How are poverty and rigid gender stereotypes placing boys in Morocco at risk of sexual exploitation?  Read the full report

The Sexual Exploitation of Boys

At the 2016 Global Survivors Forum organised by ECPAT International, male survivor-advocates of sexual exploitation explained that services for boys were extremely rare, and even where services may include boys in their work, there is limited focus on addressing the specific characteristics, experiences and supports required by boys.

In 2019 to delve into this, ECPAT co-authored an academic paper that looked at the global situation of sexual exploitation of boys. It showed that despite a growing global awareness that boys do experience sexual exploitation, and at greater rates than previously recognised, there is limited research available to fully tell this story.

Gender, Rights and Responsibilities:  The Need for a Global Analysis of the Sexual Exploitation of Boys. 

Why a Global Boys Initiative?

As the programmatic responses to identify and meet the particular needs of boys are scarce, ECPAT International launched the Global Initiative to explore the sexual exploitation of boys which activates our global network of member organisations in a range of research and response activities.

To meet the initial challenge of such limited data, the Global Boys Initiative embarked on a series of research projects in countries around the world, to shed light on understanding the scale and scope of sexual exploitation that takes place involving boys, how they came into these vulnerable situations, and what their needs are in terms of prevention, protection, and services.

Learn more about how this research came about and initial findings in this episode of Ending the Silence – ECPAT’s podcast.

Global Systematic Literature Review

In partnership with academics and students from McMaster University and more than 30 member organisations from around the world, ECPAT International gathered published and grey literature on the sexual exploitation of boys for a systematic review.


Read the review here: Global Review of the Existing Literature on the Sexual Exploitation of Boys

Country Reports Based On National Research

Each country report includes the results of a survey conducted with frontline social service providers about services available to boys subjected to sexual exploitation, analysis of how well the legal framework protects boys and girls from sexual exploitation and recommendations for immediate and future action.

Thailand            EN | TH               or read a summary    EN | TH
South Korea     EN | KO               or read a summary    EN | KO
Sri Lanka           EN                         or read a summary    EN
Hungary            EN | HU               or read a summary    EN | HU
Pakistan             EN                         or read a summary    EN
Belgium             EN                          or read a summary    EN
The Gambia      EN                          or read a summary    EN
Bolivia                EN                          or read a summary    EN
India                    EN                         or read a summary    EN
Morocco             EN                         or read a summary    EN

Survivor Conversations

In partnership with global experts, ECPAT International developed a careful and ethical approach to engaging male survivors of sexual exploitation in conversations with trauma-informed practitioners. These conversations focused on the current barriers and needs to improve access to and quality of services for boys seeking help.

These conversations were held in partnership with ECPAT members in Hungary and South Korea and will be included in their county reports.

Methodological Issues In Measuring Sexual Exploitation With Boys

With the aim of encouraging a stronger evidence base, in collaboration with the Global Boys Initiative, UNICEF led the development of a paper that examines: (1) the magnitude, causes, risk factors and consequences of the sexual exploitation of boys and (2) ethical and methodological challenges that pervade research on this topic.

Read the paper here: Research on the Sexual Exploitation of Boys: Findings, ethical considerations and methodological challenges

Further activities will continue to be added to the Global Boys Initiative over the coming year, including:

Regional Learning Events

Learning events that will share findings of the research captured in Country Reports will be shared with sector specialist organisations.

Advocacy Events

Research data from the country reports will be used for targeted advocacy initiatives in partnership with our global network of member organisations.

Special Issue of the International Journal of Child Abuse and Neglect

A dedicated issue entitled ‘Global Insights on the Sexual Exploitation of Boys’ will focus on new empirical research from around the world, with a focus on lower and middle income countries.

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