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Human trafficking has been recognized as one of the most expansive and challenging human rights issues affecting today’s global community. Began in the 1960s and 1970s, as global travel became more affordable and more accessible to the general population, there was an explosion in international travel and tourism.
Many countries began relying on revenues from tourism as an important addition to the national economy. Governments began developing national tourism policies and programs in hopes of promoting continued growth. This new source of income was especially important to many third world countries that, at the time, were in the beginning stages of economic development. In conjunction with the growth of traditional tourism, many countries also experienced the growth of another industry, sex tourism.
“Sex tourism” is defined as specific planned travel for the purpose of sex. In this context, these travelers are referred as “sex tourists”. The World Tourism Organization, defines sex tourism as “trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside the sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial-sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination”. In addition, thus far, it has been assumed that the terms “sex tourism” and “prostitute” or “sex worker” are self-evident, but it has also been shown that many different situations and interpretations.
Sexual tourists have varied characteristics and motivations. They include persons of any gender travelling abroad or domestically for the purposes of sex. While the majority of sexual tourists are men, women do account for a small proportion of offenders. Many sexual tourists are “situational abusers”, meaning that they may not consistently engage in the practice but will take advantage of the opportunity when it arises. They can be any type of traveler, including tourists, volunteers, or persons who travel for work.5 Related to female sex tourists, there are four types of female sex tourist identified, namely:
Those tourists can do various forms of sexual interaction. Sexual tourism allows these individuals to feel free from the social restraints governing their behavior at home. They discard their moral values abroad and think they can escape the consequences by taking advantage of weak legal systems and the anonymity afforded by travel.
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