Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Sexual Exploitation of Trafficked Children: Survey Evidence from Child Sex Workers in Bangladesh

Shoji, Masahiro and Tsubota, Kenmei (2021): Sexual Exploitation of Trafficked Children: Survey Evidence from Child Sex Workers in Bangladesh.

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Abstract

Human trafficking is a serious humanitarian problem. Using a nationally representative survey of Bangladeshi child sex workers and an instrumental variable model, we examine the working conditions of trafficked child sex workers and how they differ from those of nontrafficked child sex workers. Existing studies investigating trafficking victimization only used a sample of rescued/escaped victims, and this study is the first to analyze those who are still being exploited. We find that the victims trade sex with 190 percent more clients at a 67.8 percent lower wage and are more exposed to violence, leading to sickness, such as fever and headache. However, the differences in the prevalence of STDs and injury are insignificant presumably because the owners have an incentive to protect the victims from STDs. These findings suggest that evaluating sex workers’ working conditions by the prevalence of STDs alone may underestimate the severity of the exploitation of victims. Furthermore, conducting an empirical analysis without distinguishing between trafficked and nontrafficked workers, as performed in previous studies, leads to misunderstandings regarding the sex industry. We also contribute to the literature concerning the worst form of child labor by providing the first rigorous evidence of the working conditions of child sex workers. Finally, four implications for practitioners are discussed.

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