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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                  

United Republic of Tanzania

Tanzania is in the bottom ten percent of the world's economies in terms of per capita income. The economy depends heavily on agriculture, which accounts for more than 40% of GDP, provides 85% of exports, and employs 80% of the work force. Topography and climatic conditions, however, limit cultivated crops to only 4% of the land area. Industry traditionally featured the processing of agricultural products and light consumer goods.  [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 Tanzania.  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.


Over 36,000 trapped young girls saved

Sunday Observer, 06 July 2008

[accessed 28 July 2011]

``The organised system that recruits girls into prostitution can involve ringleaders, but it is often the children themselves who recruit their siblings, friends or children living with them in the same house, neighbourhood or in the streets to engage in prostitution.

``In opposition to Tanzania?s cultural norms, desperate parents have had their priorities impacted by their circumstances, and thus welcome this sort of trafficking, knowing they then have a guaranteed wage earner -they give up some of their daughters,`` it reveals.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Country Monitoring Report [PDF]

Rebecca Rittenhouse, ECPAT International, 2013

[accessed 8 September 2020]

Desk review of existing information on the sexual exploitation of children (SEC) in Tanzania. 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 8 September 2020]

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN - The law criminalizes child sex trafficking and child pornography. Those convicted of facilitating child pornography are subject to a fine ranging from TZS one million ($440) to TZS 500 million ($220,000), a prison term of one to 20 years, or both. Those convicted of child sex trafficking are subject to a fine ranging from TZS five million ($2,200) and TZS 150 million ($66,000), a prison term of 10 to 20 years, or both. There were no prosecutions based on this law during the year.

The law provides that sexual intercourse with a child younger than 18 is rape unless within a legal marriage. The law was not always enforced because of cases not being reported or because girls facing pressure dropped charges. For example there were accounts of rapes of girls that went unreported in Zanzibar.

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 8 September 2020]

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

[page 1099]

Tanzania is a source, transit, and destination country for child trafficking for forced labor and commercial sexual exploitation. Child trafficking is often facilitated by victims’ family members, friends, or intermediaries who promise assistance or employment. (4,13,26,30) Girls are often subject to child trafficking, including for domestic work or commercial sexual exploitation; this frequently occurs along the Kenyan border and in tourist, mining, and construction areas, including “megaproject” sites. (4,26,28,31)

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

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 8 June 2001

[accessed 28 December 2010]

[62] The Committee remains concerned about the large and increasing number of child victims of commercial sexual exploitation and sex tourism, including prostitution and pornography. Concern is also expressed at the insufficient programs for the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of child victims of such abuse and exploitation.

Revealed: The dark side of Mwanza street children

Reinier Carabain, Sunday Observer, Dar es Salaam, 21 September 2008

[partially accessed 28 July 2011]

SEX FOR FOODS - Living independently at a very tender age makes children more vulnerable to or places them at higher risk from both physical and sexual abuse. Cases of girls being raped and boys being sodomized by force are not hard to find.  In Mwanza, the street boys had consensual sex with and raped street girls, in addition to practicing ``kunyenga? (slang for nonconsensual, anal-penetrative sex) among themselves as an initiation rite, which allows one to become a member of a group and gives ones access to group secrets`.  But sex-for-food practices (survival sex) did not appear to be regular occurrence among the self-provisioning practices of street boys in Mwanza.  Sex plays a much larger and more central role in the lives of street girls than of boys, especially after puberty.

Around the Soko Kuu market and the bus station of Mwanza, prostitutes offer their services for less than 10,000 Tanzanian Shilling.  The majority of the street children abhorred to observe people having sexual intercourses and shivered from the stories they heard from other street children, who had been raped by older, stronger and bigger street boys.  These older street boys operate in groups and choose mainly smaller street boys as their targets. Especially small street children, sleeping without any strong associates or protection from local watchmen, have been simple targets of forced rapes.  In fact, despite the warnings from other street children, all the participants in both focus groups have been rape-victims of older, stronger and bigger street boys as well.  They had their first sexual experience, either forced or voluntarily, between the age of nine and twelve years old.  Extraordinarily, certain street children were encouraged by their first (forced) sexual experiences; they explored more about sexual proceedings and practiced sex with other street children.  Even a few street children became more or less sex-addicted, others carried out survival sex?; to acquire food in exchange for sexual services. sccp

Former journalism student reflects on Tanzania’s challenges

Victor Lugala, Daily News, January 20, 2007

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

[accessed 28 July 2011]

Not far from the dance halls, there was a negative street phenomenon that has overtaken Mwanza and authorities seem not to care, although they notice. As early as 10 pm you can see a group of girls standing under lamp posts. Some of these girls are probably as young as ten years old, dressed like young adults in tight trousers while others are skimpily dressed in cheap mitumba (second-hand clothes).

When a car approaches they gesture to catch the attention of the motorist. These are the child prostitutes of Mwanza. Some of these are said to be homeless children or street children, if you like.

During the day, they are seen as street children, and at night they moonlight as commercial sex workers serving pedophiles. In their nocturnal exploits these young flesh hawkers are bound to be exposed to cruelty, abuse and infection with sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS.

Migration body to monitor human trafficking impact

[access information unavailable]

She said, although there is no statistics on the magnitude of the problem, many boys and girls are trafficked from rural areas and are abused and exploited in domestic works, mining and subjected to child prostitution.

"Many girls are taken from Iringa and brought to major cities to work as housegirls but they end up being subjected to prostitution and other works which they did not expect.

CRC - Second Periodic Reports Of States Parties Due In 2004 [DOC]

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Consideration Of Reports Submitted By States Parties, 20 October 2004$FILE/G0543723.DOC

[accessed 28 July 2011]

[287] The Government of Tanzania adopted the Yokohama Global Commitment 2001 for protecting children from sexual exploitation.  In implementing the commitment, a time bound program targeting the worst forms of child labor, including child prostitution, has been launched.  At one level, the program will support the creation of an enabling policy environment to bring about the elimination of the worst forms of child labor.  The enabling environment strategy includes supporting the development and implementation of complimentary education, poverty reduction, adult employment creation, and health policies to name a few.  At the second level, a series of targeted interventions will be made and aimed at highly vulnerable groups of children at district level.  At least 5,000 children from 11 districts in Tanzania engaging in prostitution will be reached through this program, but more children will be saved from entering into prostitution or other worst forms of child labor.  In total, over 30,000 Tanzania children will be reached through these direct interventions.  Lessons learned will provide a basis for wider replication aiming at the total elimination of the problem by the year 2010.

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 – TANZANIA – Despite the fact that CSEC is a taboo, newspaper reports and police records indicate that the problem is on the increase.  The 1998 Sexual Offences Act protects children from CSEC and requires that cases involving children be held in camera. It also removes corroboration as a requirement for accepting children’s evidence. However, law enforcement in the country, especially with regards to CSEC, is still problematic.

Tanzania - Children in Prostitution - A Rapid Assessment [PDF]

E. Kamala, E. Lusinde, J. Millinga, J. Mwaitula, International Labour Organization ILO, International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour (IPEC), Geneva, November 2001

[accessed 14 Aug  2013]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY - EXTENT AND MAGNITUDE - The phenomenon of children engaged in prostitution is growing quickly and steadily, and developing largely unnoticed. Moreover, child prostitution is evident throughout the country, and highly pronounced in major towns and at main truck stops along the highways where state, administrative, military and commercial activities are highly centralized. The mere existence of the market continues to promote the sexual exploitation of children. The main customers of the children were common men, medium and big businessmen, bureaucrats from public and private institutions, policemen, tourists and foreigners. Prostitution involves quite a number of children who are 10-17 years old, do not have families, have criminal records, have a history of drug abuse and very few social skills, and lack parental guidance, love, affection and care.

ECPAT:  CSEC Overview - Tanzania

[Last access date unavailable]

CSEC is increasingly organized; with child prostitution networks mushrooming and victims themselves fostering communication channels and mutual assistance to better avoid detention, legal attention or abusive centers. There are major gaps between existing legal provisions and enforcement practices. In fact, law enforcement personnel and other segments of Tanzanian society are actively involved in perpetuating CSEC either through sexual extortion, battery, rape and/or abuse of legal position.

Helping Children Reclaim Their Lives [PDF]

14 February 2006

[accessed 28 December 2010]

DETRIMENTAL WORKING CONDITIONS - Young girls are often lured away from their rural families with schemes that promise lucrative employment in towns and cities, only to be exploited as underpaid domestic servants that work as many as 16 or 18 hours per day. Domestic servitude in urban areas also makes for an easy transition to child prostitution, which is a growing industry in Tanzania. As much as 25 percent of child prostitutes are former domestic servants.

TANZANIA: Child labor common in Zanzibar

UN Integrated Regional Information Networks IRIN, DAR ES SALAAM, 4 Jun 2002

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

[accessed 28 July 2011]

A recent rapid assessment by the International Labor Organization (ILO), an associate organization of the United Nations, has found that child labor is "common" in Zanzibar, with prostitution, fisheries and seaweed farming among the "most hazardous" sectors in which children are involved.

Focus On Children

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs, International Child Labor Program, September 2002

[accessed 28 July 2011]

COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION OF CHILDREN (CSEC) - Through the ILO, USDOL also funds a Timebound Program in Tanzania, which includes the goal of removing 5,000 children from prostitution, and providing them with rehabilitative services and educational opportunities.

Wanyenda: A New Life for a Child Victim of Prostitution

Rose Haji, U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of International Labor Affairs

[accessed 28 December 2010]

Only 13 at that time, she decided to drop out of school and leave home, like many of her friends before her, to escape difficult living conditions. It happened one day when she was going to school and met a boy from a nearby village who persuaded her to escort him to the town where he lived. The boy would bring home two or three of his friends and force her to sleep with all of them for cash payment. She was tortured, sexually abused and sometimes beaten by the boy if she refused to provide the services. Whenever the boy was away, she received customers on her own in order to earn some money for food. Life became unbearable. After 18 months she decided to leave. Not knowing where to go, she began wandering the streets. There she met other girls her age who took her to a brothel.




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 28 December 2010]

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 - Girls as young as 7 years, and increasingly boys, are reportedly victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Children from Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda also engage in prostitution in Tanzania. Children are trafficked from rural areas for exploitation in the commercial sex sector. It is reported that girls are trafficked from Tanzania to South Africa, the Middle East, and Europe for the purpose of commercial sexual exploitation. Children are reportedly trafficked into Tanzania from India, Kenya, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to work in forced agricultural labor and prostitution.

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 11 February 2020]

CHILDREN - The law criminalizes child prostitution, and sexual exploitation and trafficking in persons, including children, were problems. There were cases in which children engaged in prostitution for economic survival with the involvement and knowledge of family members.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - During the year the government took steps to protect trafficking victims, within the limits of its resources. Local police and officials from the Social Welfare Department identified and informally referred child trafficking victims to NGOs that worked with street children and child prostitutes, provided small donations of food and other goods to these NGOs, and identified land available for building new shelters. The government cooperated with the International Organization for Migration's plans for a rehabilitation center between Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo, which opened in November. There were no government or NGO media campaigns to inform the public about the dangers of trafficking specifically, but it continued its nationwide awareness campaign on the worst forms of child labor.

Local government officials participated in district committees that identified children vulnerable to or involved in the worst forms of child labor, including prostitution and forced domestic labor. From January 2002 through June, more than 26 thousand children were prevented or withdrawn from the worst forms of child labor in mining, domestic labor, commercial agriculture, and commercial sex. These children were referred for protection services offered by the International Labor Organization (ILO), including rehabilitation, education, and alternative training. During the year 60 out of 90 labor officers nationwide received intensive 3-month training on the new labor laws and application of child labor provisions, as well as on recognizing the worst forms of child labor such as prostitution and forced labor. The Ministry of Home Affairs coordinated an inter-ministerial committee on trafficking, but it met only once during the year.

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