Child Rescue sees a kaleidoscope of social injustices worldwide, including child marriage and sex trafficking. These two crimes might seem different on the surface, but when we dive deeper we find they’re similar – often their lines blur in a child’s story.

Child marriage is typically an illegal marriage or union between a person under 18 and an adult or another child. Sex trafficking, is about people being sold for sexual services through force, fraud or coercion.

To understand the similarities, let’s consider three common root causes


In developing countries, many girls fall into child marriages or sex trafficking because of poverty, lack of education, and gender discrimination.

Before a girl winds up in crisis, they often have a low status in their country. They might be seen as being worth little, second and subservient to men or – since their humanity is held in such poor regard – sex objects.

Insufficient education is also a strong factor. Girls might have poor class attendance, lack quality teachers, and access to education – like being unable affording school uniforms, books and pencils or needing to leave school for a job to help support their families.

The girls almost always come from impoverished families, with parents sweating in agriculture for just a few dollars a day.

With issues weighing on their shoulders, girls stand near the precipice of both child marriage and sex trafficking. The sex industry opens its arms to financially struggling girls with little education. Traffickers can also prey on their desperation, offering a false job or marriage.

A girl’s parents might send them into a child marriage to receive a bride price and relieve themselves of the cost of supporting their child at home or to give their daughter a life of financial security from a husband.

2: Victims of sex trafficking and child marriages share similar sufferings.

Whether in a child marriage or the sex industry, girls can experience similar trauma.

In these illegal marriages, child brides can experience mental, sexual and physical abuse, alongside common health issues arising from early pregnancies. Premature delivery, miscarriages and even maternal death are among them.

In the sex industry, girls almost inevitably encounter physical and sexual assault, similar to child brides. The assaults include insults, beatings and rape. In their wake can follow diseases and a host of mental health issues including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide ideation and – one slippery step further – suicide.

3: Support for survivors of each crisis follows the same path.

To explore the optimistic side of the coin, victims of child marriage and the sex industry share a similar road to recovery.

In Uganda, partner organisations recognise that survivors of child marriage and sex trafficking need similar services, like education, counselling, medical care and vocational training.

They also teach survivors that their value is equal to men, and provide tools to achieve financial independence. Following recovery, these girls can be transformed into informed advocates against child marriage and the sex industry in their Ugandan communities.

To go full circle, our services help give girls the weapons – like employment, education and dignity – to fight the root causes behind both crises.

Your donation can make a difference in the fight against child sexual exploitation by enabling rescue and empowering survivors on their paths to freedom – give today!