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Sex Tour Crackdown Urged

January 24, 2000 · 

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Published in The Manila Times
(January 24, 2000)

SENATOR Loren Legarda yesterday urged the Department of Tourism (DOT) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) to crack down on the Philippine agents, of a New York firm which a US congresswoman and a feminist group earlier accused of running sex tours in the Philippines and Thailand.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Tourism said the Philippine conduits of the Queens, New York-based Big Apple Oriental Tours, should be exposed and if warranted, stripped of their operating licenses.

US Rep. Carolyn Maloney (Democrat, NY) and, the women’s activist group Equality. Now had earlier urged the US attorney-general to prosecute Big Apple for promoting prostitution.

They also demanded the prosecution of Big Apple for violating a US statute that criminalizes travel with the intent to have sex with minors.

The promotional materials of Big Apple make it clear that money is being exchanged for the company of women and strongly suggest that sex is part of the transaction,” Maloney said.

Legarda said, it would have been impossible for the New York-based firm to run tours to the Philippines without the connivance of local travel agents.

“They must have agents here who facilitate their tour operations,” the senator said, adding the DILG and the DOT should immediately launch a joint investigation.

Under Philippine laws, local government units now have direct supervision over travel agencies.

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