Child sex tourism is a growing “industry” in the United States and around the world, and is considered one of the most heinous crimes in which an individual can engage. Because other countries have fewer laws regarding child pornography and child sex crimes, sex tourism becomes a popular escape for pedophiles in the United States.
Essentially, child sex tourism involves booking travel arrangements for individuals who wish to travel to other countries to engage in sexual activities with minors. These crimes usually involves a “prostitution ring” involving travel agents and even customs officials who facilitate the transport of both adults and children from one country to another.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, more than 100,000 children in Sri Lanka are enslaved in brothels for the purpose of furthering the child sex tourism industry, while an additional 5,000 work the streets in areas where tourist traffic is high. Other countries, such as China, Cambodia, Taiwan and India, are prime destinations for American pedophiles.
As mentioned above, child sex tourism is usually facilitated through travel agencies who sell custom packages to people interested in sexual activity with children. They operate under the radar of law enforcement by conducting more legitimate business in addition to the child sex trade, and they frequently service large numbers of pedophiles who are referred to the service.
Of course, child sex tourism isn’t a cheap way to go, and many packages cost tens of thousands of dollars. Clients are provided not only with travel arrangements, but also a selection of children at a participating brothel abroad. The types of children they prefer-age, gender, race, experience-is recorded and used to provide the “best” service for clients.
If you work in the travel industry, you can help to stop child sex tourism. Even if you assist in the arrest of just one pedophile, you’ve decreased the chances that a child in another country will be victimized. Flight attendants, for example, have alerted police to the possibility of child sex tourism, and have stopped the victimization of hundreds of children.
The major red flag for child sex tourism is large groups of people-usually middle-aged men, though the profiles can vary significantly-who travel together repeatedly to one country or a group of countries. They might take these excursions once or twice a month, or they may limit themselves to yearly visits, but rarely do they try it just once. If they believe they can get away with their activities, they will have no problem re-offending.
Additionally, child sex tourism involves the shipment of prostituted children from other countries into the United States. They are rarely documented, and since nobody knows they exist in this country, their abusers can keep them in their homes undetected. If you notice that children are brought into the country without proper documentation, you should report this to the police.