Child sex tourism is the sexual exploitation of a child by a person who engages in sexual activities with a child while traveling away from their own country or region. It usually involves some form of payment, either in cash or in kind. Perpetrators, typically men, are often referred to as child sex tourists.
Quantifying the problem is difficult. Some numbers suggest that 25% of the travelers who sexually exploit children around the world are from the United States. Meanwhile over one million children are forced into the sex market every year, meeting the supply of sex tourists who feel they can better “get away with” exploiting a child in another country.
Why do tourists sexually exploit children:
WHO ARE THESE SEX TOURISTS?
Child sex tourists are usually men and include:
1) Situational child sex abusers — men who may not have traveled with the intent to sexually exploit children, but just accepted an offer made or were influenced by peers, advertising or other media.
2) Preferential child sex abusers — men whose sexual activity focuses on young people under 18 years old.
3) Pedophiles — men with a diagnosable disorder that causes them to focus all of their sexual interest on pre-pubescent children.
The legitimate travel industry does not support commercial sexual exploitation of children. But its facilities may be used to that effect. There is a sex tourism industry that promotes sex tours to many destinations. They usually do not promote child sex tours, at least in the United States, but travelers take these tours knowing that at the destination, anything goes.
Current ECPAT-USA Projects to Prevent Child Sex Tourism