Some taxi drivers take the victims to the border, and also get paid to drive customers to brothels and bars.
Every child who is sold and exploited is surrounded by adults earning money from their misery. Sompop calls it a ‘bloodsucker cycle’ where adults suck every penny they can get out of their children.
• Parents often get an ‘advance’ on the children’s ‘wages’, which the children need to work to pay off. But high interest levels mean that the debt quickly grows and can never be paid back. The children become debt slaves.
• Agents, people in the villages, give tip-offs on vulnerable children, and also get paid to turn a blind eye.
• Taxi drivers take the victims to the border, and also get paid to drive customers to brothels and bars.
• Traffickers who are linked to criminal gangs earn money by buying and selling children like commodities.
• Pimps and owners of brothels and bars take almost all the money the children earn.
• Some local guides take tourists to bars and brothels and get a percentage of the money they pay. Many global travel companies also earn money from child sex tourism.
• Some banks lend money to brothel owners and trafficking networks and earn interest.
• Some religious leaders do not protest when children are sold and, according to their faith, they don’t turn down gifts of money, even if the money comes from trafficking.
• Some doctors are paid to write false health certificates for the children.
• Some law enforcement officials and and civil servants are bribed to turn a blind eye to trafficking.
• Some politicians are linked to the trafficking industry and criminal gangs, for example, treating the criminals well in return for donations to their election campaigns.
Text: Carmilla Floyd
Photo: Kim Naylor