to school. Forty percent of children suffer from some degree of malnutrition.  Poverty, unemployment, and high dropout rates from school push minors into prostitution.

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Studies have found that 1,000 to 1,200 women are in prostitution in the city of Managua alone, and almost half of them are younger than 18. According to one report, hundreds of teenage girls in prostitution line the Masaya Highway commercial corridor on Managua’s south side every night.  Sex tourism also exists in Nicaragua. Many women cater to sex tourists from the United States, Canada, Germany, and other countries in Europe.  Child sex tourism is increasing, and young girls are exploited in massage parlors, of which Managua has at least 25.

Young women leave Nicaragua for neighboring countries or other places for promised jobs in hotels or factories or as domestics.  One report recounts the story of a girl who was kidnapped at the age of 12 as she was walking to school in Managua in 1998. She had set out for school alone, as she did every morning. A taxi stopped her to ask directions. She remembers nothing more after that. She woke up in an unfamiliar place among other young girls, guarded by three women. Less than a week later, she was sold to some men, who sold her to others, who brought her to the United States to work in a brothel. For the next 6 years, until she was 18, she was “dragged from place to place and passed from hand to hand.” At the age of 18, she managed to go to the authorities, who deported her. She is now back in Nicaragua after “losing the best years of [her] life and [her] adolescence.”

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 - Nicaragua",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [Nicaragua]  [other countries]