Prosecuting Sex Tour Operators in U.S. Courts in an Effort to Reduce the Sexual Exploitation of Children Globally
Boston University Public Interest Law Journal, Vol. 9, pp. 1-23, 1999
25 Pages Posted: 19 Sep 2000 Last revised: 17 Mar 2009
The commercial sexual exploitation of children is a global human rights abuse that has devastating effects on millions of children who are victims of the sex trade. A significant aspect of the problem is the rapidly growing sex tourism industry, in which thousands of men travel each year to developing countries and engage in illegal sexual acts with minors. Although recently some governments have passed legislation that makes it a crime to travel overseas to engage in sexual activity with a minor, little has been done to reduce the sex tourists' access to these children.
In this article, the author examines the prospects for prosecuting sex tour operators, presenting it as one means of helping to reduce sex tourists' access to such activities and thus child prostitution in general. The author offers this step as one way in which those countries whose tourists travel to developing countries for such illegal sexual activity can contribute to ending such exploitation. The Article offers examples of relevant federal law, including several provisions of the Mann Act, and state law, using New York law as an example. While the commercial sexual exploitation of children is a complex problem that must be addressed on a number of levels, the author demonstrates that federal and state prosecutors have the means both to prevent U.S. citizens from organizing sex tours and profiting from such human rights abuses of children and to help reduce the sexual exploitation of children globally.
NOTE: An addendum on subsequent law has been added to the end of the article (March 2009).
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