A major study warned on Thursday, that sexual abuse of children by tourists and travellers alike is a growing concern around the globe that has managed to deny attempts to curb it in the last two decades.
This rather grim reading published by the landmark reportwho had collaborated with researchers concluding that “no region is untouched by this crime and no country is ‘immune’.”
Over 70 child protection agencies, academics and charities have contributed to the UN-backed “Global Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism” – This has been hailed as one of the most comprehensive reviews of its kind.
Going back to the last 20 years, researchers have found that child sex abuse “has doubled across the globe and outpaced every attempt to respond at the international and national level.”
researchers found that the nature and level of sex abuse to young children by travellers vary from region to region, the report’s authors have pointed out two major contributing causes for its spread: new technology and cheap travel have allowed predators to share information and abuse more easily.
The author has also said, public and policing perceptions of child sex tourism are now outdated.
Middle-aged men, white and western are no more stereotypical offenders.
These days offenders come from all walks of life, with many predators, opportunists and not people who would not consider themselves serial paedophiles.
Local and regional abusers
A big example of child sex tourism’s change in nature is in Southeast Asia, this is now one of the globe’s biggest child sex tourism hotspots.
The authors have noted that while Western paedophiles are still an ongoing problem, policing has tightened thanks to the increased cooperation between Western governments and Southeast Asia.
Nowadays, victims are more likely to be targeted by regional or local travellers in Southeast Asia – and these are South Korean. Japanese and Chinese tourists. This is due to the fact that these groups travel throughout the region in larger numbers.
The authors have stated that “Research into the scope and nature” of that change, is “urgently required”.
Europe, that was known as primarily a source of paedophile tourists, is now on top as a destination, especially in some Central and Eastern European nations that are very lacking in child protection laws.
In North Africa and the Middle East, the authors cite ongoing conflicts, traditions such as “temporary marriage” and the low status of women in many cultures as major contributing factors.
Poor countries in Latin America and South Asia have seen a huge expansion in both local and foreign travel and are known for their weak law.
Even in the most remote of places, predators are now able to travel and abuse.
Researchers have now said that, for example, that there is more evidence that children can be bought for sex in places such as some Pacific Island nations, Peru, Moldova, Laos and Myanmar.
In the past, meaning twenty years ago, it might have been possible to draw a rough global map showing where international travelling paedophiles were from, and where they were going, but today the distinctions between countries of destination and countries of origin are rather blurred.
With convictions of paedophiles at a low, “more collective actions” are needed “to prevent these crimes and better protect children,” according to Dorothy Rozga, executive director of ECPAT International, which has overseen the report.