The Ethical Problems of Tourism: Sex Tourism
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Sex tourism is the term used for travel with the intent to engage in sexual activity. The United Nations World Tourism Association defines sex tourism in their Global Code of Ethics for 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. The Philippines, like some other Southeast Asian countries, has an unfortunate reputation for prostitution and sex tourism. It’s a huge industry domestically with an estimated 800,000 men, women and, sadly, children working in the trade. The country’s international image as a sex destination was largely a result of the US military presence here during and after World War II when “go go” or “girlie” bars flourished around the bases at Clark and Subic Bay.
While it’s illegal to sell or procure sex, the trade still operates under the guise of entertainment: sex workers are employed as singers, dancers, waitresses or “guest relations officers” in clubs and bars where they are expected to leave with any client who pays a fee. Then there’s what are euphemistically dubbed “freelancers”, prostitutes that independently cruise bars looking for paying customers. According to the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women ,some fifteen thousand Australian men a year visit Angeles, north of Manila, on sex tours; plenty of Americans, Brits and Europeans join them, while Koreans, Taiwanese and Chinese have developed their own networks, usually based on karaoke bars and restaurants. Manila, Cebu City, Subic Bay and Pasay City are also major sex destinations. “Child prostitution”
Child Protection in the Philippines estimates that almost half the prostitutes in the Philippines are underage, many of them street children lured from the provinces by the promise of work or simply food and water. If you suspect someone of being a paedophile or engaging in any abusive behaviour towards minors, “Mail-order brides”
Though you will often see older Western men accompanied by young, attractive Filipina women, don’t assume all of these are prostitutes; the situation is confused further by the legal and equally popular phenomenon of mail-order brides (most now arranged by online dating sites) – plenty of the men you’ll see have been matched with their Filipina “girlfriend” and intend to marry them, however dubious this might seem. Laws regarding Sex tourism
The Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act of 2003, (Republic Acts of the Philippines) R.A. No. 9208, is a consolidation of Senate Bill No. 2444 and House Bill No. 4432.
The 1992 child protection law, Republic Act No. 7610 (Special Protection of Children against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act) provides protection of children against abuse, commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, and employment in illicit activities. Republic Act No. 7658 (amending RA 7610) set minimum age of employment to 15 years, and 18 years and above for hazardous work. Republic Act 7160 (The Local Government Code of 1991) includes provisions for the proper development and welfare of children at the basic political level, the Barangay. It enjoins local officials to promote and support activities for the protection and total development of children, particularly those below seven years of age, and adopt measures to prevent and eradicate drug abuse, child abuse, and juvenile delinquency.
Republic Act No. 9231 (19 December 2003 – An Act Providing for the Elimination of the WFCL and Affording Stronger Protection for the Working Child) – amends R.A. No. 7610 by embodying the State policy to provide special protection to children from all forms of abuse, neglect, cruelty, exploitation and discrimination, and conditions prejudicial to their development, including child labor and its worst forms. It also provides stiffer penalties for their commission. It spells out the WFCL, consistent with Convention No. 182; the hours of work of working children; and ownership, usage and administration of the working child’s income. Further, it ensures working children’s access to education and training, and immediate legal, medical and psychosocial services.
Groups having advocacy in sex tourism
Asia ACTs Against Child Trafficking
Asia Against Child Trafficking (Asia ACTs), based in the Philippines, is the regional campaign to fight child trafficking in Southeast Asia. Asia ACTs is part of the International Campaign against Child Trafficking (ICaCT) coordinated by Terre des Hommes (TDH)-Germany and the International Federation of Terre des Hommes.
Coalition Against Trafficking in Women- Asia Pacific (CATW-AP) In April 1993, the “Conference on Women Empowering Women: A Human Rights Conference on Trafficking in Asian Women” held in Manila, Philippines gave birth to the CATW – Asia Pacific.
International Labour Organization (ILO) Manila
ILO Manila undertakes programs to improve health and safety consciousness, eliminate extreme forms of child labor and provide safety nets for marginalized workers.
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The IOM headquarters in Geneva has transferred some of its functions to the Philippines, making IOM Manila an IOM Administrative Center.
Solidarity Center – USAID – Trade Union Congress of the Philippines Anti-Trafficking Project The Solidarity Center, in cooperation with the Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) and other local NGO partners, supports a counter-trafficking awareness program that includes a project website and development of a trafficking database.
The Asia Foundation
In the Philippines, the Asia Foundation supported Pulse Asia in conducting research that helped launch an advocacy campaign for drafting a law on trafficking –the Anti-trafficking Law was passed in May 2003.
According to UNICEF, there has been an increase in reported cases of child abuse, sexual exploitation, child labour in hazardous conditions, children in armed conflict, and children in conflict with the law.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
The first anti-human trafficking project the Global Programme against Trafficking in Human Beings entitled “Coalition against Trafficking in Human Beings in the Philippines”, was initiated in 1999 by UNODC and UNICRI with support from the United States and the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC).
World Vision is one of two organizations funded by the United States Department of Labor/ International Labor Affairs Bureau (DOL/ILAB) in 2003 in the Philippines.
ECPAT Philippines aims to build a vibrant web of structures and mechanisms for enhancing programmes and services for the promotion, protection and fulfillment of children’s rights.
Conclusion and personal stand:
I therefore conclude that sex tourism is a negative way to attract tourist to go on our country. We’re not just humiliating our country but also depriving those who are victimized by the actions we would make if our country keeps on letting such industry involving sex tourism grow. Children, Men & Women who are victimized are not only traumatized by such experience but their dignity and freedom to live peaceful and happy lives are taken away from them and this industry is not a solution to poverty which some of the victims reason out for doing and engaging themselves to this kind of works. I do hope that the government and the NGO’s would do their best to lessen and soon completely abolish this industry in the future.