How it Started: Part 4

childtourism
image courtesy of liftinternational.org

Just the words make one cringe – sexual abuse of children in tourism – can be traced back to 1967 in Thailand.

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In an agreement between the U.S. and the Thai government, Thai ports welcomed servicemen on leave from the Vietnam War (Smolenski, 1995, 3). The World Bank recommended the development of mass tourism in Thailand. There were economic incentives proposed by Robert McNamara who headed up the World Bank during the period. As the servicemen left the Japanese tourists replaced them and were responsible for the next wave of sex tourists (O’Grady, 1992).

In 1980, the vice premier of Thailand, in a public speech, said, “Consider the natural scenery in your provinces, together with…forms of entertainment that some of you might consider disgusting and shameful because we have to consider the jobs that will be created” (Robinson, L.,1993, p. 4).

In the 1970s and 1980s pedophiles from Europe and North America found safe havens for their sexual activities in Thailand and the Philippines. In the 1980s, in the town of Pagsanjan (Philippines), it was estimated that up to 3,000 young boys provided sex to tourists: half the tourists were pedophiles, two-thirds of these were from Australia and the rest from North America or Europe, Japan, and China (Ireland, 1993).

Sri Lanka became a center for sex tourism in the late 1970s which coincided with the arrival of Western pedophiles attracted to the country because of the availability of boys for sex. Organized pedophile tour groups are now found on the Indian subcontinent (Ireland, 1993).

There are four parties involved in the sale of children into prostitution, “the perpetrator, vendor, the facilitator and the child” (Hermann, K., Jr. & Jupp, M. 1988, 146-148). The perpetrator is generally a male who can rationalize his behavior and old enough to be an uncle, father, and grandfather (Robinson, L., 1993, p. 2). In many situations, the family sells the child into prostitution. “Often it is Father who sits in the backup car or Mother who negotiates the deal for her daughter. Little Brother may appear with a sponge and a pail of soapy water to wash a client’s car for an extra $5 (Hornblower & Morris, 1993). Sometimes the parents believe that there is a legitimate job waiting for their child (Cohen, 1990). The pimp or procurer extends the “services, capital, and resources that make sexual trafficking of children both feasible and lucrative. The pimp maximizes his profits by keeping the children in substandard living conditions and denying them an adequate share of the income they have produced” (Hermann, K., Jr.  & Jupp, M. 1988, 144-145).

While men usually handle the sales transaction, women participate on the business side as well. Often the child’s mother sells her offspring into the sex trade while other women act as agents, traffickers, and brothel owners (Barr, 1998, 3).

In the Dominican Republic sexual exploitation is quite transparently an integral part of various types of employment in the tourist and leisure industry (Davidson & Taylor, 1995, 8). Employees in hotels are often “expected to make themselves sexually available to their tourist and expatriate employers; Dominican men and boys who are formally employed by hotels as “athletic coaches”, ‘guides,” “language teachers”, “bar staff,” are expected to supplement their income by providing services as a gigolo or rent boys; female bar, restaurant, and hotel staff are likewise paid so little that they are under an economic pressure to accept the sexual advances of tourists” (Davidson & Taylor, 1995, 8-9).

© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.

This is a multiple-part series. Read previous articles below.

EMBED INTRODUCTION

EMBED PART 1

EMBED PART 2

EMBED PART 3

Stay tuned for article 5.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE:

  • In 1980, the vice premier of Thailand, in a public speech, said, “Consider the natural scenery in your provinces, together with…forms of entertainment that some of you might consider disgusting and shameful because we have to consider the jobs that will be created” (Robinson, L.
  • Sri Lanka became a center for sex tourism in the late 1970s which coincided with the arrival of Western pedophiles attracted to the country because of the availability of boys for sex.
  • The perpetrator is generally a male who can rationalize his behavior and old enough to be an uncle, father, and grandfather (Robinson, L.

About the author

Avatar of Dr. Elinor Garely - special to eTN and editor in chief, wines.travel

Dr. Elinor Garely - special to eTN and editor in chief, wines.travel

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