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Focus on Child Sex tourism

December 9, 2000 · 


ECPAT taiwan has recently hosted a meeting with travel agents’and hotels, associations to discuss the tourism industry’s guidebook for reporting child sex tourism. Changes to Taiwan’s laws on commercial sexual exploitation of children have made the tourism industry subject ot mandatory reporting requirements when finding cases of sexual transactions involving children.

Child sex tourism – The lessons we have learned

It has been 10 years since ECPAT groups around the world began campaigning against the sexual exploitation of children in tourism. Now child sex tourism is a matter of international concern and condemnation. Governments, NGO’s and the tourism industry in both sending and receiving countries are increasingly working together together to address child sex tourism.

The following are some frequently asked questions that ECPAT Australia receives about child sex tourism.

Is child sex tourism increasing?
Child sex tourism is a result of many interrelated factors and there is no simple answer to this question. It is very hard to measure the incidence of child sex tourism, as it is virtually impossible to conduct quantitative research on such a clandestine and illegal industry. Qualitative research and anecdotal evidence suggest however that child sex tourism is increasing and is spreading to new regions of the world. There is also evidence that over the last few years increasing numbers of sex offenders particularly from Western industrialised countries have been travelling to less developed countries as a result of increasing vigilance and action against paedophilia in their own countries.

Where does it exist?
Child sex tourism has been reported in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North and South America and the Pacific Islands. Child sex tourism is a dynamic phenomenon and is constantly changing. As traditional sex tourism destinations become more aware and get tough on law enforcement, child sex tourism has been spreading to new destinations. Not surprisingly these new destinations are often those countries that have inadequate child protection programs and poorly resourced law enforcement agencies.

How effective have ECPAT’s efforts been in addressing child sex tourism?
Child sex tourism is a _glqbal phenomenon that requires global and local solution§. When ECPAT first began our main objective’s were to raise awareness about child sex tourism and to encourage individuals, governments, and local and international tourism industries to take action against child sex tourism. These efforts have been very effective and have led to the introduction of child sex tourism extra territorial laws in over 25 countries, the prosecution of child sex tourists in many countries, the introduction of child protection laws, police crack downs against child sex tourists in destination countries, child sex tourism education 22 campaigns, tourism industry declarations, codes of conduct, in flights videos, tourism trainin’
programs, and many more interesting programs and initiatives. All of these efforts are making a difference.

The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) has included a strong condemnation of child sex tourism in their industry code of ethics stating “AFTA members will n,bt-prbv.ide or assist in the provision of any travel service which, to their knowledge, is to be used for a purpose involving the sexual exploitation of children”.

The World Tourism Organisation (WTO) has a committee that meets regularly to examine ways that the international travel and tourism industry can address child sex tourism. The WTO Code of Ethics for Tourism includes a special provision on combating all forms of sexual exploitation of children in tourism.

What else needs to be done?
Our efforts in relation to child sex tourism must be Conference held in Brussels has sustained and increased. While these efforts are recommended the development of a Pact for proving successful they need to be expanded to Children. The Pact for Children places the accommodate the evolving and expanding nature of interests of children at the forefront of media child sex tourism. We need to closely monitor these concerns by raising awareness within the movements and changes in order to develop effective media professions about the rights of preventative strategies. Child sex tourism thrives in children and how they can be protected. contexts of poverty, inequality and ignorance. These are all conditions which must be tackled to eradicate the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The recent Tourism and Child Abuse: Challenges to Media and Industry Conference held in Brussels has recommended the development of a Pact for Children. The Pact for Children places the interests of children at the forefront of media concerns by raising awareness within the media professions about the rights of children and how they can be protected.

How is Australia involved and what are we doing about Child Sex Tourism?

Australian child sex tourists have been identified in over 20 countries. There have been 10 prosecutions (7 convictions) of Australians under the child sex tourism law. Australians have been convicted for child tsex offences in Thailand, United States, Fiji, India and the Philippines. It is impossible to know exactly how many Australian sexually abuse children overseas . Estimates range between 400 to 1000’s.

Some hotels in the Philippines are putting information in hotel rooms warning their clients that they may be stopped for questioning if they are with an underage guest.

The Queensland Crime Commission’s examination of child sexual abuse in Queensland that over the last few years there has been an increasing trend for child sex offenders to travel overseas.

Several ECPAT Europe groups are working together to promote a Tourism Industry Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct is supported by the Scandinavian and some European tourism industries.

Italian law requires tour operators to give notice to tourists that sex with children abroad is a crime and can be prosecuted in Italy.

Groupe Developpement (ECPAT France) is carrying out a survey on behalf of ECPAT International on child sex tourism.
The purpose of the survey is to obtain a global picture of the fl ht against child sex tourism in cooperation with the travel and tourism industry.

9 European airlines now broadcast in-flight videos against child sex tourism

Australia was one of the first countries to introduce the child sex tourism law in 1994 and is one of the few countries that has successfully prosecuted a number of cases under this law. As well as the legislation ECPAT Australia has been running national education programs on child sex tourism since 1994 and working closely with the Australian tourism industry. The Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFRA) have included a condemnation of child sex tourism in their ethical code. ECPAT leaflets detailing the child sex tourism law and how to report these crimes are available at every airport in Australia and are disseminated through travel agents, GPO’s and other travel outlets. Tourism Training Australia and AFTA have agreed to include child sex tourism in their training courses. Over the last year ECPAT Australia has received government grants to develop the Child Wise Tourism and the Travel with Care education programs. All . of these important initiatives will be expanded and intensified in 2001.


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