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From Street Walking To The Convent: Child Prostitution Cases Judged By The Juvenile Court Of Brussels During World War One

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Chapter Summary

Paul Wets, the Juvenile Court Judge for Brussels, re-opened one of the most delicate questions that the Belgian justice administration had dealt with during the First World War: child prostitution. This chapter examines 15 cases involving female minors charged with prostitution under Article 15. It explores several cases of minors charged with violations under Article 13, which dealt with the prevention of homelessness and begging, and with cases where bad behavior and lack of discipline led to parental complaints about their own children. In 1919, the Juvenile Court judge Paul Wets summarized the reasons why children turned to prostitution during the war as follows, children were 'tempted by the promise of easy, and sometimes relatively large financial rewards, victims of idleness due to the scarcity of jobs, drawn in at times by the attractiveness of vice, or else became involved because of the impossible burden of real poverty.

Keywords: Brussels; female minors; First World War; Juvenile Court; Paul Wets; prostitution



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