The dearth of evidence limits awareness about commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) and impedes the design and implementation of context-appropriate policy and program responses in Bangladesh. Registered brothels are believed to be a key site of exploitation of girl children under the age of 18. Many of the young girls exploited in brothels are “second-generation,” born to a sex worker and an unknown client. Some studies suggested child survivors of CSEC sometimes end up on the streets through trafficking, family breakdowns, or poverty. Despite the staggering scale of the problem, the CSEC remains almost invisible in Bangladesh.

This mixed-method study is one of the few large-scale and scientific studies to examine commercial sexual exploitation of children, including its size, prevalence, the entry and experience of girls, condition, types and forms of CSEC, and levels of coercion associated with it. The study, which took place in 20 hotspots of Dhaka city and three selected brothels of Dhaka Division aims to provide size estimation of CSEC through interviewing retrospectively brothel-based and street-based female sex workers (FSWs) aged 18–22 years.