Youth Sexual Exploitation

Where Does Recruitment Happen?

Recruitment can and does take place in any venue where children and youth spend time. Some common places where recruiting can take place are:

  • Internet chat rooms
  • school grounds
  • stores, video arcades and strip malls near schools
  • public transit areas (bus stops, LRT stations)
  • shopping malls, especially food courts
  • coffee shops
  • community centres
  • areas where sex work activities take place
  • bars, lounges and pool halls
  • youth centres and group homes
  • truck stops, gas stations and bus depots
  • any place children and youth are identified by pimps and recruiters as being vulnerable


Online sexual exploitation

The Internet is increasingly becoming an entry point and a vehicle for a billion dollar global exchange of pornography that exploits children. Online sexual exploitation involves the use of digital communication to sexually humiliate, manipulate or harm a youth. This includes:

  • engaging in sexual activities online (cybersex)
  • sending, creating or distributing sexual images
  • luring youth to another neighbourhood, city or country

Youth are actively involved in online experimentation with identity, peer relations, risk taking and the creation of a virtual community where they feel safe, secure and supported by their peers while they discover their capabilities, creativity and individuality. The Internet has proven to be an alarmingly effective new tool through which many youth are lured or forced into sexual exploitation at an early age.

However, this new virtual community development also presents an opportunity to reach out to youth, build relationships and join them in their own environment. This is a community that is rapidly expanding to include a variety of resources, forums, chat rooms and blogs.

See Safe Online Outreach for more information about online exploitation of children and youth, and how to prevent it.