Child Exploitation

What Is Child Exploitation and How Does It Impact a Child Mentally?

Child exploitation has been defined as “the act of using a minor child for profit, labor, sexual gratification, or some other personal or financial advantage.”1 There are many forms of child exploitation, including child labor, domestic servitude, forced child marriage, sexual exploitation and using children in war.

Each of these forms of exploitation causes trauma and other challenges in the lives of children, including the following:

Difficulties in social situations
– Children who are exploited often experience attachment disorders that impact their future relationships and friendships.

Poor emotional health
– Children who experience trauma have a greater risk of depression and anxiety that lasts into adulthood. Childhood trauma also negatively impacts suicide rates in adults.

– Posttraumatic stress often causes irritability, anger, mood swings and more. According to Children’s Bureau, “PTSD in children can lead to depression, suicidal behavior, substance use, and oppositional or defiant behaviors well into adulthood, which can affect their ability to succeed in school, and create and nurture important relationships.”2

Passing along trauma
– Not all people pass on abuse they experienced in childhood, but they are more likely to.3

Lack of hope
– Exploited children have a difficult time seeing a better future for themselves. This is especially true in children who grow up in extreme poverty. They are often promised a better future, an education and meals in exchange for work. Instead, they are exploited and subjected to horrible working conditions with little to no pay. It’s hard for these children to see a way out of that situation and hope for a better future.

GFA World is committed to helping keep children out of child labor by providing assistance to impoverished families. We have been working in Asia since 1979 and recently began ministry in Africa, too. When families can see past their present circumstances, children are less likely to be involved in child labor.

GFA helps families in various ways. For example, our child sponsorship model gives families resources such as health care, food, access to clean water, school items, tutoring and more. These benefits relieve the financial pressure on families so their children are more likely to stay in school and learn the skills and tools they need to break the cycle of poverty that has often plagued their families for generations.

Learn more about child exploitation

1 ”Child Exploitation.” Legal Dictionary. June 23, 2015.
2 “Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglec.t” Children’s Bureau. April 2019.
3 “Long-Term Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglec.t” Children’s Bureau. April 2019.