Bar & nightlife

Children's rights

Bars and nightclubs are no places for children. Violations of children’s rights in such settings include child labour and sexual exploitation of children.

Children and young boys and girls working in bars and nightclubs often face bad working conditions. They have to work long and late hours in a stressful working environment and mostly receive very low wages. Often being surrounded by people consuming alcohol and drugs, children working in bars or nightclubs are exposed to verbal, physical or sexual harassment and abuse by customers or other staff members. Children working in bars or nightclubs may be victims of human trafficking.

Children may be sexually exploited in bars and nightclubs, and sexual exploitation of children often goes hand in hand with children being trafficked. Traffickers take advantage of children without a social network and families living in poverty, coaxing parents into letting them take away their children on the false promise of a better life.

ECPAT’s study on the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) found an increasing risk of child sexual exploitation all over the globe.

Children are at risk from traveling child sex offenders in most elements of tourism: In places like hotels, airports, tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, massage parlours and even on the streets. Offenders take advantage of poverty, social exclusion and vulnerability of the children.

The report also identified new dynamics and highlights that the lines between destination, transit and source countries are blurred and the profile of offenders is diverse. Traveling child sex offenders can be domestic or regional travellers, as well as tourists, business travellers, volunteers or expats. The crime can be committed by anyone and against any child, although some children are more vulnerable than others.

An exploratory documentary on child sex workers in Kenya, broadcast on BBC in 2010. Produced by Moonbeam Films and Linx Productions for End Human Trafficking Now. Sexual exploitation in the touristic coastal areas of Kenya is widespread. Some of the children are trafficked from inside Kenya but also from neighbouring countries, others are lured into sexual exploitation out of poverty with the promise of money and a better life. Children are exploited in hotels as well bars and nightclubs.

Bangkok's Khaosan Road with its bars, clubs, restaurants, and hostels is mostly frequented by Western tourists. The street is also frequented by children sometimes as young as five years old selling roses to tourists. Contrary to what most tourists assume, the children aren't from Thailand and the money they make doesn't go to their families. Most of the rose-sellers are from Myanmar and have been trafficked to Thailand. The money they make goes to their traffickers. According to children’s accounts, they get beaten when they don’t sell enough. The children are trapped in a large mafia network and system of traffickers.

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Take action

Communication and reporting

  • Customer information: inform your customers on how they can protect children during their travel.

Sector collaboration

  • Join The Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism (The Code)

Grievance mechanisms

Find more information on potential measures to take on the "take action" site. 

Learn more

Find more information in the Resource Centre.