Lifestyles and routine activities of South African teenagers at risk of being trafficked for involuntary prostitution
AbstractThe United Nations estimates that 79% of teenage girls trafficked globally every year are forced into involuntary prostitution. About 247 000 South African children work in exploitative conditions; about 40 000 South African female teenagers work as prostitutes. This paper investigates lifestyles and routine activities of teenagers at risk of being trafficked for involuntary prostitution. The key concepts involuntary prostitution, intergenerational sex and exploitative conditions are defined in relation to the lifestyles and routine activities of South African female teenagers. Human trafficking for involuntary prostitution is described, based on a literature review. Lifestyle exposure and routine activities theories help to explain the potential victimisation of these teenagers in human trafficking for involuntary prostitution. Actual lifestyle and routine activities of South African teenagers and risky behaviours (substance abuse, intergenerational sex and child prostitution) are discussed as factors that make teens vulnerable to such trafficking. This paper recommends that human trafficking prevention efforts (awareness programmes and information campaigns) be directed at places frequented by human traffickers and teenagers in the absence of a capable guardian to reduce victimisation, as traffickers analyse the lifestyles and routine activities of their targets. South Africa should also interrogate entrenched practices such as intergenerational sex.
Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2010, 22(2): 91–110