For a little under $3,000, G&F Tours will send you on a 10-day “nightlife” vacation to Thailand, the Philippines, or Cambodia, where you’ll enjoy the sandy and tranquil beaches, eclectic club scene, and of course, all the girls you could ever image. Highlights include a tour guide to help you navigate the local party scene, personal transportation, and an insider’s guide to the best clubs (and brothels) in town — all important tools in your belt to make your sex-cation unforgettable.
But if this isn’t for you, and you’re looking for true love, G&F Tours offers a “marriage tour,” where they promise to help you find a faithful and beautiful Southeast Asian girl: your soul-mate. All of this for a modest fee. Book today, before all seats fill up.
Disgusted yet? Well, this industry is growing. And fast. Not only that, but many of these destinations, including the Philippines and Cambodia, are inundated with underage sex-workers. And while we have a law in the U.S. prohibiting American citizens and companies from traveling abroad to patronize prostitution with minors or assisting others in doing so — laws that G&F Tours claims to abide by — who knows what really goes on during the wild and crazy nights in the clubs of Bangkok.
This law is at least a good start, however. It was adopted in 2003 as part of the PROTECT Act and carries with it a maximum sentence of 30 years behind bars. Americans are strictly prohibited from traveling within the U.S. or abroad to have sex with minors, and companies, agencies, or individuals that facilitate this process for them are as well.
So far, the laws have been put to some use. Last August, three American citizens returning from Cambodia were arrested on allegations of sex tourism and prostitution involving children. More recently, a man from Florida was sentenced to 20 years in jail for purchasing sex from two sisters, who were 11 and 12 at the time, while on vacation to the Philippines.
I’m glad to see some justice being served, but I hope that we can go further and put a stop to sex tourism agencies all together. Who knows what really goes on behind closed doors? Companies like G&F Tours only increase the chances that one of their faithful patrons will spend the night with a child — boy or girl — for a modest fee.
Some may argue that such laws go beyond our jurisdiction and state that intent to engage in such nefarious activities with a minor is difficult to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, but I believe that it is our duty to protect those that don’t have the means or capabilities to protect themselves and to fight through such skepticism. We need laws like this, because if we don’t have them, who will?
The laws that we currently have in place are crucial to combating human trafficking and exploitation of some of the world’s most vulnerable and innocent citizens. But we must find a way to apply them more heavily and prohibit companies or individuals from helping others exploit the world’s youth. American tourists are still traveling abroad to prey on young boys and girls and “tourist agencies” are still out there helping them do so. Until law enforcement and government authorities begin aggressively fighting child sex tourism, the industry will continue to grow, and the lives of even more children will be ruined.
by Maia Blume March 25, 2010 06:00 AM (PT)
Photo credit: r e n a t a