The Tourism we do not talk about. A study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism, with a focus on Argentina and Brazil

©2018 Textbook 118 Pages


Countries facing substantial socioeconomic problems where tourism acts as an engine for development often become vulnerable to the phenomenon known as „sex tourism”. South America is a region that shows a high incidence of commercial activities of this kind, which also hides many forms of exploitation, sex trade of children being one of the most serious. What leaves room for its occurrence often are the gaps present in the legislations, along with the obsolete applicability of such laws, or even our indifference as actors capable of provoking social change.
This book contains a study that seeks to identify the origins of the occurrence and the legal apparatus available to deal with the incidence of commercial sexual exploitation of children in the region, focusing on Brazil – as a pioneer – and Argentina – a recent country dealing with such an issue. Through an analysis of the evolution of the legal framework in both countries and the international mechanisms the book is also an invitation to the reader to reflect on this unmentioned side of tourism.


Table Of Contents

Hartmann Matschulat, Alana: The Tourism we do not talk about. A study on Sexual
Exploitation of Children in Tourism, with a focus on Argentina and Brazil, Hamburg,
Anchor Academic Publishing 2018
Buch-ISBN: 978-3-96067-206-7
PDF-eBook-ISBN: 978-3-96067-706-2
Druck/Herstellung: Anchor Academic Publishing, Hamburg, 2018
Covermotiv: © pixabay.de
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The German National Library lists this publication in the German National Bibliography.
Detailed bibliographic data can be found at: http://dnb.d-nb.de
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"Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future.
Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation."
­ Nelson Mandela, at the National Men's march. Pretoria, 22 November 1997.
A study dedicated to all the children who are still out there suffering the neglect of our care.

1.1 METHODOLOGY ... 10
2.1.1 The Mechanisms ... 14
2.1.2 The Causes ... 16
2.1.3 The Profile of the Victims ... 18
2.1.4 The Profile of the Offenders ... 19
3.1 ARGENTINA ... 23
3.1.1 Argentine National Regulatory Framework ... 29
3.2 BRAZIL ... 43
3.2.1 Brazilian National Regulatory Framework... 51
Interview I ... 91
Interview II ... 97
Questionnaire Questions ... 100
Questionnaire Responses ... 102

List of Charts
Chart 1: Argentine Legal Framework ... 29
Chart 2: Brazilian Legal Framework ... 52
Chart 3: International Legal Framework ... 71

List of Illustrations
Image 1: Map child sex exploitation in tourism ... 82
Image 2: Long-affected and Emerging SECT Destinations ... 82
Image 3: Material distributed to tourists at the airport ... 83
Image 4: Campaign against SECT in Argentina ... 83
Image 5: Campaign material - Against sexual exploitation and grooming ... 84
Image 6: Banner campaign against SECT during the Copa America ... 84
Image 7: Campaign Material - Executive Committee against trafficking in persons ... 85
Image 8: Campaign Material - Report trafficking in persons ... 85
Image 9: Campaign Material - Trafficking is not seen with the naked eye ... 85
Image 10: Banner tourism campaign Embratur in 1978 ... 86
Image 11: "Women, the biggest attraction." Embratur, 1973 ... 86
Image 12: Postcard sold in the 80s and 90s in Brazil, prohibited after the law ... 87
Image 13: Federal Government Campaign - Do not look away, protect ... 87
Image 14: During the football world cup stay a responsible supporter ... 87
Image 15: It's a Penalty Campaign... 88
Image 16: It's a Penalty Campaign with David Luiz ... 88
Image 17: It's a Penalty Campaign ­ Your silence will not protect them. Your voice will. . 88
Image 18: Child sex exploitation is not tourism. It is a crime. ... 89
Image 19: Travel, but do not abuse. ... 89
Image 20: Children are not a merchandise ... 89
Image 21: Commercial Sexual exploitation of Children. If you saw it, report it. ... 90

List of Abbreviations
American Convention on Human Rights
Buenos Aires City (Ciudad Autónoma Buenos Aires)
Convention against Torture, or Convention against Torture and Other Cruel,
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UNCLAL)
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
National Council of Social Assistance (Conselho Nacional de Assistência
CONANDA: National Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents (Conselho
Nacional dos Direitos da Criança e do Adolescente)
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Center for Technical References in Psychology and Public Policy (Centro
de Referencias Técnicas em Psicologia e Políticas Públicas)
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
Child Sex Tourism
European Commission
Child and Adolescent Statute (Estatuto da Criança e do Adolescente)
End Child Prostitution and Trafficking organization
Extraterritorial Legislation
Federal Bureau of Investigation
National Forum on the Rights of Children and Adolescents (Fórum
Nacional dos Direitos da Criança e do Adolescente)
National Forum of Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor (Fórum
Nacional de Prevenção e Erradicação do Trabalho Infantil)
Gini index is a measurement of the income distribution of a country's
Global Sustainable Tourism Review
Human Development Index

Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (Instituto Brasileiro de
Geografia e Estatística)
Inter-American Convention on International Traffic in Minors
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant workers and
members of their families
Inter-American Children's Institute
International Labor Organization
International Program on the Elimination of Child Labor of the International
Labor Organization
International Criminal Police Organization
International Organization for Migration
Brazilian Institute of Applied Economic Research (Instituto Brasileiro de
Pesquisa e Economia Aplicada)
MERCOSUR: Southern Cone Common Market (Mercado Común del Cono Sur)
National Movement of Boys and Girls living in the Street (Movimento
Nacional de Meninos e Meninas de Rua)
Non-governmental organization
Organization of American States
Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Program of Integrated and Reference Actions to Confront Sexual Violence
in Children and Adolescents in the Brazilian Territory (Programa de Ações
Integradas e Referencias de Enfrentamento à violência sexual infanto-
juvenil no território Brasileiro)
Research on Trafficking of Women, Children and Adolescents for the
purposes of Commercial Sexual Exploitation in Brazil (Pesquisa sobre
tráfico de mulheres, crianças e adolescentes para fins de exploração sexual
comercial no Brasil)
National Survey of Households (Pesquisa Nacional por Amostra de

National Rescue and Support for Victims Program (Programa Nacional de
rescate y acompañamiento de víctimas)
PRONAICA: National Program of Integral Attention to Children and Adolescents
(Programa Nacional de Atenção à Criança e ao Adolescente)
Network against trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of
Children and Adolescents (Red Nacional alto al Tráfico, la Trata y la
Explotación Sexual Comercial De Niños Niñas y Adolescentes)
Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
United Nations
United Nations Development Program
United Nations Children's Fund
United Nations Interregional Institute for Research on the Crime and Justice
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime
Victims against Violence Program (Las Victimas contra las Violencias)
World Bank
World Tourism Organization

The sexual exploitation of children is a serious problem in our society, which affects
an estimated 2 million children around the world annually (Unicef, 2005, p.1). That is to say
that one child is sexually exploited every 15 seconds.Given the hidden nature of this crime,
this number may correspond only to a part of the total number of incidences. Among these
cases, there are many that relate to commercial sexual exploitation, in which a child is used
for sexual purposes in exchange for cash or favors.
Jointly with the forms of commercial sexual exploitation of children is the sexual
exploitation linked to tourism, in which the tourist intentionally or occasionally have sexual
intercourse with a minor while traveling.The growth of this global lucrative activity is
alarming even though its actual scale is not known due to a lack of existing research and
availability of data on the phenomenon. Hence, the lack of understanding of the issue
amongst key stakeholders makes it difficult to obtain accurate figures and to increase
awareness about the problem.
In light of this, this study is presented aiming at raising important information that
can lead to a better understanding on the phenomenon of sexual exploitation of children in
tourism.For this, it is sought to make a brief historical survey of how it developed over the
years not only regarding its occurrence, but also in terms of conceptual evolution. From this,
the study is focused in the context of South America, region with high incidence of sexual
exploitation in tourism, with particular attention to two countries: Argentina, where the
phenomenon was recently identified, and Brazil, a pioneer dealing with it. Therefore, on the
base of the context presented in these two countries, we have been willing to analyze
through a parallel study how each oneis positioning itself at the normative level for
confronting such issue.
Considering also that the phenomenon of child sexual exploitation has international
scope, this study also seeks to ascertain the normative mechanisms present at the
international level. It consists on a global concern, demanding measures on a global scale to
be effectively solved. Hence, it is vital that such issue gets more attention and be discussed
more thoroughly, so solutions for its eradication can be properly pursued. Therefore, this
study seeks to contribute to the achievement of this goal, raising fundamental questions that

enrich the debate and provide a greater understanding of the phenomenon among
Gathering data on this particular topic is very challenging, since the sexual
exploitation of children is a hidden phenomenon in society in many aspects. While estimates
alert on the prevalence of this phenomenon, there is considerable uncertainty on such
statistics due to its limited coverage and scope.Therefore, regardingthe methodological
aspects for the elaboration of this research some considerations are relevant to mention:
The scope of this research combines literature review, coupled with participant
observation and a qualitative analysis of the situation. Although quantitative data is also
present in some points, it does not compose the focus of this research, since reliable statistics
on the sexual exploitation of children are difficult to obtain.
Firstly, to define a critical theoretical reference a bibliographical survey was carried
out. This data collection aimed at identifying and understanding the phenomenon, its
historical route, together with the conceptual evolution regarding its nomenclature.
Secondly, it was carried out participant observation through data collection in loco,
divided in two phases between Argentina and Brazil, which were the elected countries to
deepen this study.
The first phase took part in Argentina during the months of August to December
2016, when it was primarily conducted a survey of thenationallaws available in order to
verify the level of the country readiness for dealing with this issue. Furthermore several
governmental and non-governmental organizations working in this related area were visited,
and interviews were conducted. In the beginning there was some difficulty in collecting
information mainly due to the scarcity of material on this subject, but also due to a certain
reluctance of the interviewees to speak openly about the subject. The vast majority did not
authorize the recording nor thepublication of the interview and therefore, there was little use
of its content. To remedy this question and to continue with data collection, an anonymous
questionnairewas developed, which was then used as a research tool and implanted in the
following interviews conducted.In spite of this, it should be noted that the questionnaire was
implemented only as an instrument of support in the collection of information, and it does
not represent in itself a central element of the research carried out. Moreover, information

was collected at meetings, seminars, congresses and technical visits. In the opportunity
audiovisual materials were developed, of which some were made openly available.
Along these lines, the second phase of this studyoccurred between December 2016
and February 2017 in Brazil. Following the same sequence, first it was conducted a survey
aiming at analyzing the normative and legal devices used by the country in facing the issue,
likewise interviews were conducted with local stakeholders, where information could be
collected and applied in the content of the research. As a pioneer in tackling sexual
exploitation in tourism, no major problems were observed in collecting data, with all the
necessary information being easily accessible.
Finally, the data collected in both countries were put together and evaluated. It was
also considered the international and regional normative aspects on the subject, and the
conventions of the United Nations as well asof the Organization of American States were
analyzed.Through this, it was sought to verify how the international community is
positioned in relation to the object of study.
With the data collected it is expected to obtain a general analysis of the normative
and legal apparatus on the issue. The information collected refers, therefore, to the legal
point of view of the phenomenon, with an external focalization of such aspects. With this is
mind, the comparative analysis aims to identify how these countries are dealing with this
phenomenon at the normative and legislative level, and what are the similarities and
differences among these contexts.

The issue of child sexual exploitation occurs worldwide and affects society at
different levels, mobilizing organizations, entities and government agencies in unfolding
strategies to withstand it. Its incidence consist a grave violation of human rights and
seriously harms countless children, who become treated as a sexual and commercial objects.
The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) commonly refers to using
a child for sexual purposes in exchange for cash or favors between the client and the child or
intermediary agents who profit from such a trade. The Declaration and Agenda for Action
against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children
defined CSEC as the "sexual abuse by
an adult and remuneration in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons." Those
who profit include a wide range of persons, including parents, family members, and
procurers/agents, community members, largely men, but also women(Unicef, 2001 apud
Desai, 2010 p.364).
The phenomenon was first identified as a global concern at the Stockholm World
Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in 1996. Since then, the
international commitments have been renewed and over the years studies about the
phenomenon were deepened and better understood, as a consequence other forms of sexual
exploitation were identified, and much wider concept began to be outlined. From this
understanding, it was defined by the End Child Prostitution and Trafficking organization
, and then universally adopted the four modalities of sexual exploitation, which are:
Prostitution, pornography, trafficking for sexual purposes and sex tourism.
Child Sex Tourism (CST), which sometimes is referred as Sexual Exploitation of
Children in Tourism (SECT), is one form of CSEC that has received considerable media and
public attention over the past years. The growth of this activity is alarming even though the
actual scale of SECT is not known due to a lack of existing research and availability
The Declaration and Agenda for Action against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children is the document
presented in the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children in Stockholm, and
it is represented by the Governments of 119 countries, together with international non-governmental
organizations, Unicef and other agencies of the United Nations.
Ecpat is a non-governmental organization and a global network of civil society organizations with activities
specifically dedicated to ending the child pornography, the exploitation of children in prostitution, the
trafficking of children for sexual purposes and the sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism.
founded in 1990 with the purpose of ending the commercial sexual exploitation of children in Asia (its
acronym stood for: End Child Prostitution in Asia Tourism), and today its activities have spread all over the

of data on the victims and offenders. The difference between the nomenclatures is due to the
conceptual evolution that this phenomenon has undergone in the last years.
Being relatively recent, it gained attention of social organizations and government
agencies mostly in the `90s, raising awareness of the society as to the length and complexity
in addressing the use of children and adolescents in the sex market. This mobilization
enabled important advances with regard to a better understanding of the phenomenon. At
conferences, congresses, and global meetings in the years that followed, the conceptual
frame has been implemented and widespread.
Over the years, there has been an expansion of the term "sexual exploitation against
children", substituting the term "children prostitution", since this may lead to the idea that
the child/adolescent voluntarily opt such a way of life. Rather, most children are tricked or
forced into it: Brothel owners, human traffickers, and their accomplices frequently deceive,
kidnap, and coerce children into prostitution (Breckenridge 2004, apud Svensson, 2006,
p.644). Having sex with minors involves subjecting the body and the will of the victims,
depriving them of their most basic human rights. Hence, children and young people are
victims of sexual exploitation and any terms of reference should reflect this fact (Chejter,
2001, p.22). Therefore, the word "prostitution" should be seen as a phenomenon linked to
the adult world, correlating with the idea of consent, and not associated with the child
audience since its use can promote its characterization as offenders and not victims. In
addition, there are also those who avoid using the term "sex tourism" since it may lead to the
idea of amarket segmentation, that is, a new category of tourism, instead of framing it as a
social problem.
Therefore, in order to give due consideration and respect to the children who were
somehow introduced into this market and to attribute them the correct conception as victims
of this phenomenon, in this project, as long as it is pertinent, it will be used the term "Sexual
Exploitation of Children in Tourism".
The United Nations defines the phenomenon as"organized tourism that facilitates the
commercial sexual exploitation of anyone under 18 years old" (United Nations, 2001 apud
Patterson, 2007p.16). SECT can be understood as people who travel from one location to

another to engage in sexual acts with minors moving a highly profitable global industry
(Todres, 1999, p.9). Wonders and Michalowski (2001, p.545) definedit as "the convergence
between prostitution and tourism, which links the global and the local and draws attention to
both the production and consumption of sexual services".
A study conducted by the World Tourism Organization (WTO) in 2005, through
anonymous surveys, states that, of the nearly 700 million tourist trips that occur each year
worldwide, in 20% the main motivation is sex tourism, and, of these, 3% pursue children.
(WTO, 2005 apud Ecpat, 2013 p.1).
In order to better understand this phenomenon and thus to obtain accurate figures
about it, it will be now analyzed the mechanisms by which the problem diffuses, as well as
the profile of offenders and their victims.
2.1.1 The Mechanisms
The sexual exploitation of children and adolescents in tourism occurs when a person
travels from their place of origin or native country, in order to engage in sexual contact with
children and/or teenagers. Sex tourists often make the use of tourism-related services in
order to facilitate contact with children and adolescents allowingthem to keep a low profile
among the other people and the surrounding environment services (Ecpat, 2008, p.6).There
area vast number of services that can directly or indirectly be involved on SECT, such as
travel agencies, hotels, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, concert halls, taxi drivers, among
With respect to the variables involved in its mechanism it can be mentioned
important factors: The economic situation in the destination country, immigration control,
job market conditions, touristic events, period of stay of tourists, existence of facilitators and
local agencies in charge of providing touristic services, level of corruption, as well as the
level of local law enforcement, globalization trends, along with others, are all factors which
could increase the occurrence of this criminal practice.
Thus, it can be observed that its incidence is closely linked to the social problems
found in the host country, creating a flow of tourists coming from more developed countries
to poorer countries where the minor is. Hence, this evident social inequality allows citizens
from richer countries an opportunity to engage in illicit sexual activities with marginalized
populations. Considering this discrepancy in the socio-economic realities, child-sex

exploiters may try to rationalize their actions by claiming that having sex with a child is
culturally acceptable in the place they are visiting, or that the money or goods exchanged
benefit the child and his/her community (Ecpat 2008). As it is expressed on the Global
Study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism (2016, p.31), "sex
offenders offer cash and consumer goods to children in exchange for sex. For the most
impoverished, it is a matter of survival; but even those with more resources sometimes
engage in commercial sex to obtain, for example, cell phones or other `luxury' items".
The service can purchased directly from the child/adolescent, or in other cases, the
tourist purchases sexual services directly from a third party that control the victims into the
"industry" in a situation of exploitation (Ecpat, 2008, p.6). According to Fellini (2000,
p.2)"in many cases are the parents who because of limited resources give their children to
clandestine organizations in exchange of money".Minors who are exploited in touristic
destinations frequently live in the area where the injury occurs. However, in some cases they
can be objects of trafficking and are transferred to other locations inside or outside the
country to provide services to sex tourists. The incidence of trafficking aggravates the
problem of sexual exploitation in tourism, leaving the victims even more vulnerable,
considering that their legal status is uncertain and they are away from their communities,
which forces the minors to be even more dependent on those who profit from them.There is
a strong link between sexual exploitation of children in tourism, and sex trafficking of
minors, and therefore also in this project, often both will be treated together.
Finally, another aspect to be mentioned is the connection of SECT with the
production of pornography. In many cases, exploiters collect images of the abuse
committed, which can be used for their own consumption or can be sold to other consumers.
Therefore, these images can serve as a tool to attract sex tourists to a particular destination.
Hence, the Internet facilitates sex tourists who wish to find children in other countries with
whom they can engage in sexual activities, and it is also used by pedophiles to provide each
other with advice and encouragement.
In the same line, there is another form of child exploitation that has been widely
disseminated, known as "webcam child sex tourism". This alarming and still largely
unknown form of child exploitation is quickly spreading all over the world.In a document

submitted by Terre des Hommes,
for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights (OHCHR), according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimate,
there are 750,000 predators online at any time in 40,000 public chat rooms. (FBI, 2014 apud
OHCHR, 2014, p.2). This phenomenon was first brought to global knowledge in 2013 by
the Terre des Hommes organization located in the Netherlands.In less than two and a half
months the organization researchers were able to identify over 1,000 adults from more than
65 countries who were willing to pay children in developing countries to perform sexual acts
in front of the webcam.
Modern technologies have made child exploitation easier, and this
problematic new form of sexual exploitation continues to be widespread, being easy to find
on the Internet as well as on the "Darknet
"- a segmentation of the "Deepnet
" -
pornographic content involving children.
This new form of communicating and changing
information has providedtransgressors with greater access to overseas victims, protecting
them with the inherent anonymity of the Internet.
2.1.2 The Causes
One important factor that must be taken into consideration when the causes of SECT
are discussed is the modern phenomenon of globalization. Globalization implies rapid
changes, due to the presence of technology and media and this change can promote direct
impacts, both facilitating the affordability of travel, for example as well as modifying the
way people interact, which can bring issues as the sexual exploitation of children on the
Internet, as previously mentioned. Hence, by the behavior of new generations of consumers
various sectors of the economy are stimulated, including tourism and the sex industry.
In addition, it is also important to note the consequences of the economy in the
globalized market, which strongly affects different audiences at different levels. When a
country goes through a period of economic recession, and has its currency undervalued, it
could attract tourists from countries where the purchasing power is favorable to enjoy a trip
Terre des Hommes, which means Land of Men in English, is an international children's right charitable
humanitarian organization under the aegis of the International Federation of Terre des Hommes. It was
founded in 1960 by Edmond Kaiser in Switzerland.
As a strategy, the organization created "Sweetie", a 3D virtual 10 year old Philippine girl to "capture"
offenders.Available at: http://www.terredeshommes.org/webcam-child-sex-tourism/
The Darknet is a segmentation of the Deepnet, being accessed using a specific software. It is on the Darknet
that most part of the illegal contents is disposed, and for being encrypted and anonymous, is very used by
Deepnet, also known as Deepweb, Invisible Web, Undernet or Hidden Web, refers to the content on the
World Wide Web that is not indexed by default search engines, ie is not part of the Surface Web.

abroad. It is not uncommon that poorer countries rely on income from tourism and travel to
bolster their national economies, and South American countries are examples of this. In
such countries household budgets may depend on jobs generated by the tourism industry,
which discourages both reporting of incidents and enforcement of relevant laws. This
combination of poverty and tourism could make the country vulnerable to social exploitation
at various levels, being the sexual one of them.
Prostitution and child labor are strictly linked to poverty, which creates situations of
exclusion compelling certain people to choose alternatives of survival conditioned by social
injustice and unequal income distributions (Castro Niño, 2012 p.29). The relationship
between sexual exploitation of children and poverty is commonly noticed and the social and
cultural conditions are linked to the economic conditions of social exclusion from where
most of thesexually exploited girls and boys come from.
As defended by Carbajal (2002, p.175), it should be considered that "child sexual
abuse and `infantile prostitution' have the same origin: The adult and sexist power, since the
demand is majority formed by male."The victims live in an environment of marginalization
that often is summed to the factors of an unstable family environment and scanty level of
education. All this is strictly related to the lack of policies by the States andfacilitatesthe
occurrence of this activity.
Along the same lines, it is also important to note the social tolerance of violence in
the region that also helps to perpetuate sexual violence against children. As pointed by the
Ecpat (2016, p.31) "the presence of armed insurgencies, violent gangs and organized
trafficking networks facilitate child sexual exploitation."
Furthermore, not so unusual another cause pointed to the SECT is the fact that the
"tourists" prefer to relate sexually with children, believing in the myth that the probability of
contracting sexually transmitted diseases is smaller. There are still those in search of exotic
experiences, and those who seek to have relations with a virgin girl.
Hence, as mentioned above many can be the factors and causes that propitiate the
incidence of SECT, from the facilities brought by globalization, to the search for the
"exotic". However, the most incisive and worrisome is the economic and social disruption.
Aspects such as poverty, unemployment, corruption, internal conflictsand violence have all
weakened the family unit, leaving the children in a vulnerable condition becoming thus easy
targets for offenders and intermediaries.

2.1.3 The Profile of the Victims
Victims of SECToften come from contexts of socio-economic disadvantages, and
many of them belong to ethnic minorities, displaced communities and other socially
marginalized groups (Attac, 2007, p. 124). According to a studyconducted by Unicef (2006,
p.61), "most cases of child sexual exploitation occurs with African descents, from working
classes, with low education, who live in peripheral urban areas or municipalities of low
socioeconomic development. Victims can be both girls and boys, depending on the demand
of the explored location". Generally, comprises children who are already subjected to child
labor, and can easily become a victim of SECT. Sometimes, being born in a touristic
destination that depends on seasonal income, characterized by major wealth discrepancies
between incoming tourists and local inhabitants can be enough for a child to become a
victim. According to the Ecpat, many of the victims have possibly experienced domestic
violence and neglect, and are often stigmatized by their communities, facing difficulties in
obtaining formal or informal education. They do not receive community support, and do not
experience the same social interaction, either develop in the same way than other children
and adolescents. (Ecpat 2008, p.16)
It is difficult to measure the precise numbers of children victimized by SECT. This
can be explained considering the degree of concealment at different levels, and the low
complaints rate. Firstly it must be taken into consideration that it is a crime committed
against a child audience, mostly immature, that little knowledge has about their own rights.
Moreover, in many cases, the crime is instigated by the victim's own family, which for lack
of funds, sells the bodies of their children and family members in exchange for money in
order to gather financial support. In addition, it also occurs that those from who it should be
expected some sort of protection - such as police, judges,and politicians - may also be
involved in the scheme, and in some cases are even customers. Furthermore, another aspect
to be considered is that in many cases the very teenagers, by having knowledge of the
criminal nature of such practice, lie about their age pretending to be older. And yet,
sometimes the State itself has no knowledge, omits for political reasons, or does not give
importance to the incidence of such crimes, making it difficult to collect information, thus
making it impossible to establish an accurate diagnosis about such issue.
Besides this, another important factor that relates to the profile of the victim is the
age at which a person is considered a "child", to be then considered a victim. The problem
involving this issue is that it does not exist an internationally accepted definition of what is

considered to be a "child". The United Nations defines eighteen years old as the age of
majority, but does not preclude countries from establishing a lower threshold. Thus, in many
countries it is established an age of consent lower than eighteen, and this can frustrate not
only to establish a concise idea about the age of the victim but also the prosecution of a
person for sexual crimes committed against a child in another country.
Therefore, the victim's profile is considered on the basis of qualitative analysis of
studies conducted by organizations over the years. But it should be emphasized that the
precise data of children victimized by this phenomenon is still unclear.
2.1.4 The Profile of the Offenders
A sex tourist is an individual who travels abroad and engage in sexual activities with
minors. Studies conducted by Ecpatdivides the offender of SECT in three categories: Casual
sexual tourist, preferred sex tourist and pedophile. Hence, according to this study the casual
sex tourist is the one who abuses children and adolescents with the intention of experiencing
something new. The perpetrator does not have a sexual preference for children and
adolescents, but takes advantage when it is presented the opportunity to interact sexually
with a person under 18 years old, sheltered by the anonymity and impunity of being a
tourist.On the other hand, the preferential child sex tourist shows clear sexual inclination
towards children and teenagers. It is a person who may even have the ability to feel sexual
attraction to adults but actively seek minors for sexual contact. Furthermore, there is also the
pedophile sex tourist, who manifests an exclusive sexual inclination towards pre-pubescent
children. In most cases it is a psychiatric illness, and the offender does not consider that
sexual contact with children could be something harmful. (Ecpat, 2008, p.12)
Also according to the same study conducted by Ecpatthe vast majority of sexual
exploiters are casual sex tourists. They are usually men between 40 and 60 years old,
ordinary citizens, with a medium-high social economic status, who on a trip ends up relating
sexually with a minor, when given the opportunity. (Ecpat, op.cit, p.13) The flow mainly
occurs from economically developed countries to poorer countries, and it was identified that
Europeans are one of the largest consumers of child sex tourism in South America, as it was
expressed on the Communication from the European Commission on combating SECT.
(European Commission, 1996, p.8)Westerners' desire for sexual contact with local adults
and children is often structured by their racist constructions of the exotic and erotic

"primitive", while their racist assumptions about cultural difference are used to justify and
defend their sexually exploitative acts. (Davidson Taylor, 1996 apud Desai 2010, p.369)
The biggest influxes of tourists come from the so-called developed world, and they
benefit from their vacation and economies to a low-cost season in another country. (Brazil -
National Congress, 1993), protected by the anonymity and by a sense of social and
economic superiority. According to the Subgroup against the Sexual Exploitation of
Children (2005, p. 18) sex tourists are not just holiday-makers. They include others whose
occupations take them to destinations away from home, such as business people, transport
industry workers and military personnel.
It should also be mentioned the figure of another category of offender, which is the
one who profits from the sex trade of children and adolescents. The commercial sexual
exploitation can be made by third parties, and often the operators are the children's own
family. Whoever promotes, encourages, or facilitates the commercialization of a child or
adolescent is considered a mediator. From the waiter or taxi driver, owners and employees
of hotels, to large international networks operating in prostitution, pornography industry,
and trafficking, who also use a large number of intermediaries.
As has been noted, the information on the profile of offenders may in some aspects
not be as accurate. It must also be said that this profile may change, depending on the
country of destination, among other factors. In general, the profile of offenders is mostly
established based on studies and qualitative analysis, which takes into account mainly the
age, social class, and nationality of the tourist. Yet, it is important to note that due to the
hidden nature of this crime it is not possible to determine an accurate profile of offenders as
well as the correct number of men and women who engage in SECT, since most escape
criminal liability.

Despite the fact that prostitution is considered by many as the oldest profession in
the world, sexual tourism as a phenomenon only began to be identified after the industrial
revolution in the nineteenth century, with the opening of cabarets and nightclubs. Years
later, the phenomenon has expanded by acquiring other dimensions, being spread mainly in
Asia. First it was identified in Sri Lanka, and years later in Indonesia and Thailand, where it
gained visibility turning the country into the leading one in this activity. For many years
Thailand used sex tourism as a source of revenue for the country. From 1905 to 1960,
prostitution was considered legal, attracting thousands of tourists a year. However, in 1960,
the country started to adopt anti-prostitution laws with the Suppression of Prostitution Act.
With the introduction of the Entertainment Places Act
in 1966 the operation of bars,
massage parlors, and other related activities, were regulated. The Act imposed heavier
penalties against anyone trying to take illegal advantages from prostitution, and it was
particularly important on the prevention of SECT and trafficking, penalizing customers who
engage in sexual intercourse with minors.
As a consequence from the restrictions imposed in Asia, sex tourists started to look
for new destinations. In the meanwhile, most Latin American countries were beginning to
consider using tourism as a strategy of promoting income, and in order to do so, it was
necessary to establish a cultural identity that could project them externally. The approach
adopted in the propaganda was marked with advertisements making reference to the natural
beauty, beaches and the charm of Hispanic woman. Thus, combined both factors the region
consequently became a part of the route for the activity in the 70's. Central and South
America have recently become prime locations for pedophiles or opportunists seeking
underage exploits (Leite, 2007 apud Assunção Babinski, 2010, p.5).
Also the cultural factor should be mentioned: The history of South America is
marked by the cultural imperialism imposed by the settlers from the so-called "first world"
in a background of labor, material and sexual exploitation. Such cultural superiority claim
even today pursues continents, giving the false idea that one can dominate the other. In
conjunction with the lack of control in general, high corruption levels, and the social and
Available at:http://www.ilo.org/dyn/natlex/docs/WEBTEXT/46403/65063/E96THA01.htm
Available at: http://web.krisdika.go.th/data/outsitedata/outsite21/file/Entertainment_Place_Act.pdf

economic gap between "tourists" and touristic destinations, it is wrongly shaped the idea
that these countries are "no man's land" favoring a context of exploitation. In this context,
children turn into an easy target to become merchandise (Santos,1990 apud Gomes, 1996
p.63).Unicefclaims that most part of the offenders come from Europe, United States and
Canada. According to a survey conducted by the Ecpat, among the Europeans, Italians are
the largest consumers of sex tourism, followed by German and French. It is estimated that
about 80,000 Italians travel abroad each year chasing sex. (Ecpat 2013, p.5)
A study conducted by Ecpat and Unicef identified the countries where child sex
exploitation in tourism is more evident. In 2014 it was published by the Spanish newspaper
El País a map
evidencing such countries, among which four South American countries
stand out worldwide, in different ways and varying degrees, for the number of child victims
of sexual exploitation in tourism: Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Argentina.
Another research, conducted by Ecpatlisted on a map
the countries where SECT is
a recurring problem
and countries with recent evidence of the incidence of the
phenomenon. According to this research it can be stated that some destinations, as Brazil,
have experienced the phenomenon for over 20 years, while others, such as Argentina, have
only recently begun to experience it. (Ecpat, 2008, p.7)
In order to deepen the research on the mentioned subject, a parallel study is
conducted focusing in these two neighboring countries: A regional pioneer, already dealing
with the problem of sexual exploitation of children in tourism for many years, and another,
which is emerging in this issue and still needs to develop alternatives to eradicate the
incidence of this problem. The purpose of this in-depth study is to understand how the
incidence of such a problem comes forth in the country, the economic and historical factors
that culminated in its occurrence, and the legal provisions available to deal with it.
The map is available in the Attachments ­ Image 01 ­ of this book.Page 82.
The map is available in the Attachments ­ Image 02 ­ of this book. Page 82.
According to this research, it is understood as recurrent problem, the country where there is the evidence
of such a practice for more than 15 years.

Argentina is one of the emerging destinations for SECT, according to the Ecpat
report. (2006, p.12) One explanation behind this phenomenon could be the political and
economic crisis that the country is facing. During the 90's and 2000, Argentina suffered a
severe change in its economic framework, after removing the trade protection and as a result
of currency appreciation, which accentuated the loss of competitiveness of the domestic
industry. During that decade there was a steady increase of unemployment rate, which
tripled rising from 6,3% in 1992 to 18,3% in 2001, exceeding 21% with the emergence of
the global economic crisis in 2007. If it is considered the underemployment rate, the
proportion increases to 50% during the crisis. (Unicef, 2006 p.3)
The growing insecurity in the job market deteriorated significantly the social
coverage in the country, worsening the situation of marginalized and vulnerable groups. The
substantial reduction in household income directly contributed to the increase in child
poverty. According to Unicef, more than half of the people who are in poverty are children.
In Argentina, between 2001 and 2004, a total of 507,430 children were
impoverished.(Unicef, 2006 apud Clarín, 2007 p. 1)As a consequence, this public becomes
more exposed to the possibility of being in a situation of exploitation. In spite of child labor
being prohibited and punishable under the Criminal Code of the Nation,
there are
situations in which it is "socially acceptable", directly violating the rights of the children.
In 2012, 14,675 children and adolescents were detected to be without parental
care, as reported byUnicef and the National Secretariat of Childhood, Adolescence and
Family. Most of them live in public or private institutions, and the biggest cause reported
when entering these institutions is violence and abuse, followed by neglect and sexual abuse.
(Unicef, 2015, p.14) Also according to Unicef (2001, p.37), the age of the exploited children
in the country range between 12 to 16 years old. Given the whole context of poverty, family
disruption, and traumas, these children are highly exposed to the possibility of being in a
situation of exploitation.
Additionally, another relevant factor is the strong sexist and patriarchal culture
present in the country as well as in other countries in the region.According to the
Observatory of Feminicide in Argentina (2013, p.11) this social and cultural context is
incorporated into the society since ancient times, and continues to influence family
Ley Nº26.390 Prohibición del Trabajo Infantil y Protección del Trabajo Adolescente

upbringing and cultural attitudes.In a survey conducted by the Argentine consultant of
public opinion and market research Ibarómetro(2012) in order to measure the perception of
the sexist culture in the country, resulted that 63% of the interviewees claimed to perceive a
strong male chauvinist culture.
On the other hand, despite the increase in poverty aggravated by the crisis, the fall in
the exchange rate had a significant impact in increasing tourism. According to a study
conducted by the Argentinian NGO Alerta Vida, the country went from receiving 1,5 million
foreign tourists in 2003 to 2,5 million in 2010, which represent a significant increase on
tourism. This economic scenario coupled with the rising of vulnerable children and
adolescents and increased substantially the problem of sexual exploitation of minors in
According to the NGO Ratt Mercosur, a study conducted in partnership with the
International Organization for Migration detected the incidence of sexual abuse of children
in the Northeast and Northwest regions of the country, committed mainly by Europeans who
come to the region for the practice of sport fishing in Bella Vista. Also, another flow was
identified in the region of Rio Cuarto, where it is annually hosted a popular touring car
racing series known as Turismo Carretera. It was also found sexual exploitation of minors
in the Guarani village Mbororé Fortin of Puerto Iguazú, where indigenous girls are offered
to tourists looking for an exotic sexual experience. The research also pointed to the
incidence of sexual exploitation of children in a major hotel chain in the capital. (Ratt
Mercosur, 2008, p.2) In addition, according to a document launched by the Argentine
Chamber of Deputies, the biggest consumers of sex with minors come from countries like
Holland, Japan, Korea, Spain, and Germany.
At the organizational level, there are some entities working on the theme. One can
mention Unicef Argentina, Ecpat, Save the Children, Ratt Mercosur, the Institute of
Comparative Studies in Penal and Social Sciences, among many other smaller organizations
in the interior of the State. Most of their actions are not focused specifically on the problem
of SECT, but rather linked to the issue of labor exploitation in general and trafficking in
persons. Although not directly linked to the theme, such organizations are of great
importance and carry out many actions, focusing mainly on northern Argentina, in the
border regions as well as in the capital. In addition to the actions and projects developed,
these organizations develop a fundamental work from the point of view that they are the
great propellers of the information, serving to alert the State about such problem. According


Type of Edition
ISBN (Softcover)
File size
14.8 MB
Publication date
2018 (January)
Sex Tourism Child Abuse Child Molestation Commercial sexual exploitation Childrens Rights Regulatory Framework Childrens Rights Argentine Legal Framework Brazilian Legal Framework Travel and Tourism Sexual Integrity Questionnaire

Title: The Tourism we do not talk about. A study on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Tourism, with a focus on Argentina and Brazil
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118 pages