Sex tourism is a new phenomenon created out of the citizens of the global North’s desires to travel to the exotic lands of the Global South. Much like human trafficking, this topic is actually quite old and has gained a lot of international attention due to its portrayal in films, books or the media. Both of these occurrences have foundations based in Westerner’s interactions with non-Europeans or “Others”. These interactions included first slavery, colonization and now what we like to call globalization. While globalization might have had positive effects for all of those involved, it also created new avenues to reinforce inequality and exploitation across gendered, sexed and racial lines.
To gain an overall understanding of each of the major concepts, I will define them using various sources of literature. First, there needs to be a link made between sex tourism and human trafficking. The former is described as,
An ambiguous term with some observers applying it strictly to organized tours in which sex with prostitutes is the main attraction, while others extend the concept to those who travel for other reasons but hire prostitutes while away. (Eirienne, 2009)
Within sex tourism there is a more sinister form known as child sex tourism. A report written by the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner stated that “this is an exploitation of children for sexual purposes by who those who travel to engage in sexual activities with children” (Combating Child Sex Tourism, 2013). This includes child trafficking, child prostitution, child pornography and the selling of children for sexual exploitation. As one can perceive from the definitions given above, sex tourism is a form of human trafficking in itself.
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