Economic Fallout Driving More Young Girls to Prostitution

by Brittany Houlihan

I tend to get really upset and frustrated when I hear any news about child prostitution.  Well, last week a conference on women’s rights discussed how the economic crisis was affecting prostitution.  One of the most unsettling effects of the global economic situation is that younger and younger girls are being forced into the sex trade.

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) released some figures earlier this year that showed about 21 million people (that’s three out of 1,000 people globally) are forced into labor.  That means they are deceived into jobs they can’t leave.  What’s more shocking is that about 4.5 million of these people (mainly women and girls), were victims of sexual exploitation.  Additionally, human trafficking trade is estimated to generate $32 billion a year.  That is such a devastatingly high amount.

“We are seeing the number rise in these 10 red light districts while the age of the girls is falling,” said Ruchira Gupta, founder of Indian charity Apne Aap Women Worldwide, which works with prostitutes in 10 different red light districts.


“We need to invest more in girls and women so that there are options other than prostitution, organ trade, or (becoming) child soldiers,” she went on to say.  I couldn’t agree more. 

In the conference, rising poverty was blamed for driving more women into the sex industry against their wills.

“Even when you run away you have to go back to the same job.  The only good part is that at least you might work for yourself,” said Tsvetelina Ivanova, a prostitute from Bulgaria who now works for herself in Amsterdam

David Batstone, president and co-founder of anti-trafficking organization Not For Sale, explains the situation a little better.  “Where there is economic deprivation, without the rule of law to ensure the rights of people, they will be taken advantage of,” he explained.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Herald Tribune organized the conference. 

Read the full article here

Photos via and

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