Child sex tourism
Child sex tourism is a lot more complex, and more difficult to pin down. Some of the victims are child prostitutes, some are essentially slaves and others are "groomed" by rich Westerners posing as good Samaritans. According to ECPAT, many offenders will spend time ingratiating themselves with the child and family, leading them to believe they are trying to help them out of poverty. ECPAT also believes the use of the Internet has had a significant impact in recent years, both in terms of spreading child pornography and the exchange of information. The impact
For the children involved, the impact is clearly devastating. The risk of sexually transmitted diseases is high, and the emotional and mental damage of abuse is well-documented. Victims can end up being socially ostracised, addicted to drugs and pregnant by their abusers. There are also issues of erosion of trust. In areas where child sex tourism is rife, single white Western males can automatically be looked-upon with suspicion. This can potentially have an impact on the area's economic development, making it hard for the likes of aid agencies. A distrust of foreigners can also hamper legitimate tourism development. The new hotspots
Local and international police action has largely concentrated on areas well-known for child sex tourism such as southern Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. According to Beddoe, this has led to offenders broadening their horizons. "I do think that what we're seeing is an increase in new destinations," she says. "Offenders are going to areas such as northern Thailand, off-the-beaten-track parts of Africa and the Pacific Islands." India has also seen increased sex tourism traffic in recent years. Another major concern is institutions such as orphanages. Beddoe says a lack of checks and balances over the backgrounds of foreign volunteers can lead to the most vulnerable children being abused. In many cases, offenders can turn up at a poorly funded third-world...
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