Abstract: Gendered Dimensions of Demand for Child Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) in Kathmandu, Nepal (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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Gendered Dimensions of Demand for Child Commercial Sexual Exploitation (CSEC) in Kathmandu, Nepal

Friday, January 22, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Lucy Jordan, Associate Professor, University of Hong Kong, Hk, Hong Kong
Clifton Emery, PhD, MS, MSW, MA, Associate Professor, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Xiaochen Zhou, Phd, Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Alhassan Abdullah, Student, HKU
Background and purpose:

Child commercial sexual exploitation (CSEC) is recognized as one of the worst forms of child labor. The current study offers insight into the demand side of CSEC-customers who frequent Adult Entertainment Sector (AES) services including those who engage in CSEC in Kathmandu using a rigorous sampling designdesigned to capture this hidden population.This study explores factors contributing to perpetuation of demand for CSEC including knowledge,attitudes and behaviours related to gender among the male Nepali population. It highlights how cultural understandings about gender, including patriarchal beliefs and fantasy towards young girls are important determinants of CSEC in this context.


A stratified two-stage probability proportional to size (PPS) sampling method was adopted. Locally engaged staff provided counts of customers across diverse AES venues across all hours of operation in two hotspot areas of Kathmandu during the week preceding initiation of data collection. A street-based comparison sample was also recruited, based on population counting within specific geographic boundaries proximate to the selected hotspots. Daily sample targets across time slots were recruited based on the population distribution of the street and venue counts. The study collecteda sample size of 436 Nepali men(30% Street sample, 70% Venue sample; Average age: 28.47).

CSEC was measured by asking whether the participants have purchased sex from underage girls in the past 12 months. Patriarchal belief was measured by agreement with the statement that women should tolerate violence. Fantasy towards young girls was measured by a 7-item scale designed based on existing literature and local knowledge about cultural beliefs in Nepal.


Descriptive, bivariate and ordered logistic regression analyses were conducted. Around 14.2 % of the sample admitted to CSEC and additional 2.3% preferred not to say. Results from ordinal logistic regression indicated that patriarchal beliefs and fantasy towards young girls were associated with increased likelihood of CSEC. A single standard deviation increase on the young girl fantasy scale was associated with 1.875 times higher odds of an increase on the CSEC scale (p < .01). Endorsement of the idea that women should tolerate violence in order to preserve the family was associated with 1.824 times higher odds of an increase on the CSEC scale (p < .01). The model controlled for respondent education, age, refusal conversion, hotspot, venue, and participant salary.

Conclusion and implications:

The current study offers insight into the demand for and occurrence of CSEC in two hotpot areas of Kathmandu with the implementation of a rigorous sampling protocol for the first time. It identified key determinants which suggest areas of intervention to specifically target gender inequalities including patriarchal beliefs and male’s fantasy about young girls which are strongly associated with the incidence of CSEC among a male urban Nepali population. Targeting demand for CSEC is an important part of reducing its incidence and should form part of a comprehensive intervention approach to address gendered economic inequalities which place girls at risk for exploitation and violation of their human rights in developing countries such Nepal. (word count: 494)