A wide range of individuals and groups contribute to the sexual exploitation of children for commercial purposes. In addition to child abusers, can be also found family members, community leaders, the private sector or organized criminal networks.

Child sex offenders

Child sex offenders come from all walks of life and social backgrounds. They can be found in any profession and in any country. They may be heterosexual or homosexual, and although the vast majority of offenders are male, there are also female offenders.

Among the child sex offenders who come into contact with children, there are two categories:

  • Preferential abusers who have a definite sexual preference for children and are specifically looking for them;
  • "Occasional" abusers usually do not have a sexual preference for children, but engages in sex with children because the opportunity arises.. They do not see a child but a prostitute. The desire to make a new experience, the «financial assistance» to children or the anonymity, etc.., are used as arguments by them to justify their actions.

Family members

Most of the time, we find at the origin the deception and trickery. However, some parents knowingly sell their children to brothel owners or traffickers. Poverty may be responsible, but other factors may also include the lack of family stability, drug use, the need to conceal incest within the family, or discrimination against girls and materialistic greed.

In addition, more distant relatives, cousins or aunts, friends or neighbors may charge a small fee, acting on behalf of sellers and persuade a child to enter in prostitution or lure them away from their homes.

Community leaders

In some countries, community leaders and some influential people in the village are involved, directly or indirectly. These people, whose the role is important, are aware of recruiters in their village, but turn a blind eye in exchange for a part of the money involved.

Private sector

Much of the child sex trade is organized in establishments such as restaurants, karaoke bars, clubs, massage parlors, as well as in hotels and private apartments. The "recruiters" are often former sex workers. Once entered in the sex trade, some children are under the command of pimps (who may be employees of the institutions mentioned above, tour operators or taxi drivers), while others are independent.
These actors may directly be intermediates in the exploitation of children but they can also participate in the exploitation of children by ignoring one situation of CSEC.

Organized criminal networks

It is increasingly obvious that organized criminal networks have an activity of pimps, in recruiting and orienting vulnerable young women and children towards sexual exploitation for commercial purposes and in perpetuating such exploitation.

The reasons are clear: the profits are substantial. For example, it has been calculated that the traffic associated with prostitution, controlled and regulated by some organized criminal networks from the former Soviet Union, can amount to millions of dollars, and that only in Israel.

Criminal networks are known use intimidation and violence as a means to control the victims of trafficking, as well as those who are attempting to address this issue.