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Child Sex…Not a Tourist Attraction

by in Action, Features

Stop child sex tourism“On this trip, I’ve had sex with a 14 year-old girl in Mexico and a 15 year-old in Colombia. I’m helping them financially. If they don’t have sex with me, they may not have enough food. If someone has a problem with me doing this, let UNICEF feed them.”
-Retired U.S School Teacher

When you hear the word “tourism” what do you think about? Maybe white sandy beaches, turquoise water, relaxation, the smell of coconut tanning oil or maybe a nice warm breeze on your face. You probably wouldn’t think of think of the words “victimization” and “slavery”. Tourism takes on a whole new meaning when you realize such a thing as “Sex Tourism” exists. Sex tourism involves ‘vacations’ that people take, people you might not expect. It is a booming industry bringing in billions of dollars a year, and it’s growing.

DESTINATIONS
Some main countries where sex tourism is found include Thailand, India, Asian countries, and the Phillipines. More recently the sex tourism wave has reached Mexico and Central America as well. Most of the places that this injustice takes place in are poor countries that have few laws to protect the victims of this cruel act. Men travel all over the world to buy sex from pimps and brothel owners who are selling children aging from under 10 to 18 years old. Some can be as young as 5 years old1. These girls (and boys) are usually priced as to age and virginity. Young is usually pricier and also, virgins command a higher price because they are more highly desired.

The living conditions for these children is something that is almost too hard to look at. A child could serve up to 30 clients every week, which is almost 1500 a year2. Children are kept in small spaces usually very crowded with little or no room to even be a kid. They are kept like animals in a zoo, for viewing and exploitation. These children constantly live by fear of the people that are keeping them hostage. They are frequently threatened with the possibilities of being beaten or even killed. If they attempt to run away, they are threatened with the same punishments.

CONTRIBUTING FACTORS
You might be wondering what the reasons are for this sickness to be occurring in our world. Here’s a couple of reasons.

Poverty:
Poverty is something that forces a lot of women and children into prostitution. Impoverished families in third world countries are approached by traffickers and pimps who will offer to buy children if the family has too many to take care of, and often the families are so desperate for food they will sacrifice one child to feed the rest of the family. Parents are told that money will be sent to them for the work that the children are doing but it never happens. In our own country, people can get caught up in the trade because of extreme poverty in their lives and not seeing any other way out.

Internet:
The internet has opened a whole new door for advertising prostitution and sex tourism all across the world in a completely untraceable way. There are websites where Johns can write about their experiences with children, and recommend different places for others to travel to. Imagine that?! Most people like you and I would leave a comment about the hotel service, food and beaches. You can even “book” Sex Tours on-line, where ‘tourists’ are driven to different brothels to participate in sexual abuse of minors. In 1995 it is said that there were over 25 companies in the United States that arranged “Sex Tours” for people.

Anonymity:
Part of the attraction is that the Johns are usually in another country across the world where they can do this completely anonymously and not get caught. They are in a place where they know no one so they are entirely uninhibited when it comes to their need to satisfy their perverse desires and engage in sexual relations with a minor.

THE TOURIST
A question I frequently ask myself is “who would actually do this to a young child?” The answer is simple, yet heartbreaking. Most of the men that participate in sex tourism are men from North America and Western Europe, and it could be anyone. There are men that do actually seek out sexual relations with children, and there are also men who just take the opportunity when it is offered to them. The men that use these services often try to justify their actions by saying “I was just trying to help them out, I was helping them get money to buy food..” (then why not just buy them food?). These guys are just attempting to rationalize and justify their behaviour to abstain from the guilt that they have within themselves for the abuse and exploitation they have caused to these children.

OUR RESPONSE
What is our response? The US Department of Justice states that:
The response of destination countries to the epidemic of child sex tourism has been ineffective. Although many of these countries have passed legislation that criminalizes sexual exploitation of children, these laws often remain unenforced against tourists. Efforts to combat child sexual exploitation often run into conflict with foreign governments’ efforts to promote the international tourism industry. Police corruption is common. In Thailand and the Philippines, police have been known to guard brothels and even procure children for prostitution. Some police in destination countries directly exploit children themselves. Thus far, the international community has not been able to rely on destination countries to adequately protect the rights and well-being of child victims.”

WHAT CAN WE DO?
1. PRAY
Pray for the little ones caught up in this industry that they would be set free.
Pray for enforcement by governments and police to shut down brothel owners and ‘tourist guides’
Pray for the men who are being the ‘tourist’ that they would realize the harm they are doing and seek help to be free from their addiction.

2. AWARENESS
We need to get the word out, and we need to come down on this injustice and make sure that this stops happening. With the 2010 Winter Olympics coming to Vancouver, there will be a very high demand for prostitutes and young children. We need to make sure that the general public is educated about the reality and the horrors of sex tourism and the trafficking of women and children around the world.

Sex with kids is not a vacation.

HMMM
- So, people are selling children in poor countries (supply), and rich people come and pay for them (demand). If we want to stop child sex tourism, what should we focus on first, the supply or the demand? Should we target the traffickers, pimps or the tourists?
- In Canada the law says it doesn’t matter what country you’re in, if you abuse someone under 18 then you’re guilty. But in some countries the age of consent is lower (eg. In China the age of consent is 14). Does this make it ok?

Share your comments and thoughts below!

RESOURCES
Websites:
Stop Child Sex Tourism
ECPAT International – End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking International
World Vision Canada
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Children as Tourist Attractions (Youth Advocate Program International Resource Paper)

Movies/Video:
Air France in-flight video

:: by Carlye Morris
War College Conquerors Session

1Youth Advocate Program International Resource Paper – http://www.yapi.org/rpchildsextourism.pdf
2US Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section – http://www.usdoj.gov/criminal/ceos/sextour.html

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  • Nicole

    Sick.
    This stuff makes me sick.

    The opening quote gets me the most. I hear what the retired school teacher is saying, but if he really cared about the girls he is having sex with getting food, could he not just give the money or buy them food without the sex?

    And I wonder, if all of Christ’s followers did what He tells us to do then the orphan would be loved and provided for and not ‘need’ to prostitute themselves or be traffiked.

    God, please free the children.

  • Matt

    I felt the same thing as you Nicole when I first saw this on W-Five a few weeks ago.

    Canada does have a law against sex-tourism but it is extremely difficult to enforce trying to first, know of the crime and then find, and finally convict the criminal. However, rape (non-consensual sex) is still rape. So, yes, it is still a criminal offense regardless of age and other country’s laws.

    To play off what you said Nicole, if we all did what Christ instructs, sex wouldn’t be a ‘just-for-fun’ activity as Hollywood and the media suggests. It would be the ultimate form of love between husband and wife.

    In the W-Five episode, RCMP officers (if I remember correctly …) tracked the man in question from video tapes of his encounters. The evidence was enough to not only convict the man, but find the brothel in Cambodia and release a number of the children. The solution to this problem, clearly, is not an easy one.

    If you attack the tourists, the pimps will find alternate ways to make their money. Probably by doing worse things to the children.
    If you attack the brothels or pimps, the kids will simply be transferred around.

    In most instances the children have been brainwashed and believe what they’re doing is the only way. I believe focusing on the children is key. Finding the orphans before the pimps do, loving them and providing for them (as Nicole said). Teaching them how to survive and be self-sufficient. So then they will know sex-tourism is a crime, not a way of life.

    This is why Christ said “suffer the children to come unto me” and not “those who hold back the children are sinners”.

  • Mae

    Hmmmmm i dont aggree with western morality pushing and focus on Thai / asian countrys … age of sex ~ there are many things that are not understood and its always made out to be a big bad things… Im raised in Bkk Thai and understand, sex industry is always portrayed in the most negative worst light .. its hardly reality … and this Quote “On this trip, I’ve had sex with a 14 year-old girl in Mexico and a 15 year-old in Colombia. I’m helping them financially. If they don’t have sex with me, they may not have enough food. If someone has a problem with me doing this, let UNICEF feed them.”
    -Retired U.S School Teacher

    hmmm I hope more men will be like him, and much fewer christian women from the west come to Thai to help…

    this man is happy from nature … brings joy when he comes … the women from the west bring great shame and hardship .. poverty , corruption from police..

    its dificult to understand …. but live and let live …. leave other cultures alone … its always and only western that fiddle and cause the greatest hardships and millions of starved … you control all the banks and consume most of the planets goods… leave poor cultures alone to live life as we always have! sex tourism is as normal to life as farming or religion.. please leave it alone … focus on war and kindness to eachother .. the big pictures! and the small details are kind and happy ….. if you focus on this as a bad thing, then you cause great problems ,,, things twist.

    Mae

  • Lilmiss

    You are undeserving of life if you believe that raping little girls is the right of your culture! You should be behind bars! That is my belief, and I no religious affiliation, so don’t think this is a just a Christian way of thinking. But they definitely know that the lifelong psychological issues these girls/women carry will be with them for a lifetime. Maybe you need to have your penis removed and replaced with a vagina, then you go out there and tell us to leave other your sick criminal abuse that you call, “culture,” alone. I have friends who unfortunately made it to the sex trade, raped by their family members as children, and I don’t know a single one that would choose their life for their children. Furthermore, they would fight to their death to protect their daughters just like any Christian woman, so maybe it is not a culture you are defending, it is the disgusting thoughts that run through your male head. As far as I am concerned, you are a coward too pathetic to find a woman who actually wants to be with you, so you pay money to prey on a defenceless child. Honor is reserved for those who defend the weak and helpless, you will die a coward.

  • John Roberts (UK)

    If we are serious about ending prostitution we must create the conditions under which it is no longer necessary to prostitute oneself for food. And quite frankly, I don’t see that happening anytime soon given the current economic system we live in under, a system where greed and exploitation are built into its very core.

    Morals are not independent of economic circumstance.