Deep within informal settlements (slums), many children are forced to take part in prostitution for different reasons, mostly as a result of abject poverty. Surrounded by a world of overcrowding, crime and apathy, young girls are at particular risk.
The girls are usually daughters of poorly educated single mothers who are desperately struggling to make ends meet. Many of the girls are sexually abused by the time they turn eight which puts them at higher risk of entering commercial sex work as they get older.
Some girls as young as 10 years old are breadwinners for their ailing parents or orphaned siblings. In other cases, the teenage girls will exchange sex for money to buy sanitary towels (hygiene products), toiletries or treats. Many times they are not aware of the risks involved, including contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, or about getting pregnant.
These are young innocent children being exploited and abused. But there is hope, even if for one child at a time.