So, I sat down this morning to continue the background reading for my project. Since I am looking at human trafficking and exploitation of children I am basically focusing my background reading on a few topics:
- Human trafficking in Chile
- Street children in Chile
- Economics of living on the street (for children in Chile)
- Sexual exploitation of minors in Chile
Today, I was focused on the latter. As I said, I sat down to get into the reading. Having bought a printer yesterday and killed a few trees to save my eyes, I had my highlighter out and was ready to go— but my house was too cold, so I moved to a warmer venue to continue.
Once happily and warmly installed in the new venue, I once again sat down to read the collected research. Turns out that it was not going to be a long read. There has, in fact, only been one research study on CSEC done on Chile.
Side note: Commercial sexual exploitation of minors (CSEC) is understood as any sexual activity that an adult uses a child (18 and under) in for pay or special favors, included but not limited to prostitution (not just intercourse but any sexual act) and pornography.
The study was completed in 2004 and found that there were 3,719 registered cases of CSEC. It is widely understood in the international community that for every reported case at least 8 go unreported. This would bring the number of children up to 29,752!
Of additional significance, Valparaiso had 595 cases, second only to the capitol city.
For more information check out Raices and Paicabi, two organizations that are working on educating the public about this through their campaign: No Hay Excusas! The campaign focuses not on just telling the public about CSEC, but also in dispelling some of the myths used to justify it. Let’s look at a couple of these myths:
- They are no longer kids, they have adult bodies– Children’s bodies develop long before the child finishes developing. For some puberty hits as early as 9 or 10 years old. This does not take away their inherent right to be safe, protected, and a child.
- Its not exploitation if they are paid— Just because you pay someone, does not mean you aren’t hurting or exploiting them. It also doesn’t mean that it is right or that it is not a crime. Finally, since I am in the field of human trafficking, I can’t help but point out that this money probably is not going to the children or adolescents themselves but is being confiscated.
- The damage is already done– me paying them for another round is hardly going to hurt them anymore.– Again, just because these children/ teenagers have been exploited in the past, does not give free reign for them to be exploited again. Think of it this way, if you were shot and I shot you again, I would be doing additional damage. Moreover, the additional damage might make the wound from the first bullet harder to heal. In fact, from a psychological perspective long term sexual abuse is significantly more likely to lead to complex post traumatic stress disorder or multiple personality disorder than a one time incident. It also will take longer and be much more difficult to heal.