Service Provision to Child Victims of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in West Africa

Charles Hounmenou | September 22 | 2:45-3:45 PM | Room 2591

While there is substantial research on the characteristics of the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) in sub-Saharan Africa, there is almost no knowledge on support services provided to child victims. A mixed research method was used to explore the services available to CSEC victims in the West African region. Convenience sampling was used to select 709 children in prostitution and 64 leaders of structures dealing with CSEC in the region. A survey questionnaire was used to collect data from the children and semi-structured interview guides were used to collect data from organization leaders. The findings show that the needs of CSEC victims in West Africa diverged from those identified in the mainstream literature, which partly explains why few victims could access services. Service needs of CSEC victims in the region are different from care models in the literature, especially regarding trauma-focused care. Issues of service provision were linked to various difficulties encountered by the structures, including lack of understanding of needs of CSEC victims; lack of resources for support services; lack of outreach interventions, and socio-cultural factors. Implications for practice, policy and research will be discussed.
Presentation Objectives:

·       Review policy responses to CSEC in West Africa

·       Analyze stakeholders’ input in the policy response and service provision to CSEC victims/survivors in the region through the framework of aftercare services regarding human trafficking cases

·       Highlight the distinctiveness of service needs of CSEC victims

·       Highlight the challenges for service access and provision in West Africa, in contrast with the mainstream literature on the issue

About the Presenter