World Tourism Organization

Topic: Sex Tourism
Director: Renata Chilcaca
Secretary: Monika Frankerberger
Moderator: Sergio Guadarrama

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World Tourism Organization


The Committee

Sex tourism is travel to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes. The World Tourism Organization, defines sex tourism as "trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside this 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".

Sex tourism includes domestic sex tourism, which is travel within the same country, or international sex tourism, which involves travel across national borders. It is a multibillion dollar industry which not only benefits financially the sex industry, but also the airline, taxi, restaurant and hotel industries.


The history of Sexual tourism dates back when soldiers needed places to relax and recreate after long walks and trajectories in camps. When the military started developing into seas, such as trade trips, the cities changed into busy roads with places of entertainment for sailors and dealers.

In the 19th century, the life in France (after the industrial revolution) brought other ways to understand sexual tourism, for example the opening of cabarets and night clubs to offer a romantic environment in many European cities.

Sexual tourism did not arise as a way of improving tourism, the nightclubs and brothels were places designed for the local population, but due to comments and rumors of the experiences people had in there, and the morbid fascination of knowing what was happening, more people started getting curious about it and a lot of people started visiting those places.

In the 20th century, the cabaret concept was already spread mostly all over Europe, America and Asia.

In the United States, because of some Christian standards, it all was completely forbidden at the beginning, which caused that Mexican border cities became into fun centers where it was allowed to do what they could not in their country. Tijuana was the most famous city to visit and to find possibilities to entertain and go back at the same day because of the short distance.

Current situation

The boom of tourism industry within the country has created employment and business opportunities for the local people. This has attracted children to seek out opportunities for employment in the tourist areas. These children are obviously those who are most risky for sexual exploitation. The lucrative business of the child sex industry has contributed to increase high mobility of labor trafficking in children for sexual purpose.

Generally, an adult can travel and engage in a sexual activity with an adult prostitute, in similar circumstances as would apply to local prostitution. However, when the sexual activity involves child prostitution, is non-consensual or involves sex trafficking, it is generally illegal, both in the participating country and sometimes in the individual's home country.

Sexual activity is often seen as a private matter, making communities reluctant to act and intervene in cases of sexual exploitation. These attitudes make children far more vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Most exploitation of children takes place as a result of their absorption into the adult sex trade where they are exploited by local people and sex tourists. The Internet provides an efficient global networking tool for individuals to share information on destinations and procurement.

The main causes that promote sexual tourism in other countries or regions are the following:

  • Tolerance from the authority
  • Consents for lower ages.
  • More impunity above the crimes.
  • Lower prices (the client spends less money traveling from a rich country to a poor one)
  • Privacy
  • The client founds certain ethnic groups more “attractive”.
  • The client prefers the “ethic” of foreign prostitutes.
  • The client prefers having sex in a tropical and warm environment.


Human rights organizations warn that sex tourism contributes to human trafficking and child prostitution. The U.N. opposes sex tourism citing health, social and cultural consequences for both tourist home countries and destination countries, especially in situations exploiting gender, age, social and economic inequalities in sex tourism destinations.

In August 1996, the Stockholm Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children introduced its Agenda for Action which urged all participants:

  • to mobilize the business sector, including the tourism industry, against the use of its networks and establishments for the commercial sexual exploitation of children; and
  • to promote better co-operation and encourage the establishment of national and international coalition to this effect.

At the Congress, as much as 122 countries agreed on taking measures to put a curb on the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Sri Lanka Tourist Board has been provided with financial and technical support. As well as mass media campaigns on television, radio and in newspapers, messages will be relayed to tourists through a range of devices such as in-flight magazines and videos, billboards, posters, car-stickers and flyers. Legal penalties for the sexual exploitation of children range from five to 20 years imprisonment.


Sexual turism is part of a profitable economic activity, which is Increasingly global and articulated. It includes prostitution, pornography and human trafficking. This activity generates income, jobs and profits within the tourism system where it develops and it is also an inducer of sustainable socioeconomic development and it could also destroy tourism in some countries.

Possible solutions

In order to prevent the sexual exploitation of children in tourism, the Task Force’s main objectives are:

  • to build awareness among the tourism sector, governments and tourists
  • to encourage the tourism industry to engage in good and ethical practices, to adopt professional codes of conduct and other self-regulatory measures,
  • to invite governments to take administrative and legal measures, such as designating focal points (contact persons) within their national tourism administration, establishing emergency hotlines, strengthening national legislation against sexual abuse of children in tourism and improving law enforcement,
  • to encourage co-operation between the public and private sector, as well as between tourist generating and receiving countries, and
  • to monitor the fight against the sexual exploitation of children in tourism networks at national and international level.

One of the most terrifying issues to combat is sex tourism, especially when applied to children. This is a very lucrative business, thus attracting more and more people to run it. Consequently, more and more children are victimized. Indeed, putting an end to sexual exploitation in tourism is a very tough assignment and needs cooperation across all sectors including travel and tourism industries.


World Tourism Organization

Sex Tourism