Sexual Abuse of Children in Tourism Creates Benefits?

Bangkok Street - image courtesy of wikipedia
Thailand Street - image courtesy of wikipedia

There are definite and tangible financial benefits from sexual abuse of children in tourism.

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Annual revenues for child trafficking and forced labor total $39 billion globally (2018). To place that number in perspective, the trafficking of children generates more revenue than the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB combined (unicefusa.org/stories/demanding-end-child-trafficking).

Most large hotels in the Dominican Republic don’t allow guests to take Dominican “friends” to their rooms, so sex tourists either pay a bribe to the hotel security guard or pay for a room elsewhere, as well as pay the prostitute. The owners of the cheap boarding houses who let rooms to prostitutes add to their income by allowing women and girls to bring clients back to their rooms for a price. Apartments/hotels and private rooms/apartments are selected by sex tourists who wish to avoid such costs, as well as those who wish to sexually exploit very young children (Davidson & Taylor, 1995, 9).

Corrupt police make money from independent prostitution in two ways: 1. “Clamp downs” – arresting prostitutes working in the street, parks, and beaches to extort money from them (and frequently raping them), and 2. Arranging with selected bar owners and hoteliers who make regular payments in exchange for not being bothered. In many cases the police steer tourists toward one bar and not another in exchange for payment by the bar owner (Davidson & Taylor, 1995, 10).

Facilitators of children for sex tourists may be a landlord or a motel owner who permits the activity to occur on his/her/property or in the case of child pornography, a film laboratory technician (Hermann, K., Jr. & Jupp, M. 1988, 145).

In Guyana “school girls” …in the “sex trade’ could be found in clubs, hotels, and bars in the capital city of Georgetown, along the streets, and in guest houses/bars in settlements along the coast. Earnings range from US $11 to US $35.70 (Kempadoo & Mellon, 1998, 34. 4).

In Jamaica, high-class sex workers…make contact with clients in upscale hotels through Entertainment Coordinators, bar workers, Jamaica Union Travelers Association (JUTA), taxi services, etc. The younger women tend to deal mainly with tourists as tourists are charged more than locals (Kempadoo & Mellow, 1998, 104, 110).

Governments of countries also act as facilitators. In Asian countries, there are sections of a city or resort area that are allocated specifically to the tourist for sex. The “buyers” have virtually no fear of punishment except deportation and therefore the child sex trade flourishes (Johnson, 1994). As varied as the source of the consumers and their interests in children, there is a specific attraction to the young people of Asian countries (Smolenski, 1995, 2).

Beginning in the 1970s, Korea promoted the sex tour industry (Troung, 993) as a matter of national policy to accumulate foreign exchange reserves. The estimated earnings from tourism in 1973 was $269 million, 8.4 percent of total export earnings. In a pamphlet obtained in a Korean Airlines office published by the South Korean embassy, the telephone numbers of kisaeng (prostitute) lounges were listed (Matsui, 1984, 67). The Korean government-controlled and certified sex tour kisaeng. Females were required to complete junior high school, pass periodic health tests, and attend orientation lectures aimed at providing services required by Japanese male tourists (Sin, 1987). In 1973, the Korean Minister of Education lauded sex tour prostitutes for their contribution to Korea’s economic growth (KKJR, 1984, 46).

The sex industry earns about $8 billion a year from pornography, telephone sex, and internet sex (Mirkinson, 1997/98, p.5). “Foreign johns, who feel safely anonymous away from home, are now among Thailand’s leading sources of hard currency” (Leuchtag, 1995, 3).

In a 1982 study, Pasuk Phongpaichit conducted a study for the Thailand International Labor Organization. She estimated that 6.2 percent of the female population between the ages of 15 and 34 were engaged, or had been engaged, in the sex industry. She estimates that the income of sex workers is twenty-five times that attainable in other occupations. Children support entire families in rural villages. A girl’s monthly salary as a dancer in Phuket was stated to be 1000 baht, about $40. Other estimates run higher and some are equal to the cost of two nights at an international-class hotel, considerably higher than the earnings of a seamstress or domestic worker (Robinson, L., 1993, p.3).

Third World countries acknowledge that international tourism brings in the hard currency they need. The currency can improve economic growth and living standards. At its best, international tourism promotes peace and understanding (Belk & Costa, 1995, 1) widening gaps between the haves and have-nots… (Belk & Costa, 1995, 1).

In Thailand and Cambodia, countries frequented by sex tourists of Chinese heritage, sex with a virgin can be arranged for about US $450 (Barr, 1998, p.3). Because of the growing demand for young girls, female children are perceived to have a market value taking “predominance over male labor…Families celebrate the birth of a daughter because she now has potentially more access to social mobility” (Robinson, L., 1999, p. 5).

Tourism is a vital part of the economy of emerging countries. Russian tourists with 90-day stays, generate ฿97.911 billion in income in Thailand and the tourism minister, Sudawan Wangsuphakitkoson, found that numbers so far in 2024 are encouraging and the kingdom is on target to welcome 3.17 million visitors for January. Significantly, there was a rise in Chinese arrivals although a similar pattern was seen in 2023. The kingdom is targeting 33.5 million arrivals for the year, up from 28 million seen in 2023 (Alexander, C. 2/5/2024; panorama-destination.com), generating revenue of 1,098,082 baht or US $31.320 billion (2023).

© 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.

INTRODUCTION

PART 1

PART 2

PART 3

PART 4

Stay tuned for article 6.

WHAT TO TAKE AWAY FROM THIS ARTICLE:

  • Facilitators of children for sex tourists may be a landlord or a motel owner who permits the activity to occur on his/her/property or in the case of child pornography, a film laboratory technician (Hermann, K.
  • Most large hotels in the Dominican Republic don't allow guests to take Dominican “friends” to their rooms, so sex tourists either pay a bribe to the hotel security guard or pay for a room elsewhere, as well as pay the prostitute.
  • In Guyana “school girls” …in the “sex trade' could be found in clubs, hotels, and bars in the capital city of Georgetown, along the streets, and in guest houses/bars in settlements along the coast.

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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