Child Sex Tourism

Child Sex Tourism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Child sex tourism is a criminal multi-billion-dollar industry believed to involve as many as 2 million children around the world.[26] In an effort to eradicate the practice, many countries have enacted laws to allow prosecution of its citizens for child abuse that occurs outside their home country, even if it is not against the law in the country where the child abuse took place.

Child sex tourism (CST) is a travel to a foreign country for the purpose of engaging in commercial sexual abuse of children.[1] As a form of sexual exploitation of children, child sex tourism results in both mental and physical consequences for the exploited children, that may include “disease (including HIV/AIDS), drug addiction, pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism, and possibly death”, according to the State Department of the United States.[1]

In an effort to counteract CST, many governments have enacted laws to allow prosecution of its citizens, for child abuse that occurs outside of their home country. As part of the multi-billion-dollar global sex tourism industry, child sex tourism victimizes approximately 2 million children around the world.[1][2][3][4][5] The children who perform as prostitutes in the child sex tourism trade often have been lured or abducted into sexual slavery.[6][7][8]

The majority of individuals who engage in child sex tourism are situational child sex exploiters. Situational child sex exploiters are people who may not have traveled with the intent to sexually exploit children, but just accepted an offer made or were influenced by peers, advertising, or other media. The minority of individuals are pedophiles or preferential child sex exploiters. These are people whose sexual identity focuses on younger children. .[5]Arthur Kaye, Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice clinical psychologist has stated that although stronger laws against child sex tourism may deter situational offenders who may act impulsively, pedophiles who travel specifically for the purpose of exploiting children are not easily deterred.[5] According to Carol Smolenski, executive director at ECPAT-USA, part of an international organization that combats child sex tourism, pedophiles use the internet to plan their trips by seeking out and trading information about opportunities for child sex tourism and where the most vulnerable children can be found, generally in areas of low income.[5]



[edit] Global response

Over the recent years there has been an increase in the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses. At least 38 countries have extraterritorial laws that allow their citizens to be prosecuted specifically for child sexual abuse crimes committed whilst abroad, and another 31 nations have more general extraterritorial laws that could be used to prosecute their citizens for crimes committed during child sex tourism trips.[1] In response to CST, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the tourism industry, and governments have begun to address the issue. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) established a task force to combat CST. The WTOECPAT (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) and Nordic tour operators created a global Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism in 1999. As of August 2005, over 900 travel companies from 35 countries had signed the code.[9]

Some governments have taken steps to combat child sex tourism:

  • Brazil: Brazil implemented a national awareness campaign on sex tourism.
  • France: France’s Ministry of Education and travel industry representatives, developed guidelines on CST for tourism schools and state-owned Air France allocates a portion of in-flight toy sales to fund CST awareness programs.
  • Gambia: The Gambia has created a hotline to which visitors can call to provide information to authorities on sex tourists.
  • India: In India’s Goa state, film developers must report obscene depictions of children to police.
  • Italy: Italy requires tour operators to provide brochures in ticket jackets to travelers regarding its law on child sex offenses both within the country and abroad.
  • Senegal: Senegal has established a special anti-CST unit within the national police force with offices in two popular tourist destinations.
  • Thailand: Thailand is providing victims with shelter and essential services.

[edit] Child sex abuse penalties

A growing number of countries worldwide (and the list following is not exclusive) have legislation that prosecutes tourists in their homeland should they engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with children.

[edit] Tourists from the USA

Under the PROTECT Act of April 2003, it is a crime, prosecutable in the United States, for a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien, to engage in illicit sexual conduct in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18, whether or not the U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien intended to engage in such illicit sexual conduct prior to going abroad. For purposes of the PROTECT Act, illicit sexual conduct includes any commercial sex act in a foreign country with a person under the age of 18. The law defines a commercial sex act as any sex act, on account of which anything of value is given to or received by a person under the age of 18.[10] Before congressional passage of the Protect Act of 2003, prosecutors had to prove that sex tourists went abroad with the intent of molesting children — something almost impossible to demonstrate. The Protect Act shifted the burden, making predators liable for the act itself. Penalties were doubled from 15 years in prison to 30. [7]

[edit] Tourists from the United Kingdom

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 enables British citizens and residents who commit sexual offences against children overseas to be prosecuted in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.[11] [12]. Similar provisions are in force in Scotland under the Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995 [13]. Some of the offences carry penalties of up to life imprisonment and anyone found guilty will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register. The UK police and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and Interpol are actively involved in monitoring child sex tourists and do prosecute where necessary.

[edit] Tourists from Australia

Australia was one of the first countries to introduce laws that provide for jail terms for its citizens and residents who engage in sexual activity with children in foreign countries. The laws are contained in the Crimes (Child Sex Tourism) Amendment Act 1994 that came into force on 5 July 1994.[14] The law also makes it an offence to encourage, benefit or profit from any activity that promotes sexual activity with children. It applies to individuals, companies, or corporations and provides for a term of up to 20 years imprisonment and/or a fine of up to $500,000.

[edit] Tourists from Canada

Canada has included in its Criminal Code provisions that allow for the arrest and prosecution of Canadians in Canada for offences committed in foreign countries related to child sex tourism, such as child prostitution, as well as for child sexual exploitation offences, such as indecent acts, child pornography and incest (Bills C-27 and C-15A that came into force on May 26, 1997, and July 23, 2002, respectively).[15] Convictions carry a penalty of up to 14 years imprisonment.

[edit] References

  1. a b c d The Facts About Child Sex Tourism“. Fact Sheet. US Dept of State, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. February 29, 2008.
  2. ^ Klain, Prostitution of Children and Child-Sex Tourism: An Analysis of Domestic and International Responses 1999, ABA Center on Children and the Law, page 33 cited in Susan Song. “Global Child Sex Tourism: Children as Tourist Attractions“. Youth Advocate Program International Resource Paper. Youth Advocate Program International.
  3. ^ Michael B. Farrell (April 22, 2004). “Global campaign to police child sex tourism“. Christian Science Monitor.
  4. ^ Janet Bagnall (October 24, 2007). “Sex trade blights the lives of 2 million children“. Montreal Gazette.
  5. a b c d Brittainy Bacon (July 27, 2007). “Stolen Innocence: Inside the Shady World of Child Sex Tourism“. ABC News.
  6. ^ R. BARRI FLOWERS. “The Sex Trade Industry’s Worldwide Exploitation of Children“. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (Vol. 575, No. 1, 147-157 (2001)).
  7. a b Michael Gerson (August 24, 2007). “No More Pedophile Tourists“. The Washington Post. p. A15.
  8. ^ Clift, Stephen; Simon Carter (2000). Tourism and Sex. Cengage Learning EMEA. pp. 75-78,85. ISBN 1855676362.
  9. ^ Code of Conduct (CC)
  10. ^ Country Specific Information Criminal Penalties
  11. ^ Travelling Child Sex Offenders Foreign & Commonwealth Office
  12. ^ Sexual Offences Act 2003, section 72
  13. ^ Criminal Law (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 1995, section 16B
  14. ^ Helping to Fight Child Sex Crimes Abroad – Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Bulletin
  15. ^ Child Sex Tourism: It’s a Crime

The Facts About Child Sex Tourism

Crime Fueled By Weak Law Enforcement, the Internet, Ease of Travel, and Poverty

From U.S. State Department, for

The commercial sexual exploitation of children affects millions of children each year, in countries on every continent. One form of this exploitation is the growing phenomenon of Child Sex Tourism (CST). Persons who travel from their own country to a foreign country to engage in a commercial sex act with a child commit CST. The crime is fueled by weak law enforcement, the Internet, ease of travel, and poverty.Tourists engaging in CST typically travel from their home countries to developing countries. Sex tourists from Japan, for example, travel to Thailand, and Americans tend to travel to Mexico or Central America. “Situational abusers” do not intentionally travel to seek sex with a child but take advantage of children sexually once they are in country. “Preferential child sex abusers” or pedophiles travel for the purpose of exploiting children.

Global Efforts Made to Address the CST Phenomenon

In response to the growing phenomenon of CST, intergovernmental organizations, the tourism industry, and governments have begun to address the issue.

  • World Congresses Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation convened in Stockholm and Yokohama in 1996 and 2001, drawing significant international attention to the issue.
  • The World Tourism Organization established a task force to combat CST and promulgated a Global Code of Conduct for Tourism in 1999.

Over the last five years, there has been a worldwide increase in the prosecution of child sex tourism offenses. Today, 32 countries have extraterritorial laws that allow the prosecution of their nationals for crimes committed abroad, regardless of whether the offense is punishable in the country where it occurred.

Combating Child Sex Tourism

Several countries have taken commendable steps to combat child sex tourism:

  • France’s Ministry of Education along with travel industry representatives developed guidelines on CST for tourism school curricula, and state-owned Air France allocates a portion of in-flight toy sales to fund CST awareness programs.
  • Brazil implemented a national and international awareness campaign on sex tourism.
  • Italy requires tour operators to provide information regarding its extraterritorial law on child sex offenses.
  • Swedish tour operators have signed a code of conduct agreeing to educate its staff about CST.
  • Cambodia established police units focused on combating child sex tourism and has arrested and extradited foreign pedophiles.
  • Japan prosecutes its citizens caught having sex with children in other countries.

Operation Predator

The United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism last year through passage of the “Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act” and the “PROTECT Act”. Together these laws enhance awareness through the development and distribution of CST information and increase penalties to up to 30 years for engaging in child sex tourism.In the first eight months of “Operation Predator” (a 2003 initiative to fight child exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism), U.S. law enforcement authorities arrested 25 Americans for child sex tourism offenses.

Overall, the global community is awakening to the horrific issue of child sex tourism and is starting to take important initial steps.

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