CHILD-SEX TOURISTS DESTROY CHILDHOODS. YOU CAN STOP THEM.
Over 50 million international visitors travel to ASEAN every year.
Most visitors are responsible travellers who respect the local environment, culture and people.
Sadly some visitors seek to sexually exploit children.
These child-sex tourists use the facilities offered by the tourism industry (hotel, transport, bars, travel agencies) to gain access to children.
Child-sex tourism is against the law and there are harsh penalties for offenders in this country and around the world.
Two million children around the world have been forced into the sex industry. Some of them are only five years old.
A large percentage of these children live in ASEAN countries. In some of these countries, up to one third of all sex workers are children.
The effects on children are profound and last a lifetime. The abuse also has a devastating effect on families, the local community and our country.
Child-sex tourism threatens the future of our tourist industry.
When responsible tourists see signs of child abuse and exploitation they are unlikely to return. As a result, tourism income declines and jobs disappear.
The good news is that we can act to stop these child-sex tourists. Our actions will attract more responsible tourists to visit the wonderful sights we have to offer.
When we protect our children from child-sex tourists we are also protecting our tourism industry and our livelihoods.
ARE CHILDREN AT RISK IN YOUR HOTEL OR GUESTHOUSE?
It looks so innocent.
A child walking through a guesthouse hand-in-hand with a local woman. Nobody looks twice.
But it may not be as innocent as it looks. It is possible that the woman has been paid by a child-sex tourist to bring the child to his room to be abused.
Alert employees can stop these child-sex tourists. In March 2005 a Sydney man, Gregory Cook, was jailed in Australia for 18 months. He was arrested when cleaning staff saw him inappropriately touching a Vietnamese girl in the pool of is hotel in Danang .
Hotel receptionists, concierges, security guards, housekeepers, porters, room service staff, swimming pool attendants and managers should all pay attention to the behavior of their guests.
It may be as simple as noticing a little pair of sandals next to a big pair outside a room. Or a tourist inappropriately touching a child in the grounds of a hotel or guesthouse. These tourists are usually men, but occasionally men and women will travel together to appear normal and avoid discovery.
If you see a situation where a child may be at risk, or if something makes you feel uncomfortable, you must report it.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN GUESTHOUSES, HOTELS AND ENTERTAINMENT VENUES
- A tourist taking a local child to their room or on an outing.
- Local people taking children to a tourist's room
- Sexually explicit photos of children left around a tourist's room
- Tourists bringing local children to the hotel pool
- Tourists being very effectionate with a local child or touching them inappropriately.
IS HE ASKING TO GO TO SIGHTS THAT ARE ONLY 10 YEARS OLD?
Travel agents, tour guides and transport services (taxi, tuk-tuk, cyclo and moto drivers and ferry, train and bus staff) have daily contact with travellers.
Child-sex tourists rely on these services for information about and access to children.
Museum staff in Vientiane, in Lao PDR, tell us "In recent times we have noticed more western tourists coming to this museum accompanied by young girls. The tuk-tuk drivers are bringing them here."
In Vietnam a tour guide reports. "When we are on a tour it is the evenings that are a problem. If we take groups of travellers to Nha Trang they like to go out in the evening. Sometimes a guest will ask where they can locate prostitute. Sometimes they ask for young prostitutes".
The requests and behavior of these tourists can make you feel very uneasy. If you feel concerned that a child might be at risk, it is critical that you report what you've seen to local authorities or phone the hotline number 01 513 227.
These offenders will soon learn that children are not easy prey. They will know that local people are watching them and that their criminal activities will result in long jail sentences.
By taking these simple steps, our children will be safe once again and our country will attract responsible tourists who we welcome with open arms.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN TRAVE AGENCIES, TAXIS AND ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT
- Tourists who ask where they can find children for sex.
- Tourists asking to be taken to a location that is known for child-sex tourism.
- Tourists who are accompanied by local children and are behaving inappropriately.
LOOK OUT FOR VISITORS CARRYING GIFTS.
In March 2005, a Californian man was sentenced to 20 years in prison for child-sex tourism offences. When he was arrested in the Philippines, immigration and customs officials found he was carrying not only pornographic materials but nearly 45 kilograms of chocolate and candy.
The sinister intentions of child-sex tourists can often be uncovered by alert officials. Offenders usually plan their crimes in advance. This may include buying large quantities of candy and other gifts with which to seduce children.
Recently in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a 48 year-old Dutchman was arrested in his rented room with two naked 13 year-old boys. What helped lead police to him was the fact that he had been spotted earlier wearing a toy lion's head to entice young children.
Child-sex tourists have been known to offer parents and care-givers money and gifts in exchange for their children.
Children should not be left alone with international visitors.
All tourism professionals, customs and immigration officials and the local community should be alert to travellers carrying and offering gifts. Sometimes a visitor's motives may be suspicious.
When you know what to look for, it is easier to stop these criminals before they harm our children.
WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR AT PORTS AND AIRPORTS.
- Visitors carrying excessive amounts of candy, toys and other gifts
- Visitors with unusual toys
- Visitors offering parents money or goods in exchange for access to their children
- Visitors who seek unsupervised access to local children or spend a lot of time alone with children.
IF THESE ARE THE SIGHTS HE'S BEEN PHOTOGRAPHING, TELL US.
Child-sex tourists regularly take photographs, record video footage and keep written records of their abuse and exploitation of children.
Peter Swale is a UK citizen who was recently jailed for three years for sexual offences involving children. He took indecent photos of children in his Cambodian hotel room and was caught downloading them at an internet cafè. Police found a total of 3,865 images in his home.
An Australian tourist was jailed after an anonymous report from the people who developed photos he had taken, showing an eight year-old Thai girl being sexually abused.
With new technology, sexually explicit images of children can now be easily collected, saved transported and shared. Child pornography is a large and growing international industry from which criminals make enormous profits. Children are abused, exploited and harmed through the production and sale of these images.
If you see evidence in guest rooms, on computer screens, in internet cafès, in a passenger's luggage, in photo processing shops or elsewhere, you must report it.
We can all help to protect children and stop child-sex tourism.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
- Customers' films, flash cards or CDs with images of childpornography or abuse
- Customers who are viewing, downloading or buying childpornography on the internet
- Tourists who are showing other people sexually explicit images of children
- Customers using chat rooms to lure children into exploitative situations
- Evidence of sexually explicit images. These may appear as photos or be stored on computers and memory sticks
- Documentation of sexual liaisons with children.
REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOR.
Protecting our children from sexual exploitation is the responsibility of everybody. Together we will stop child-sex tourism.
If you see anything that makes you uneasy or raises your suspicions you must call the authorities. They will carefully investigate the situation and act if a crime is being committed.
CALL (+632) 117