Essay: Child Prostitution in Asia Forcing

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[. . .] If cases are reported, then police will usually investigate if they feel there is enough evidence or enough of a concern. Another major obstacle to police efforts is the ingenuity and determination of perpetrators. Police have cracked down on brothels which hire prostitutes who have not reached adulthood. Girls from certain Thai provinces have identification cards issued to them which show their age. Owners of brothels have found a way around this difficulty by forging documents which show girls to be over 18 rather than under aged. Some of the hill tribes of Thailand and girls from Myanmar do not have this type of identification (Lim 193). Their look and accent give their home location away to those familiar with the populations of the cities. Unwilling to risk interrogation and investigation by police into these undocumented children, brothel owners allowed those girls to go home. This is admittedly only a portion of the child prostitute population but it led the way for further legislation and served as another hindrance and deterrent to perpetrators of child prostitution.

As with Cambodia, much of the business that is conducted between perpetrators and clients is at the behest of foreign pedophiles that travel to Southeast Asia exclusively to have sexual encounters with children. In 2006, the organization Fight against Child Exploitation (FACE) stated that each year 5,000 foreigners visit Thailand each year in order to violate children (Marquez). These men ignore the fact that they are committing crimes against children and, when questioned by investigators or authorities, often claim that they are helping out the family financially and thus the earnings to the people justify their conduct.


Of the three countries mentioned in this document, Singapore has the most stringent laws against child prostitution and also has a history of doing as much as possible to enforce these laws. Even so, the practice continues and each day more children are sold into sexual slavery and doomed to a life of abuse, beatings, drugs, illness, and death.

Singapore was once perhaps the worst offender when it came to victimization of children. Happily, this is no longer the case. Still there is much room for improvement. In 2005, the government of Singapore, laws dictates that anyone who engaged in sexual activity with a person who was under the age of 16 would be subject to jail time of up to five years. They would also be faced with a fine of almost $6,000 U.S. (S'pore). This may not be much of a financial burden, but the jail time would be non-negotiable and there would be no potential for either probation or some form of suspended sentence.

For male children in Singapore, the punishment for sexual abuse is even more stringent. All acts of homosexuality are illegal in this country, but homosexuality with children is punishable with life in prison (Chua). The government of Singapore has established that they believe homosexuality to be a form of sin. Those who engage in it willingly are punished, but those who would force an innocent child into homosexual acts is the most egregious kind of crime and punished accordingly.

The greatest difficulty that members of law enforcement in Singapore face is in ensuring that the prostitutes in question are indeed under the age of 16. In this country, prostitution itself is legalized. Thus the only component that police look at is the age of the workers. Unlike Thailand, women and men of Singapore do not usually carry or possess identification cards or papers. So, often the police only have visual appearance or the rare birth certificate to give verification of a person's age (S'pore). In the cases of girls who are in their early to mid teens, a little makeup or a manner of dress can persuade others that she is older than she truly is. Additionally, this problem can give those who are found utilizing the services of these girls the built-in excuse that he believed that he was engaging in sexual conduct with a girl who was of the legal age for prostitution. Until 2009, prostitution was only punished when the girl was under the age of 16, but the age limit of consensual prostitution was raised to 18 ("100"). The increase of the age limit made it more difficult for brothel owners and other perpetrators to disguise the girl's legal status.


These three countries are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to child prostitution. Countries like India are estimated to have over one million children currently engaged in the practice. Governments from Cambodia, Thailand, and Singapore all have legislation which makes prostitution of children illegal. However, as explained, these laws can often go unenforced and the perpetrators go unpunished. It therefore becomes the responsibility of the wider world to help these countries protect the world's children. This is particularly true since much of the customers for these children come from countries where prostitution is illegal, let alone prostitution of children. Perverts and monsters from "civilized" countries are going to these poor nations for the sole purpose of exploiting their children (Eirienne). Yet, except for the United States, Britain, Germany, and Canada most countries do nothing to curb the illegal actions of their citizens so long as they are conducted in foreign lands.

The United Nations has made it clear that child prostitution is not to be tolerated in any country of the free world. However, the mission of this group has not done much to deter the practice in countries like the ones already mentioned. Where people are poor, the citizens will do whatever they deem necessary to feed themselves and their families. Even if this means sacrificing the innocence and future of one of their children, it is deemed acceptable so long as the ends justify the means. The United States has passed legislation wherein American citizens who are found to have committed sexual crimes against children in other countries will be prosecuted upon return to the U.S. The U.S. Child Protection Act, passed in 2003, allows the government to track people convicted of sex crimes even when they cross international borders. This enables the government to protect children around the world, even when a pedophile goes on vacation (Marquez). In 2004, one man named Michael Clark became the first person in the United States convicted of using the services of child prostitutes while was vacationing in Cambodia. According to Michael Farrell,

Clark was arrested in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, after authorities there learned he was paying young boys as little as $2 for sex. Clark may have molested as many as 50 children during several years of traveling back and forth to Cambodia, according to the investigation conducted by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), an arm of the Department of Homeland Security.

Since he pled guilty, many other cases of men caught in foreign countries using child prostitutes have been convicted in the United States and sentenced to various prison terms depending upon the severity of their crimes.

If other countries created similar legislation, they could ensure that at the very least the children of Southeast Asia no longer had to fear foreigners abusing them without repercussion or reprisal. Unless the United Nations is willing to create an international task force such as has been done in prohibiting nuclear weaponry in countries of the world, then children will continue to be abused by perverse adults 'round the world.

Works Cited:

Chua, Terrence. "Singapore -- Age of Consent." N.p., n.d.Web. 27 March. 2013.

Colet, John and Joshua Eliot. Cambodia Handbook. London, UK: Footprint. 2002. Print.

Eirienne, Arielle K. "Child Sex Tourism: 'U.S.' And 'Them' in a Globalized World." Student '

Pulse. 1:11. 2009. Print.

Farrell, Michael B. "Global Campaign to Police Child Sex Tourism." Christian Science Monitor.

2004. Print.

Lim, Lin Lean. The Sex Sector: the Economic and Social Bases of Prostitution in Southeast Asia.

Great Britain: International Labor. 1998. Print.

Marquez, Laura. "Southeast Asia a Haven for Pedophiles." ABCNews. 2006. Print.

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Cite This Essay:

APA Format

Child Prostitution in Asia Forcing.  (2013, March 27).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Child Prostitution in Asia Forcing."  27 March 2013.  Web.  22 July 2019. <>.

Chicago Format

"Child Prostitution in Asia Forcing."  March 27, 2013.  Accessed July 22, 2019.