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Chapter 5 Child Sex Tourism

DOI: 10.23912/978-1-906884-14-7-1286

ISBN: 978-1-906884-14-7

Published: September 2010

Component type: chapter

Published in: Tourism and Crime

Parent DOI: 10.23912/978-1-906884-14-7-1148



If sex tourism is the dark, if debated, side of tourism, then child sex tourism represents the line in the sand that should never be crossed. While sex tourism involving adults provokes a variety of opinions and positions (Cohen, 1982; Oppermann, 1998; Kempadoo et al., 2005; O’Connell-Davidson and Sánchez Taylor, 2005; Sánchez Taylor, 2006; Day, 2007; Eades, 2009), child prostitution involving tourists is universally condemened and high-profile cases, such as the trial of Gary Glitter, point to the depths of public revulsion against such behaviour. The last 20 years have seen vocal campaigns against child sex tourism, resulting in changes in national legislation in many countries, statements and taskforces from the World Tourism Organization, the inauguration of World Congresses against the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and a universal determination to stamp out a crime and a moral outrage. Despite the public outcry and changes in legislation, however, child sex tourism continues and, in some ways, the moral indignation that the subject arouses obscures certain aspects of the situations in which children caught up in prostitution live and work. There is still a dearth of information about how children meet clients, what is expected of them and their paths in and out of prostitution (Montgomery, 2001a, 2001b). Their clients are even more unknown and there is very little research (as opposed to anecdotal) evidence that discusses their motivations, their modus operandi or their choices about which countries they will visit and where they can find opportunities for sexual activity with children (Ennew, 1986; Montgomery, 2008; for an excellent overview of the available evidence see O’Connell-Davidson, 2005). At both national and international levels, legislation to protect children, although much heralded, has proved inadequate, and left unanswered important questions about enforcement and practical help for the children affected. In this chapter, I examine the legislation in place to tackle the problem of child sex tourism, and contrast this with a case study from Thailand of a small community in which children worked as prostitutes in order to support their parents and themselves. In doing so, I am not arguing for any moral ambivalence or ambiguity in discussions of child sex tourism. Rather, I wish to point out the lacuna between those discussions and the lived realities of the children.

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  • Heather Montgomery, Open University (Author)

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Montgomery, 2010

Montgomery, H. (2010) "Chapter 5 Child Sex Tourism" In: Botterill, D. & Jones, T. (ed) . Oxford: Goodfellow Publishers http://dx.doi.org/10.23912/978-1-906884-14-7-1286


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Published in Tourism and Crime

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