Denise Chen - Sep 2, 2008

It is one of the very sad aspects of world tourism: sex tourism. This is not referring to the Amsterdam’s infamous red light district, yet to the abuse which children in numerous impoverished countries around the world are subject to at the hands of individuals who have no opportunity to commit such lewd acts in their own country. The classic example and the most recent case is the one of Gary Glitter, the 1970´s pop idol who has just returned to the UK having served some time in a Vietnamese jail for molesting girls of 11 and 12 years old. It is estimated that up to 14% of the children of Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia are subject to such abuse. The UK charity Ecpat, which mainly deals with children, claims that the British government is not doing enough to stop this evil trend in modern tourism.


They say that putting offenders on a sex offenders register offers absolutely no help whatsoever to the estimated 1 million children being abused every year. They say that such acts must be stopped on British soil, before the offenders have chance to go abroad and commit their crimes.


The problem is actually quite serious as 15 British nationals were arrested for sexual offences in Thailand alone last year. Other countries such as Ghana, India and Albania are well-known targets for offenders. The charity claims that suspicious individuals should be interviewed and checked before making trips to such destinations.


Light has been shed on a further problem because the UK finds difficulty in tracking the offenders once they are outside the UK. This perhaps explains why Gary Glitter was keen on staying in Asia and saw returning to the UK as an absolute last alternative. More steps must be taken to stop children being abused around the globe.

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