Belgian government’s traditional attitude of tolerance toward prostitution in general and child prostitution in particular turned to control and regulation in the 19th century (acc. Steverlynck, 1993)[1]. Judging from a questionnaire study among male and female Flemmish students aged 18 to 30, Kruithof and Van Ussel (1962)[2] speak of the “sexual needs” of the subjects due to an incomplete sexual “ethical” and education curriculum, which “definitely hamper a normal sexual development and experience of sexuality”. Vanderbruggen[3] describes how in the years 1955-1966 the membership journals of the Catholic National Youth ('Katholieke Landelijke Jeugd', KLJ) employed a 'the flesh is weak and sinful' discourse in the contributions about mixed companionship, sexuality and physicality. Virtues like 'decency', 'chastity' and 'self-control' were crucial since every physical act concealed the danger of emerging 'desire'. For fourteen-to-seven-teen-year-olds, friendships between boys and girls were regarded with suspicion and advised against. A CSBI study was conducted by Schoentjes et al. (1999)[4].


A 1996 case of child abduction and murder, still under investigation in 2002, shocked the nation and may have had a significant impact on children’s mobility[5] even in neighbouring countries. In any case, the issue was arguably identified as a “paedophile crime” ever since.



Additional refs.:


n       Vanhove, T. (2001) Individualisering of seksualisering? De seksuele leefwereld van laaggeschoolde jongeren in Vlaanderen, Sociologische Gids 48,2:156

n       Elsen, C. (1992) Een schijnproces in België, in B. Rossen & J. Schuijer (Eds.) Het seksuele gevaar voor kinderen: mythen en feiten. Amsterdam/Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger, p323-70 [Dutch]






Janssen, D. F., Growing Up Sexually. VolumeI. World Reference Atlas. 0.2 ed. 2004. Berlin: Magnus Hirschfeld Archive for Sexology

Last revised: Dec 2004


[1] Steverlynck, C. (1993) La traite des blanches et la prostitution enfantine en Belgique, Paedagog Hist [Belgium] 29,3:779-820

[2]Kruithof, J. & Ussel, J. M. W. van (1962) Jeugd voor de Muur. Antwerpen: Ontwikkeling

[3] Vanderbruggen, B. (1999) Samen jong in een landelijk milieu: Een analyse van de taal over seksualiteit en gemengde omgang in de ledenbladen van de Katholieke Landelijke Jeugd (1955-1975), Trajecta [Leuven] 8,2:167-86

[4] Schoentjes, E., Deboutte, D. & Friedrich, W. (1999) Child sexual behavior inventory: a Dutch-speaking normative sample, Pediatrics 104,4:885-93; Sandfort, Th. & Cohen-Kettenis, P. (2000) Sexual behavior in Dutch and Belgian children as observed by their mothers, J Psychol & Hum Sex 12,1/2:105-15

[5] Belgische kinderen over het effect van de zaak-Dutroux op eigen leven, Nieuwe Revu [Holland] 1997, Nov.27:24-31