The Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) guarantees that children have the right to live free from all types of violence. The sexual exploitation of children is a grave violation of children’s rights with devastating long-term consequences. Research on this subject is growing. However, most of it centres on girls, neglecting the needs, experiences and perspectives of boys as well as youth who identify outside the gender binary. Expanding the scope of this research is a critical step in ensuring that all children’s rights can be protected.
To strengthen the existing evidence base, this literature review examines: (1) the magnitude, causes, risk factors and consequences of the sexual exploitation of boys and (2) ethical and methodological challenges that pervade research on this topic. Eligible studies included quantitative and qualitative research published in English from 1999 to March 2020.