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

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                    

Republic of Zimbabwe

The government of Zimbabwe faces a wide variety of difficult economic problems as it struggles with an unsustainable fiscal deficit, an overvalued official exchange rate, hyperinflation, and bare store shelves. Its 1998-2002 involvement in the war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo drained hundreds of millions of dollars from the economy. The government's land reform program, characterized by chaos and violence, has badly damaged the commercial farming sector, the traditional source of exports and foreign exchange and the provider of 400,000 jobs, turning Zimbabwe into a net importer of food products.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]

Description: Zimbabwe

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Zimbabwe.  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.


A 15-Year-Old's Story of Prostitution - Poverty and cynicism in Harare, Zimbabwe keep young women from escaping

Nelson G. Katsande, OhmyNews, NELKA, 2006-August-15

[accessed 18 August 2011]

Tambudzai, age 15, grew up on a farm in Mazowe, northeast of Harare. Her mother died in a bus accident when she was barely six. Her father was a farm laborer, and after the farm was sold to new owners they were forced to leave. Her father died a few months later after succumbing to a bout of malaria.

Following his death, poverty was unavoidable. Tambudzai was expelled from school for non-payment of fees, and none of her father's relatives offered to help. Her dream of becoming a nurse had been shattered. Left to fend for herself, she was lured into the venality of city life and found herself in Harare.  There she met other girls of her age who were already into prostitution, and she gave in to irresistible temptation.


*** 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 17 January 2011]

INCIDENCE AND NATURE OF CHILD LABOR - Over the past few years, the number of children living on the streets has continued to rise and there are reports of children involved in commercial sexual exploitation. Zimbabwe is considered a source and transit country for a small number of children trafficked for forced labor and sexual exploitation. Within Zimbabwe, a small number of children are reportedly trafficked internally to southern border towns for commercial sexual exploitation.

CHILD LABOR LAWS AND ENFORCEMENT - The Penal Code prohibits children from visiting or residing in a brothel, and prohibits anyone from causing the seduction, abduction, or prostitution or children. Under the Sexual Offenses Act of 2001, a person convicted of prostituting a child under the age of 12 years is subject to a fine of up to ZWD 35,000 (USD 6.00) or imprisonment of up to 7 years.

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 17 January 2011]

CHILDREN - There were an estimated 1.3 million HIV/AIDS orphans by year's end, and the number was increasing. The number of AIDs orphans (including children who lost one as well as both parents) was about 10 percent of the country's population. Many grandparents were left to care for the young, and, in some cases, children or adolescents headed families and were forced to work to survive. AIDS orphans and foster children were at high risk for child abuse. Some children were forced to turn to prostitution as a means of income. According to local custom, other family members inherit before children, leaving many children destitute. Many such children were unable to obtain birth certificates, which then prevented them from obtaining social services.

TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS - There were reports of child prostitution, trafficking in children, and child labor. NGOs reported an increase in child prostitution since Operation Restore Order. As with adults, reports suggested that those children in desperate economic circumstances, especially those in families headed by children, were most at risk. One local NGO reported that traffickers took girls from rural areas to city brothels in cities under the false pretenses of job or marriage promises. The NGO reported that rural girls were sometimes trafficked to farms as agricultural labor or to urban areas as domestic labor, where they were sometimes sexually abused.

The Curse of Child Prostitution

Vimbai Komani, The Herald, 10 April 2009

[accessed 18 August 2011]

"My heart bleeds when I see young girls of primary school level engaging in prostitution. More hotels in the country have become notorious in entertaining these young girls that are seen loitering at their foyers and their premises as they search for clients," says Trevor Mutunami from Nyamapanda, a town bordering Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Child prostitution, however, is not only about little girls as young boys are also increasingly being targeted.   The International Organisation for Migration has identified this as a growing problem in Chiredzi where boys are leaving for South Africa where they get work as "comforters", mainly for widows.

AIDS, Pregnancy and Poverty Trap Ever More African Girls

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

[accessed 18 August 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.

In Zimbabwe, a new UNICEF study has found that orphaned girls are three times more likely to become infected than are girls whose parents are alive. In Zambia, orphaned girls are the first to be withdrawn from school.

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 – ZIMBABWE – Reports indicate that CSEC is a rising problem in Zimbabwe. In recent years, poor macroeconomic performance and political instability have had an adverse effect on the welfare of children and have thus increased their vulnerability to CSEC.

CHILDREN: Those The Anti-AIDS Campaigners Forget

Isabella Matambanadzo, Inter Press Service News Agency IPS, Harare, 5 June 1996

[accessed 18 August 2011]

Generally, the boys do odd jobs such as guarding parked cars, while the girls beg.  But destitution transforms many children of both sexes into easy prey for people who sexually exploit them in exchange for a little money, warm clothes, a pair of old shoes or simply a hot meal. The children's immaturity and powerlessness make them less likely than, for example, commercial sex workers, to insist on condoms. This increases their chances of being infected with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV.

Analysis of the Situation of Sexual Exploitation of Children in the Eastern and Southern Africa Region

Draft Consultancy Report Prepared as a component of the UNICEF – ESARO  & ANPPCAN Partnership Project on Sexual Exploitation and Children’s Rights, October, 2001, Nairobi, Kenya

[accessed 18 August 2011]

[4.1] FACTORS PREDISPOSING CHILDREN TO COMMERCIAL SEXUAL EXPLOITATION – INTRODUCTION -  [7] Demand for Sexual Services: The phenomenon of sugar daddies and sugar mummies is common in the region in countries such as Kenya, Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, and Mozambique and is steadily rising in Zimbabwe.  Children are wooed by gifts, presents, money and other material rewards in return to sex. Sex tourism is growing due to an influx of tourists in the region. Pimps, madams, middlemen and parents or others facilitate child prostitution in many societies within the region.  Child prostitution occurs in brothels, massage parlors, streets, bars and discotheques. Lower prices charged by young girls sometimes fuel the demand for child prostitutes.  The girl prostitutes are easily controlled by bar owners and ‘madams’ and hence owners of brothels seek out young girls since they can easily be exploited.

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 - Zimbabwe",, [accessed <date>]



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