Child Sex Tourism
Every recognized country in the world, except for the United States and the collapsed state of Somalia, has ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, pledging to uphold its protections for children. Today the convention stands as the single most widely ratified treaty in existence. See Promises Broken
Extent and Notorious Child Sex Tourism Destinations
The most popular destinations for child sex abusers are countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica, Brazil, and the Dominican Republic.
The flow of child sex tourists are generally from developed countries in Western Europe, Scandinavian countries, North America, Australasia, and the Gulf to poorer countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin American and the Caribbean. Yet it is important to note, that some wealthy individuals from countries such as Mexico, Argentina, and India, have been known to engage in sex tourism. See Fact Sheet
The unfortunate problem when governments initiate a crack-down on the issue,is that child sex tourists opt for neighbouring countries. An example of this is the move from Thailand to Cambodia. A large part of the problem of tourism is the eternal search for the "exotic" the same applies to child sex tourism destinations. For example, Costa Rica is viewed as "Thailand in the backyard" for North Americans.
Although it is nearly impossible to provide accurate statistics about the number of children involved in prostitution, the examples below provide an overview of the problem
- Cambodia: As of 1995 one survey found minors from 13 to 17 years of age comprised about 31 percent of sex workers.
- China: As of 1994 the Peking People's Daily reported more than 10,000 women and children were abducted and sold each year in Sichaun alone.
- Costa Rica: The capital city of San Jose is home to more than 2,000 child prostitutes. Across the country, children are regularly sold to foreign pedophiles as part of sex-tour "packages".
- India: In 1995, 20 percent of Bombay's brothel population was composed of girls who were younger than 18, at least half of whom were human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) positive.
- Sri Lanka: 100,000 children between the ages of 6 and 14 are kept in brothels and an additional 5,000 children between 10 and 18 are working in tourist areas.
- Taiwan: Estimates indicate the number of children in the sex industry to be around 100,000.
According to recent reports, Americans comprise an estimated 25% of all sex tourists. In countries such as Cambodia and Costa Rica, the percentage of American sex tourists jumps to 38% and 80%, respectively. Refer to Children as Tourist Attractions
Causes and Context
Although children from all social and economic backgrounds are at risk of sexual abuse, those most vulnerable live in economically depressed situations. Street children are particularly vulnerable, as they have very few resources and networks to turn to for protection. Children in poverty-stricken countries can be more vulnerable if their families are desperate for income.
Below are the most common reasons why children are pushed into trafficking
- gender bias
- family breakdown
- lack of laws and enforcement
- increasing materialism
- rural-urban migration
- subsistence to cash economy
Role of the Internet
The advent of the Internet has revolutionized the growth of the sex-tourism-of-children industry. Some Internet chatrooms, message boards, and online organizations not only encourage this form of tourism, but give detailed instructions about how to partake in it.
The various areas of the Internet allow offenders to communicate with others wh have already traveled to another country for this purpose. From the comfort of their own homes, they can plan their vacation and purchase their tickets with relative anonymity.
Read this paper on Child abuse and the Internet
Prostitution in Thailand
Prostitution has become an industry in Thailand with the major help of the United States military and the World Bank. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Department of Defense had a contract with the Thai government to provide "Recreation & Relaxation" for U.S. soldiers. With money from the U.S. government, local Thai prostitution organized and expanded into a major industry. In 1975, the World Bank built an economic plan for Thailand around the sex tourism industry, which helped turn sex tourism into the country's number one export. Prostitution has now become such an important industry, that work to end prostitution must also support the growth of new industries. Source - Prostitution & Sex Tourism
The Demand Factor
According to an Ecpat report (JOINT EAST WEST RESEARCH ON TRAFFICKING IN CHILDREN FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES IN EUROPE:THE SENDING COUNTRIES 2004) the demand appears to reflect opportunism on the part of clients to a large supply of vulnerable young people. Traffickers accept any transaction that brings profits, and take into account not only the demand from the destination countries but also the fact that children do not know their rights and cannot protect themselves as well as adults.
- For a trafficker, young people are more vulnerable and more easily influenced and controlled (by violence or other means).
- Prices paid for minors vary according to the destination country, the purpose of trafficking and the physical qualities of the young person.
- There is a very specific demand for young boys in Western European countries, and the Moldovan research mentions demand for virgin girls.
- Adoption procedures are being used to traffic young children, with the
possibility that they are subsequently used for sexual exploitation.
Studies indicate that child prostitutes serve between two and thirty clients per week, leading to a shocking estimated base of anywhere between 100 to 1500 clients per year, per child. Younger children, many below the age of 10, have been increasingly drawn int