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Child Abuse Negl. 2017 Jul;69:188-200. doi: 10.1016/j.chiabu.2017.04.027. Epub 2017 May 5.

An initial exploration of prostitution of boys in the West African region.

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Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1040W Harrison St., MC 309, Chicago, IL 60607, United States. Electronic address:


There is limited research on child prostitution in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly as it relates to boys. An international research study on child prostitution was conducted in Benin, Burkina Faso, and Niger. A descriptive, cross-sectional research design with a survey method was used to collect data. Convenience sampling was used to recruit the participants. A total of 709 children in prostitution participated in the study, including 261 girls in Benin, 243 girls in Burkina Faso, and 192 girls and 13 boys in Niger. This paper presents only the findings about the subsample of 13 boys. The findings show that most boys lived with their families while practicing prostitution. Sexual abuse and sexual assault were the main adverse childhood events experienced by most boys prior to prostitution. There was no indication of involvement of pimps in the sexual transactions of the boys. There was a high level of awareness of risks and consequences of prostitution among the participants. Consistent condom use was reported by almost all the boys. Most of the participants experienced violence not only from clients and people in the community, but also from the police. Implications for practice, policy and research about boy prostitution are discussed.


Boys; Child prostitution; Family; Intermediary; Sexual abuse; West Africa

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