Every year in Britain hundreds of children and young people are involved in prostitution. Children as young as ten are forced to sell their bodies to adults, sometimes for money, often in return for a bed for the night. Many have little choice; they are often homeless, having run away from home or local authority care, and have no money. Many have experienced abuse and family conflict. This book arises out of The Children's Society's experience of working with children and teenagers on the streets. The report argues for a radical new approach to child prostitution. It poses the question of whether it is acceptable that a child abused at home is protected whereas a child abused on the streets is criminalized. The book looks at the experiences of the children and teenagers involved in prostitution. It considers the devastating effects that childhood prostitution can have on health, emotional wellbeing and future prospects. It summarizes the legislation as it relates to young people and prostitution and describes in detail the criminal justice process through which these children must pass.
The report examines the startling evidence from Home Office figures of the numbers of children cautioned and charged by police authorities up and down the country, and provides the historical background to the legislation and to society's attitudes to children and prostitution. The authors make recommendations to ensure that the police, magistrates, local authorities and other professionals meet their obligations to protect the welfare and rights of all children and young people. Case studies of young men and women who have been helped by The Children's Society's Projects are included.