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Human Trafficking
Street Children


The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

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

Trinidad & Tobago

Trinidad and Tobago has earned a reputation as an excellent investment site for international businesses and has one of the highest growth rates and per capita incomes in Latin America.

Trinidad and Tobago is the leading Caribbean producer of oil and gas, and its economy is heavily dependent upon these resources but it also supplies manufactured goods, notably food and beverages, as well as cement to the Caribbean region.

The MANNING administration has benefited from fiscal surpluses fueled by the dynamic export sector; however, declines in oil and gas prices have reduced government revenues which will challenge his government's commitment to maintaining high levels of public investment.  [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 Trinidad & Tobago.  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.


Who Controls the Media and Crime?

A. A. Hotep, Editorial, Trinidad & Tobago News, April 24, 2005

[accessed 1 August 2011]

The mainstream media only took up the issue of street children after we broke the story here in 1996 by encouraging the Mirror newspaper to publish interviews with some of the street children. Before the story came out, people were condemning our claim that there even are children who live on the streets. As soon as the mainstream press picked up the story, they did exactly as the children predicted; they ran a sensationalized story, resulting in the government rounding up a few street children. In the government's view, picking up a few kids solved the problem. The street children knew better, as they had already told me that was the very reason they did not want the media taking up their plight. The children felt they were better off living in the shadows of society, withstanding the abuses that come with living in the streets.

For anyone not familiar with how truly gruesome it was for these children, consider six and seven year olds being raped for fast food. One case I followed closely involved a wealthy white male. He used to pick up a few children, taking them to his home for sex. For this he would give them boxes of fried chicken. One child, after having been brutally raped in a similar encounter, was left for dead in the Queens Park Savannah. sccp


*** ARCHIVES ***

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 prohibits commercial sexual exploitation of children through the sale, offering, or procuring for prostitution, and any practices related to child pornography. Authorities enforced the law.

The age of sexual consent is 18, and the age of consent for sexual touching is 16.

The Department of Labor’s 2006 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor [PDF]

U.S. Dept of Labor Bureau of International Labor Affairs, 2007

[accessed 1 January 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 - Children in Trinidad and Tobago are reported to work in agriculture, scavenging, loading and stocking goods, gardening, car repair, car washing, construction, fishing, and begging.  Children also work as handymen, shop assistants, cosmetologist assistants, domestic servants, and street vendors. These activities are usually reported as being part of family business.  Children are also reported to be victims of commercial sexual exploitation.

CURRENT GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND PROGRAMS TO ELIMINATE THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOR - In August 2006, the Ministry of Social Development published the Revised National Plan of Action for Children, which includes specific goals for combating commercial sexual exploitation of children and exploitive child labor. The National Steering Committee for the Prevention and Elimination of Child Labor, with the advice and support of the ILO, is participating in a project to withdraw and rehabilitate child laborers at two landfill sites in Trinidad and Tobago.

Human Rights Reports » 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, February 25, 2009

[accessed 11 February 2020]

SECTION 6 WORKER RIGHTS – [d] The Ministry of Social Development continued to implement its Revised National Plan of Action for Children, which includes specific goals for combating commercial sexual exploitation of children and exploitive child labor.

The Protection Project - Trinidad & Tobago [DOC]

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

[accessed 2009]

FORMS OF TRAFFICKING - Trafficking in women and children for sexual exploitation is a growing concern in the entire Caribbean region. Millions of children in the region are victims of commercial sexual exploitation, sex tourism, pornography, underage domestic labor, and trafficking.

Sex tourism is reportedly on the rise in Trinidad and Tobago, and European and North American men are the main sex tourists. Tourist agencies and unlisted guesthouses apparently run the industry, by advertising package deals in magazines that include the costs of buying a woman.  Older men are known to recruit children for prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation, and it has been reported that girls across all socioeconomic strata often initiate sexual relationships with cab drivers in exchange for transportation or other goods.

Child labor is a problem in Trinidad and Tobago. Exact numbers of children who are working in Trinidad and Tobago do not exist; however, studies show that children on these islands are working as beggars and street vendors and are involved in prostitution and the drug trade.

Report slams child prostitution

Sean Douglas, Trinidad & Tabago's Newsd@y, July 2 2007,59824.html

[accessed 1 August 2011]

Child prostitution is growing in Tobago, according to a report on the Police Service Commis-sion (PSC) done by a parliamentary Joint Select Committee (JSC) which was laid Friday in the House of Representatives.   Under the heading “Crime against the children of Tobago,” the report lamented child abuse within families and child prostitution.

However further discussion revealed that social and professional intervention was required in addition to enacted legislation.” The minutes included the JSC’s recommendation that “the police initiate a programme of patrolling the streets and malls to remove schoolchildren.

ei Barometer of Human and Trade Union Rights in the Education Sector [PDF]

Education International (, Brussels, Belgium, 23 September 2004

[accessed 1 August 2011]


CHILD LABOUR - The minimum legal age for workers is 12 years. Children from 12 to 14 years may work only in family businesses. The enforcement of the child labour law is lax. Children are often seen begging or working as street vendors. Some children are exploited by criminal gangs to work as guards and couriers for drug trafficking. NGO and ILO reports suggest that child prostitution has been a problem in recent years. No cases were recorded by the police in 2002. The Republic no longer sentences children to corporal punishment or to prison. Child offenders, aged 15 and older, are held at a youth training centre. Younger offenders are sent to an industrial school.

Regional Governmental Congress on Sexual Exploitation of Children  [PDF]

Alexa Khan, Coordinator of the National Plan of Action for Children

[accessed 19 November 2016]

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 – Trinidad & Tobago",, [accessed <date>]