Research Article Open Access

The Prevalence of Running Away from Home among Prostituted Children in Malaysia

Z. M. Lukman


Problem statement: One of the significant groups of young women in prostitution is the runaways, children under 18 years of age who leave home without the permission of their parents or legal guardians. In this case, runaways also include ‘throwaways’, young people who are forced to leave home or who are not actively sought after when they do leave home. Even though both groups of children are terminologically different, they are in similar situation. Both are not living with their parents or legal guardians. Approach: This research used children-centered approach considering the sensitivity of the nature of child prostitution and the fact that it is a small scale research. A total of 63 sexually exploited young women who were residents in two rehabilitation centers participated in this research. Both centers were located in Peninsular Malaysia (West Malaysia). In this research, both quantitative and qualitative methods were used. Results: The incidence of running away from home among the young women interviewed was excessive. Of the 63 respondents, 84.1% admitted running away from home at least once. The majority of these young women ran away from home because they felt depressed with their family situations, were influenced by friends or boyfriends, or they were having problems with their mothers/stepmothers. When asked about problems at home, 81% confessed that they had problems at home. There were four major problems frequently cited by the young women: Parental lack of love and attention (emotional neglect), family members always fighting, parental lack of responsibility or physical neglect and parental substance abuse and/or gambling. All the young women agreed that the problems faced at home had had significant impacts on their life. Conclusion: Neglect, abuse and violence at home appeared to be contributing factors towards children running away from home thus leading them into prostitution.

Journal of Social Sciences
Volume 5 No. 3, 2009, 157-162


Submitted On: 18 May 2009 Published On: 30 September 2009

How to Cite: Lukman, Z. M. (2009). The Prevalence of Running Away from Home among Prostituted Children in Malaysia. Journal of Social Sciences, 5(3), 157-162.

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  • Runaway
  • child prostitution
  • child abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • physical abuse
  • Malaysia