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

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                                

Republic of Rwanda

Rwanda is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in (mainly subsistence) agriculture. It is the most densely populated country in Africa and is landlocked with few natural resources and minimal industry. Primary foreign exchange earners are coffee and tea. The 1994 genocide decimated Rwanda's fragile economic base, severely impoverished the population, particularly women, and eroded the country's ability to attract private and external investment. However, Rwanda has made substantial progress in stabilizing and rehabilitating its economy to pre-1994 levels, although poverty levels are higher now. GDP has rebounded and inflation has been curbed. Despite Rwanda's fertile ecosystem, food production often does not keep pace with population growth, requiring food imports.  [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 Rwanda.  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.


Saving the street kids of Kigali

The Vancouver Province, June 1, 2008

[accessed 15 July 2011]

Rwanda has the highest proportion of orphans and child-headed households in the world, according to a 2005 UNICEF report. Many children lost their parents in the genocide; now AIDS is creating more orphans.  In 2006, Rwanda's minister of gender and families estimated 1.2 million were orphaned and vulnerable. The majority receive aid from charities or were adopted. But a 2002 UNICEF study estimated 7,000 street children lived in Rwanda, 3,000 in the capital alone. Their lives are bleak. In 2004, UNICEF estimated 2,140 child prostitutes were working in Rwanda's cities.


*** 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 20 December 2010]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - There are an estimated 7,000 street children in Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, and in provincial capitals who work as porters and garbage collectors or sell small items such as cigarettes and candy. Such children are at significant risk of commercial sexual exploitation, such as the exchange of sex for services (e.g. food or protection). A study by the Ministry of Labor and UNICEF estimated that 2,140 children are engaged in prostitution in urban areas.

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 20 December 2010]

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - Due to the genocide and deaths from HIV/AIDS, there were numerous children who headed households, and some of these children resorted to prostitution or may have been trafficked into domestic servitude. UNICEF estimated in 2004 that there were 2,140 child prostitutes in the major cities and several thousand street children throughout the country.

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 October 1993

[accessed 5 March 2011]

[5] In view of recent developments in Rwanda, the Committee would welcome the preparation of the new report in the light of the changing realities. The Committee considers that such a report would permit it to engage in a more constructive and fruitful dialogue with the State party and requests that the report be submitted to it within one year with a view to the resumption of the Committee's dialogue with representatives of the State party.

US names Kenya in Slavery Report

Kevin J Kelley, Daily Nation, New York, 06/16/2004

[accessed 15 July 2011]

Sex tourism is becoming more common on the Coast, the US alleges. "Women and children are trafficked from Burundi and Rwanda to coastal areas in Kenya for sexual exploitation in the growing sex tourism industry," the report says. It notes that the Government recently began a registration program for coastal guesthouses, in part to deter sex tourism.

Orphans of the Genocide

Albert P'Rayan,, Kigali Rwanda, February 1, 2002

[accessed 15 July 2011]

That many of the girls who come through shelters and missions in Kigali work as prostitutes and risk contracting HIV is of equal concern to aid workers. "It's difficult… they are unstable," says one of Dion's aides, who identified herself only as Madame Eugenie. "The girls I see spend most of their days in the mission. In the evening, many go to the nightclubs and work as prostitutes for the money they need to survive.

Lasting Wounds: Consequences of Genocide and War for Rwanda's Children

Human Rights Watch Report, March 2003 -- Vol. 15, No. 5 (A)

[accessed 16 July 2011]


LIFE ON THE STREETS - A 2002 survey by Johns Hopkins University on sexual activity among street children [in Kigali, Rwanda] underscored that street children are extremely vulnerable to sexual abuse and sexually transmitted diseases. More than half of the boys interviewed and more than three quarters of the girls, including 35 percent of those under ten, admitted they were sexually active. Sixty-three percent of the boys said they had forced a girl to have sex with them. Ninety-three percent of the girls reported having been raped.

SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST STREET GIRLS - While less numerous than street boys, girls living on the streets experience most of the same problems as boys and, in addition, are frequently subjected to sexual violence. A local NGO recently reported that 80 percent of street girls have been victims of rape, while another study puts the figure as high as 93 percent. One study found that girls who turn to the streets are generally younger than street boys. Street girls are often invisible because they do not travel around in gangs as boys do, staying generally on their own or in small groups.

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 - Rwanda",, [accessed <date>]



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