Sex tourism is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “travel planned specifically for the purpose of sex, generally to a country where prostitution is legal.” Known destinations for sex tourists include Thailand, Latin America, The Gambia and Philippines where both men and women go to pay for sex in countries with less stringent laws on prostitution (although some say that Thailand and The Gambia are trying to shake off this status which exploits many in their communities).
What happens in these countries doesn’t stay in these countries as the United States has cracked down on citizens who go to another country to have sex with a child or minor. U.S. federal law makes it a crime for U.S. residents to “engage in sexual or pornographic activities with a child younger than 18 years anywhere in the world. It is also illegal to travel abroad for the purpose of having sex with a minor,” even if the age at which someone is considered a minor may vary by country. Sometimes these tourists leave something important behind – children born from these momentary relationships.
The sourced articles below should provide more information on sex tourism and how it affects not only the tourist, but the countries they may be exploiting for their own pleasure.
- “Child Sex Tourism: Florida Man Who Traveled To The Philippines To Exploit Children Sentenced To 330 Years In Prison”
“Some people might think that what they do overseas can stay overseas, but child sex tourism—when people travel to another country specifically to engage in sexual conduct with children—is illegal, and it’s a serious crime. The FBI, in conjunction with domestic and international law enforcement partners, investigates U.S. citizens and permanent residents who travel overseas to engage in illegal sexual conduct with children under the age of 18.”
Online Resource, fbi.gov, 4/17/2018
- Child Sex Tourism and Exploitation Are On the Rise. Companies Can Help Fight It
“Sex tourism is increasing worldwide but its rise has been particularly high in Latin American countries. … The proliferation of sex trafficking and child sex tourism in Latin America is harmful and dangerous not only to its victims but to the entire region as it weakens the state of law, endangers the lives of their citizens, threatens the safety of the businesses, and compromises the countries’ economic and social development. Therefore, it is imperative that all sectors of society take immediate measures to eradicate it. National and local governments are at the core of these efforts; nevertheless, the private sector has an important role to play in combating the crime.”
Maria Fernanda Felix de la Luz, weforum.org, 3/9/2018
- More Women Are Exploring Sex Tourism — And I Was One Of Them
“Female sex tourism is a growing trend in places like Gambia, the Caribbean, and the Dominican Republic. In these cases, paying customers are typically middle-aged European women looking for a vacation fling with a young, local man, often referred to as a ‘beach boy’ or ‘bumster.’ Acting as romantic partner and tour guide, the men are treated with gifts and money in exchange for their time and service.”
Erica Garza, glamour.com, 1/17/2018
- Implications Of Sexual Tourism
“Within the last 20 years, the number of international travellers has more than doubled and is expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2030. The growth of the travel and tourism industry has many positive outcomes for individuals and their communities, but it can also increase risks among vulnerable populations, including women and children. A recent global study found that the rapid expansion of the travel industry has coincided with significant growth in sexual tourism, a pervasive form of exploitation that occurs around the world. Sexual tourism, particularly the kind that targets children, represents the unseemly underbelly of the travel industry. As global citizens and responsible travellers, we can help end this practice.”
Online resource, Iamat.org, 10/27/2017
- ‘Do You Think We’ll Pay For Bad Things We’ve Done?’ Revelations Of Aussie Sex Tourists In Thailand
“While the exact figures vary, research has shown Australian men to be among the largest contributors to sex tourism in southeast Asia, with cities such as Pattaya becoming a ‘home away from home’ for an increasing number of Australian retirees. … ‘They think coming to Thailand for sex is going to fill a void in their lives, so they pursue this dream — and then they realise that the lifestyle they’ve chosen is empty and meaningless.'”
Jas Rawlinson, news.com.au, 7/4/2016
- The Cambodian Organization That Stalks Western Child Molesters
“Action Pour Les Enfants was at the forefront of the fight against child sexual exploitation in Cambodia. Then, their former-director was arrested for alleged child sex abuse.”
Simon Henderson and Peter Holslin, vice.com, 10/28/2015
- Philippines’ Generation Of Sex Tourism Children
“But when the sex tourists depart, they sometimes leave more behind than they’d arrived with. A large number of children have been conceived in such exchanges and while some foreign nationals provide support for and, in some instances, even marry the mother of their child, many more children never even meet their biological father and are left to live in poverty.”
Dave Tacon, aljazeera.com, 3/12/2015