Close your eyes. Imagine a young girl about six tied to a bed in a brothel and forced to service fifteen to thirty men in one night. Imagine this girl living in poverty, after all promises of selling herself told of riches. Now imagine this girl is your own. These are not pretty thoughts, but these actions are commonplace in Asia. In the February 1995 issue of World & I, Christopher P. Baker discusses his findings in the article, Kiddy Sex-Luring the Tourist for Love Beneath the Palms.
In Asia more than half of the working prostitutes are under the age of 16, many of those are under the age of ten. Most people who hear the staggering statistics, just like me, ask why. There are many answers, and none of them could possibly justify the sexual exploitation of children. Many tourists and locals for that matter think that children will be less likely to carry the AIDS virus, which is a misconception. It is estimated that 72.4% of the child prostitutes in Asia carry HIV. Many Asian men also believe that sex with a virgin will rejuvenate them, and that sex with a virgin will cure venereal disease.
Many different countries have been promoting the brothels by selling child sex tours. Police also keep their information about brothels and pimps quiet, making Asia a prime pedophile playground. Pedophiles who find the laws in their countries too strict can go off to Asia and find themselves young girls, or boys. Many of the non-pedophile tourists believe child prostitution to be custom, or feel they are helping the children. What these people don’t know is that most of these children do not keep their earnings.
Of course the main reason for the child prostitution in Asia is poverty. Many child prostitutes are sold by their parents for about $350-$600. Others are lured by the promise of respectable work, while others are kidnapped and held captive in brothels. These children are then required to work off their debt to the owner, usually only receiving $3-$4 for each client, where $2-$3 goes for room and board. Most of these children are on call 24 hours a day, and receive no payment at all.
Child prostitution is illegal in Asia just as in the U.S. The main difference is police in Asia are so corrupt they actually stand guard for the brothels. The UN has also taken steps to help stop child prostitution in Asia. It is a travesty to allow children to be treated this way. The only future a country has is it’s youth, and it is a shame to see them so defiled.
Shel Silverstein wrote a poem that I read when I was very young that told the tale of gypsies coming to buy the town’s children. These thoughts put the fear of God in me as a child, but they are a reality in Asia. Many of the child prostitutes in Asia were bought from or sold by their families to “the gypsies”. Cameron W. Barr talks about child prostitutes in Asia in his article “Asia’s Traffickers Keep Girls in Sexual Servitude”, in the August 22, 1996 edition of Christian Science Monitor.
Many of the children brought into prostitution in Asia are bought from their families. Others are lured by promises of wealth, some are kidnapped, and all end up as indentured sexual slaves to brothel owners. Because of poverty families end up having to sell children like cattle or chickens in order to live. Many families rationalize that their children will then find work and not have to live in poverty. This simply isn’t so. Most of the children sold into prostitution find themselves in third-class brothels in the same poverty they left, and being forced to perform sexual acts for the material gain of pimps, and contracting incurable diseases like HIV. Those who are not cooperative are drugged, beaten and even tied to the beds. On the other side there are other child prostitutes that are accepting of their fate because it was the wish of the family.
Most probably these girls will never escape. Police and politicians are all in on the child sex trade in some degree or another. Because the economy is so bad in most of rural Asia children will continue to be sold as sex slaves, and politicians will continue to hide it, all for the love of the almighty dollar.