Boy Prostitution in West Africa

Charles Hounmenou | September 23 | 10:10 - 11:10 AM | Room 2582

Although hardly discussed, boy prostitution occurs in Sub-Sahara Africa. This study, which appears to be the only one of its kind, explored the characteristics of boy prostitution in a major city in West Africa. This study used a quantitative descriptive design based on a survey instrument. A convenience sample of 13 male minors participated in the study. The findings show that none of the participants were homeless or runaway children. Most of them lived with their families while practicing prostitution. Adverse life events respondents experienced prior to entering prostitution include sexual abuse, sexual assault, and family dysfunction. The findings do not show any criminal networks involved in boy prostitution. Respondents’ prostitution practices and the environment of such practices were explored. The findings show a high level of awareness of and protection against sexually transmitted infections among the respondents. Respondents experienced violence by clients, people in the community, and the police. They primarily relied on peer networks and non-governmental organizations for support and assistance. All the participants stated their intention to quit the sex trade. Implications for practice, policy and research are discussed.

Presentation Objectives:

·         To show the prevalence and characteristics of boy prostitution in West Africa;

·         To highlight the influence of environmental factors and culture on boy prostitution practices;

·         To explore issues of protection against STIs and violence among boys in prostitution;

To discuss challenges boys in prostitution face in accessing assistance; and

To contrast the lessons learned from this research with the literature on boy prostitution.

About the Presenter