The likes of Hansie Cronje, Francois Steyn and Benni McCarthy have all paved a way for young athletes to fulfill their dreams of representing their countries at the highest level at young ages. The journey to stardom for ambitious youth athletes is one filled with many obstacles. For many of them the journey begins at schools or training academies. In this journey they will be confronted with the pressure of playing for successful sporting schools which adopt strict training regiments; ones resembling that of professional teams. They will be required to diligently commit themselves to their coaches’ onerous demands while simultaneously maintaining adequate academic grades. Many of them will have to maneuver past behaviour which infringes their constitutional rights and essentially amounts to abuse. The road to success is a tough and lonely one for many of these athletes. Given the psychological and emotional immaturity of a child, should this road that a youth athlete embarks on, in pursuit of a better life, be filled with better protection by the law? The object of this study is to investigate whether youth athletes in South Africa are economically exploited. This inquiry will involve an examination of the current position of school sport and whether the position of a youth athlete can be equated to that of a professional athlete. The relationship in which youth clubs and academies have with youth athletes will also be considered together with any possible abuse that such athletes may be susceptible to, including human trafficking. The investigation is conducted with reference to relevant legislation, comments of authors and case law. The dissertation concludes by submitting that youth athletes are susceptible to economic exploitation and various other forms of abuse. It is recommended that the law be developed to accommodate the sui generis needs of youth athletes and that the State, together with the relevant sporting associations, adopt a unified approach in ameliorating any threats posed towards these children.