Sex tourism is the movement of the people from their normal place of residence to another place for a minimum period of twenty-four hours to a maximum of six months for the sole purpose of having sex and sexual activities.
Sex tourism has meant men buying sex from female prostitutes; however, modern sex tourism is a more complex matter than this. This is perhaps the most controversial and condemned aspect of tourism.
According to United Nations, World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sex tourism is defined as, “trips organized from within the sector, or from outside the tourism sector but using its structures and networks with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with the residents at the destination.”
In terms of tourism, where do we draw the line between ‘acceptable’ and ‘unacceptable’ sex tourism? All of these forms of sex tourism has disadvantages in relation to sustainable tourism, ranging from the risk of sexually transmitted diseases to the oppression and exploitation of powerless children.
To most people, sex with children is the most morally repugnant form of sex tourism yet control is difficult. Foreign governments have sometimes legislated to outlaw trips abroad by their citizens where the motivation is the desire to have sex with children.
Child sex tourism defines as, ” child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism is the sexual exploitation of children by travelers, who generally make use of tourism industry services and facilities to make contact with their victims and engage in such acts.”
Commercial sexual exploitation of children means sexual abuse of minors by adults where remuneration, in cash, gifts, and food, is made to the child or a third party. Often, the children support their family with the profits of prostitution and, trapped in this cycle, they have difficulty escaping it.
There are four types of commercial sexual exploitation of children: trafficking and sale of children, pornography, prostitution, and sex tourism.
However, sometimes the demand for such experiences is domestic rather than just foreign. Often, though, sex tourism is merely a new form of colonial-style exploitation
Tourists travel abroad to exploit the desperation of poor people in other countries to do things that are not available or are illegal, in their own country.
In the term of tourism, sex tourism is a major challenge for such regions of the world as South-East Asia. We must, for instance, recognize that attacks on sex tourism will have major implications for the economies of these countries for as Michael Hall has noted:
Tourism-oriented prostitution has become an integral part of the economic base in several regions of south-east Asia. Banning prostitution be counter-productive and may create even greater hardship for those who engage in it.
We also need to finish by noting the growth of another variation in sex tourism, that is the rise of the men from the West seeking brides amongst Asian women. According to the Philippine Women’s Research Collective in 1985:
Promoted as meek, docile, submissive, home-oriented and having tremendous capacities in bed, Filipino women have been sought many Australian men through pen-pal links and mail order bride business.
Often men travel to the Philippines to met potential wives they have selected from brochures. This activity is also being seen in the former Soviet Union and will be one of the future challenges, albeit a rather marginal one, of the social dimension of tourism.
Nature and Scope of Sex Tourism
Sex tourism is the modern form of slavery. It is the fastest growing organized crime in the world. In sex tourism, traffickers trick victims providing them with false work permits, and withhold their passports so they remain undocumented in case they escape, they also threaten their families.
Sex tourism is a part of the global sex-slavery and trafficking problems, in which women and children are sexually exploited and abused.
- Men making use of the services of female prostitutes while on business in a destination, where the prostitutes are involved in prostitution through their own choice.
- Men taking trips to a destination with the single intention of using the services of female prostitutes who are involved in prostitution by choice.
- Men taking business trips to a destination with the single intention of having sex with female prostitutes who are not involved in prostitution by choice, but are being forced into being prostitutes.
- Men taking trips to destinations with the single intention of paying to have sex with children of the opposite sex.
- Men taking trips to the destination with the single intention of paying to have sex with men from the local community.
- Women traveling to a destination with the single intention of paying for sex with local men.
- Women and men traveling to destinations in the hope that they will find a local sexual partner whom they will pay gifts rather than cash.
- The so-called ‘Shirley Valentines‘, married women who travel to particular destinations in the hope of short-term romance and sex with local men.
- The hedonistic young tourist whose holiday plans are motivated by a desire to have sex with new partners.
Risks of Sex Tourism
Recent studies and research showed that a large number of sexually transmitted infections and diseases occur as a result of unprotected sexual intercourse during international travel. A large number of sex workers do not have access to the methods of contraception and are got infected. Some risks of sex tourism are followed as:
- STIs: Sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. Many STIs exit, which is due to bacteria, viruses or parasites. Sex tourism increased the chance of risk of various diseases such as AIDS, Hepatitis B, and C etc.
- Pregnancy: Many women become pregnant and are forced to have abortions in unsafe conditions. Sex tourism increases the chances of unwanted pregnancy.
- Physical, psychological and emotional abuse.
- Physical and mental degradation.
- Many victims suffer emotional trauma, as symptoms of PTSD.
- Likelihood of going to jail for being with a partner who is a minor.