Child Sex Tourism — the act of traveling to sexually exploit children — is, unfortunately, more pervasive than you might think. This heinous crime can involve travel to a country with less restrictive or unenforced laws (usually poorer countries), or can occur within the perpetrator’s home country.
Child sex tourism is a form of human trafficking. Essentially, it’s modern day slavery.
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Child sex tourism takes various forms, but it is typically adult men who, in the course of traveling, pay for sex with children through cash or gifts. Some Americans take advantage of prostituted children while traveling to impoverished countries for business, tourism, and other legitimate reasons. Others travel abroad specifically for a "sex tour."
The good news
The United States has laws that prohibit sex with minors in other countries and has greatly increased government efforts to combat this problem.Under the Protect Act of 2003, United States citizens or residents who engage in sexual activity abroad with a child under 18 can face 30 years in a U.S. prison. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is now actively investigating American sex tourists abroad and making arrests.
Beginning in 2004, in partnership with The U.S. State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), World Vision’s Child Sex Tourism Prevention Program contributed to the effort to educate travelers, train law enforcement, and deter and prosecute child sex tourists. The program focused on raising awareness for travelers, law enforcement training for police, and increased vigilance by the tourism industry.
However, more must be done. Through a loophole in the law, the United States government can prosecute Americans visiting a country and exploiting children, but cannot prosecute an American living overseas and exploiting children.
Help close this loophole. Urge your members of Congress to support the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act. Call them today, using our call log. The current bill expired on September 30, so we need action now.
Learn more about the fight to stop child trafficking and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.