THE FORCED PROSTITUTION OF GIRLS
INTO THE CHILD SEX TOURISM INDUSTRY
Rachel M. Roffman
In Cambodia, the red light district
at Svay Pak proudly claims to be home to the largest concentration
of brothels in the country.(1) The village was designed
with the intent of catering to the sex tourist.(2) Voidee
San is 15 and came to the brothel as payment to the brothel keeper
for her family's debt.(3) Vinh is probably about 13 years
old.(4) She stands in the door way of the brothel with an
oversized red dress and heavy make-up on in an attempt to drum up
business.(5) She is trying to earn her passage back to
Vietnam.(6) These two girls are among estimated thousands
of such girls in Cambodia.(7) They are brought to
brothels as household help until they are about 13, then they are
sold as "cherry girls" due to their virginity.(8) Virgins
are sold from between 200 and 350 British pounds. Once a girl has
lost her virginity she brings in less than half those amounts and
risks being sold as a private sex slave.(9) What is being
done? Law enforcement is meager, some of Vihn's best customers are
Rosario Baluyot, a 12 year old
girl, died an elongated and agonizing death due to broken bits of a
vibrator lodged in her cervix by an Austrian sex tourist.(11)
Rosario and another Filipino child, a boy, went to Dr. Heinrich
Stefan Ritter's hotel room where he proceeded to bathe with both
children.(12) Dr. Ritter then focused on Rosario and
forced an electric vibrator into Rosario's vagina.(13)
The device broke, leaving a five inch long screw in Rosario's
cervix.(14) She carried that screw in her body for nearly
seven months before she was found on the street with green bile
oozing from her mouth.(15) She had initially sought
medical help, yet fled the doctor's office, possibly afraid of being
sent to jail.(16)
Rosario died alone and in the
streets of her native Phillippines.(17) She was deserted
by her father after her mother died, four years earlier.(18)
While the story of Rosario is both shocking and disturbing, it is
not the only one of its type, nor the last. In the Philippines
alone, it is estimated that approximately one hundred thousand girls
and boys are participants in the child sex tourism industry.(19)
The Philippines is second only to Thailand for child sex tourism,
and even this dubious status is precarious -- according to the
United Nations Children's Emergency Fund, the Philippines may
actually take the number one status from Thailand.(20)
What became of Dr. Ritter? He was
sentenced to life imprisonment for the statutory rape of Rosario,
but was acquitted when the Philippine Supreme Court reversed on
evidentiary grounds.(21) The reversal was based on
reasonable doubt as to the evidence, where the issue was whether
Rosario's age fell within the jurisdiction of the statutory rape
statute.(22) In order do so, the prosecution was required
to prove that Rosario was under the age of 12 years.(23)
Since she was a street child there was some dispute over her actual
age.(24) The Supreme Court reversed due to reasonable
doubt as to the evidence of Rosario's age, despite Dr. Ritter's own
admission of being with Rosario on the night the fragments lodged in
her cervix.(25) The case of Rosario and Dr. Ritter is
just an example of the way that laws fail to address the atrocities
of the child sex trade industry. The term child sex tourism
accurately describes the activity in which tourists participate, yet
it falls short in conveying the situation of the children trapped in
the industry. A more accurate phrase, this authors suggests, is
forced prostitution of children into the child sex tourism industry.
This Note will focus primarily on the struggle of girls and young
women, up to the age of 18 years old. This is not to ignore the
plight of the boys and young men also involved in this despicable
industry, but merely to remain in keeping with the course for which
this Note was written. Part II of this Note will explore some of the
contributing factors of the forced participation of girls in the
child sex tourism industry. Part III of this Note will set forth the
relevant legal framework, in the context of international, regional,
and national laws by which the state or individual may seek relief
from the child sex tourism industry. The conclusion will set forth
whether there is a viable solution to this troubling suppression of
the world's females, given the preceding discussion of contributing
factors and legal framework.
II. Factors That Cause Girls to be
Forced into Prostitution in the Child Sex Tourism Industry: History,
Economics, Discrimination, and Disease.
In 1989, the United Nations Working
Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery(26) concluded that
possibly millions of children around the globe are involved in
prostitution.(27) In 1994, the United Nations Children's
Fund (UNICEF), stated that in Asia, approximately one million
children were participants in prostitution.(28) Asia,
while predominating the child sex tourism market, is no longer
alone: there are now growing industries in Latin America, Africa,
and Eastern Europe.(29) The above figures should be
viewed with alarm, and the reader should be cautioned that due to
the nature of the problem, it is very difficult to accurately
estimate how many girls are forced into prostitution in a particular
country.(30) This is not to say that the numbers are not
significant; many non-governmental agencies have gathered large
bodies of information which relate to the vast number of tourists
involved with forced child prostitutes.(31) The countries
primarily involved as receiving countries(32) are: Sri
Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan, and the Philippines.(33) For
purpose of this Note, these countries will be the primary focus of
discussion and it can be assumed that any general principles
discussed apply to these countries.
A. The Historical Roots of
Prostitution: Military Presence In Asia.
The history of forced prostitution
of girls in Asia provides the first contributing factor. In the
Philippines, Thailand, and Taiwan, large scale prostitution of girls
is rooted in the Vietnam War.(34) Soldiers were either
stationed in these countries or went there for rest and recreation.(35)
In response to demand, brothels, bars and massage parlors, often
staffed by girls, were established in ports and areas surrounding
those countries.(36) In the post-war era, the governments
of Thailand and the Philippines used the sex tourism infrastructure
as a means to promote tourism.(37) The governments of
these countries did not outlaw prostitution, in fact quite the
opposite: the governments advanced the sex tourism industry by
promoting sex tours.(38) Accordingly, it is no surprise
that if such an industry were to develop, as it has, that it would
develop there. The situation is analogous to having a type of soil
which has the precise nutrients required by a particular type of
fungus. Asia's prostitution infrastructure exploited by the
government is the soil and the child sex tourism industry is the
fungus. Without the nutrient-rich soil the fungus withers and dies.
While simplistic, this analogy helps to illustrate the point that
without this fundamental contributing factor, the child sex tourism
industry may not have taken as strong a root hold as it has.
B. Economics: Poverty,
Consumerism and Profits.
Economics is in large part, the
most critical contributing factor to girls being forced into
prostitution. The economic factor is multi-faceted: it encompasses
not only the economics of a lucrative child sex tourism industry,
but also the economics of a family desperate to feed and clothe
itself. Poverty is defined as "the state or condition of being poor.
See also Indigent."(39) Indigent is defined as "one who
has not sufficient property to furnish him a living nor anyone able
to support him to whom he is entitled to look for support."(40)
This author has determined that such a lack of resources and
financial means creates a very unique and disparate economic
condition which leads people to commit acts which may be extremely
difficult to fathom for those not so situated. It is suggested that
poverty in the south countries(41) is the predominate
cause of forced prostitution of children.(42) Poverty in
these countries has resulted in little or no education, employment,
and/or resources.(43) Parents are desperate and in need
of relief and when someone, often a scout offers to hire their
child, the parents do not think to question precisely where their
daughter is going, nor are they informed by the scout of their
daughter's destination.(44) Many of these scouts roam
villages looking for girls to "hire."(45)
In addition to poverty as an
economic strain on parents, the pressures of mass materialism and
consumerism are also contributing economic forces that cause girls
to be coerced into prostitution.(46) Some parents do know
of their daughter's involvement in prostitution, but the desire for
consumer goods in countries where poverty is widespread encourages
them to sell their daughters in order to gain income to procure
goods otherwise out of reach.(47) Some receive as much as
one hundred U.S. dollars for girl babies sold in Thailand.(48)
This author believes that this fact points to an erosion of values
and to an even greater problem: while the family unit may have been
valued more at one time, females were not included in that value
system. Accordingly, while society may appear to be degenerating by
forcing girls into prostitution, females have already been
objectified, devalued and viewed as property to be disposed of
The remainder of the economic
equation derives from the revenues acquired by the receiving
countries: the child sex tourism industry is extremely lucrative.(50)
A 1920's fact finding mission of the League of Nations, declared
that " 'profit . . . is at the root of the whole business [of forced
prostitution].' "(51) According to Worldwatch Institute,
in 1995, the trading of children as a commodity had become a
multi-billion dollar industry.(52) In rural Thailand,
daughters are sold by poor and starving fathers for anywhere from
$120 to $1200: the larger figure represented a year's salary, in
1995.(53) Given the absolute poverty of so many regions
and the above figures, it is possible to see how a family could
think that it is making a rational choice.
C. Gender Discrimination
Gender discrimination within a
culture is in large part a contributing factor to girls being forced
into prostitution.(54) Girls are allowed fewer economic
and educational opportunities than their male counterparts.(55)
Girls are viewed as sexual property in both cultural and religious
contexts.(56) In the religious context, girls in India
are used as temple prostitutes.(57) The result is that
girls are confronted with almost insurmountable discrimination and
are viewed as sexual objects for men. In the cultural context,
around the world and regardless of economic resources, the
development of sons is favored over daughters.(58) Sons
are given greater access to education, which in turn leads to
economic independence.(59) Additionally, girls are
subjected to an unequal division of labor.(60) Gender
discrimination compounded with the desperate conditions of poverty,
means that families have less difficultly in making the decision to
sell their daughters and forcing them into prostitution.
D. Fear of HIV and AIDS
Another factor which has lead to
the rise of children being forced into prostitution is the
increasing incidence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (hereinafter
HIV ) and Acquired Immunedeficieny Syndrome (hereinafter AIDS). The
fear of the HIV virus has lead to the mistaken belief that children
make better prostitutes because they are more likely to be free from
the HIV virus.(61) In actuality, the truth is quite the
opposite: "The mucosal lining of the child's vagina, anus, and
rectum are thin and disposed to rupture, especially because of sex
acts upon the immature body of a child often involve some tearing of
the tissue."(62) Once this occurs, HIV has free access to
the blood stream and the child may then become infected.(63)
Consequently, girls forced into prostitution are more likely to
carry HIV and to spread the virus.(64) Accordingly, it is
a misheld belief that child prostitutes will be free of HIV.(65)
In fact, this is the population which is experiencing the largest
growth in incidence of HIV infection.(66) Upon
consideration, it is hard to conceive how anyone can believe that
child prostitutes are less likely to be infected with HIV.
E. Weak Enforcement of Local
Weak law enforcement in receiving
countries has contributed to the forced prostitution of girls by
allowing the industry to continue. Both the Philippines and Thailand
have laws which would allow for prosecution of those involved with
the child sex trade.(67) Yet, these laws are often not
enforced against foreign tourists.(68) Often those
convicted face deportation and no consequences in their home
countries.(69) Or those convicted flee by paying off
low-paid officials.(70) Investigations are often
constrained by limitations of personnel or resources.(71)
Additionally, children fear prosecution themselves, so they do not
cooperate with law enforcement personnel.(72)
III. The Legal Frame-Work to Combat
Child Sex Tourism
Recently the World Congress Against
the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children convened in Stockholm
in order to seek solutions to the growing child sex tourism
industry.(73) The primary reasons cited for the growth of
this industry were the inadequate international laws and enforcement
resources, plus the lack of political will to combat the industry in
affected countries.(74) Many sending and receiving
countries do have laws in place which address the child sex
industry.(75) New trends indicate that many western
countries are now passing legislation(76) to allow for
the prosecution at home of those who travel abroad and partake in
the child sex tourism industry.(77) The Conference found
that while this type of legislation was encouraging, there still
exist barriers to effective prosecution.(78) Barriers to
effective prosecution include the notion of double jeopardy: those
who elect to be prosecuted abroad receive minimal sentencing or
small fines and are then precluded from prosecution in their home
country due to the principal of double jeopardy.(79)
While it is true that the way the
laws are structured currently do not seem to be effective in
combating the explosion of the child sex tourism industry, it is
important to understand the history of the present day legal
frame-work and to be able to function within the present frame-work
until more effective laws are in place. The rights of girls around
the globe are being perpetually violated and those girls cannot wait
for whomever to decide to create new laws. They must be able to seek
protection now and therefore it is necessary to know what mechanisms
exist to help these girls.
A. International Laws and
1. The Early Treaties
Early international efforts to
protect females of all ages from various forms of exploitation
included the International Agreement on Suppression of White Slave
Traffic of 1904 (hereinafter the 1904 Agreement)(80) and
the International Convention for the Suppression of the White Slave
Traffic (hereinafter 1910 Convention).(81) The 1910
Convention amended the 1904 agreement and provided a proscription
against the hiring or seduction of a minor, even with her consent,
for "immoral purposes".(82) The first problem with both
the 1904 Agreement and the 1910 Convention is that both fail to
explicitly address the forced prostitution of girls because both
documents focus on the trafficking aspect involved.(83)
Once a person arrives at the brothel the matter is considered to be
more appropriately under domestic jurisdiction.(84)
However, forced prostitution is what underlies the trafficking of
girls.(85) The relationship is one of supply and demand.
There is local demand for the product (prostitutes) and the supply
of the product is imported (trafficking of girls). Therefore, the
1904 and 1910 Conventions only address part of the relationship, the
import of the product (the trafficking of girls).
The second problem with the 1904
and 1910 Conventions is the use of the phrase "white slavery".(86)
This phrase is ineffective in dealing with what is really happening
to these girls which is forced prostitution (not slavery), and the
fact that many who are being forced into prostitution are not white.(87)
Under the 1904 Agreement, signatories were bound merely by their own
promises to exchange information and to set up look-out posts for
trafficking. However, this offered very little in the way of relief
and was ineffective in slowing the pace of trafficking.(88)
The 1910 Convention criminalized trafficking, but as noted, the
problem only begins with trafficking: by ignoring the forced
prostitution aspect, those girls and women located in brothels were
viewed as coming under the domestic authority of the country where
they were located and not under the jurisdiction of the Convention.(89)
In 1950 the United Nations
Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the
Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was opened for signature
(hereinafter 1950 Convention).(90) The 1950 Convention
continued the work of the Draft Convention of the League of Nations
in 1921,(91) which due to the outbreak of World War II
never came into existence.(92) The League of Nations
draft convention was significant because it was the first
international treaty to directly address prostitution.(93)
The 1950 Convention is significant because it directly addressed
prostitution as well as international trafficking.(94)
The terms of the 1950 Convention call for the signatory countries to
prosecute those involved with the trafficking or prostitution of
victims.(95) Additionally, the 1950 Convention calls for
cooperative efforts in information sharing.(96) The major
problem with the early conventions is that they merely require a
cooperative effort by the signatories to prosecute those trafficking
in girls and/or those involved in the prostitution industry. That is
to say that the conventions called for states to enact legislation
within their own borders, but did not directly call for action, or
provide relief or remedy to individuals if they sought relief under
2. The United Nations Convention on
the Rights of the Child
The United Nations Convention on
the Rights of the Child (hereinafter UNCRC) was adopted by the
United Nations General Assembly in 1989 and entered into force in
1990.(97) The UNCRC served to codify the provisions of
the 1959 United Nations Declaration on the Rights of the Child.(98)
Under the UNCRC anyone under the age of 18 years falls within the
definition of a child.(99) The UNCRC offers two
provisions which deal directly with exploitation of children and the
child sex tourism industry.(100) Articles 34(a) and (b)
and Article 35 require signatories to utilize national,
multinational, and bilateral means to address and prevent sexual
exploitation and prostitution of children.(101) The UNCRC
established the Committee on the Rights of the Child (hereinafter
the Committee) to monitor the progress of the parties who must
periodically report to the Committee.(102) The major
weakness of the UNCRC is the fact that there is no means for state
to state confrontation nor are there individual remedies. In fact,
no relief is truly available under the UNCRC.(103) Its
major focus is on education and cooperation.(104) While
these are worthwhile endeavors, the problem of child sex tourism
requires a remedy under the law which will provide relief for the
girls ensnared in the trap of the child sex tourism industry.
3. Convention on the Elimination of
Discrimination Against Women
The Convention on the Elimination
of Discrimination Against Women (hereinafter CEDAW)(105)
is a United Nations treaty which resulted from pressure exerted by
women's rights groups upon the General Assembly.(106) By
September 1981, CEDAW was ratified by the twentieth party, thereby
making it "enforceable faster than any previous human rights
convention."(107) Article 6 of CEDAW addresses the
trafficking of women, requiring that "State parties shall take all
appropriate measures, including legislation, to suppress all forms
of traffic in women and exploitation or prostitution of women."(108)
One weakness of CEDAW is in the undefined terms used in Article 6,
such as "appropriate measures" and "suppress".(109) How
far must signatories' laws go in order to be appropriate measures?(110)
Would such measures address only those trafficking or pimping? Would
they provide support for the victims or for the prosecution of
prostitutes?(111) Does suppression mean strict criminal
penalties or merely official admonitions against trafficking and
forced prostitution?(112) What is clear from the preamble
is that CEDAW views trafficking as a human rights violation.(113)
Consequently, under CEDAW, an appropriate measure to address human
rights violations would be legislation that ought to end human
rights violations and as a result, end trafficking.(114)
Additionally, under CEDAW, legislation which would punish victims,
whether by jail time or monetary penalties, is not a proper remedy.(115)
Enforcement of CEDAW may be
problematic for two major reasons: 1) the enforcing governments' and
societies' perception of women and 2) the refusal of countries to
sign CEDAW because it is legally binding.(116) First,
many governments lack the political will to take affirmative action
to protect girls and women from trafficking due to the perception
that females are second class citizens.(117) This in turn
results in the protection of female rights being given minimal or
non-existent priority.(118) Consequently, many
signatories ignore trafficking and their obligations under CEDAW.(119)
Second, because CEDAW is legally binding, many industrialized
countries have refused to sign it.(120) Even if a country
was a signatory to CEDAW, CEDAW's enforcement mechanisms are not the
most effective means to address the issue of trafficking.(121)
CEDAW provides that one signatory may file a complaint
against another before the International Court of Justice.(122)
Therefore, an individual girl or woman trapped in the sex tourism
industry has no remedy, unless she persuades her government to file
In sum, the international laws
predominately address trafficking and not forced prostitution once a
girl or woman is located in a country. This tendency to focus on
trafficking, while important to combating the child sex tourism
industry, is only half the equation. In order for the above treaties
to be truly effective, they would need to directly proscribe forced
prostitution within the borders of the signatory countries.
Additionally, enforcement is inadequate due to the lack of political
will or participation. Even if a government were to sign the UNCRC
or CEDAW, the remedies under those instruments are inadequate
because individual victims have no method to enforce the treaties'
provisions. Yet, these are the only means which exist now to attempt
to address the human rights violation known as the forced
prostitution of girls and women. If grass-roots groups and other
non-governmental organizations were to exert pressure on signatory
governments, perhaps some victims would receive some form of relief.
B. Regional Laws and Treaties
Rather than seeking relief through
international law, there exist regional laws and treaties which may
provide another mechanism for combating forced prostitution. Three
regional human rights conventions are relevant: the African Charter
on Human Rights (hereinafter African Charter),(124) the
American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter American
Convention),(125) and the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (hereinafter
European Convention).(126) There is some thought that all
three conventions may reduce any fundamental conflicts in what is
meant precisely by human rights because they are regional
conventions.(127) Where a convention addresses a more
homogeneous dynamic it may be better able to produce substantive
progress on eliminating human rights violations.(128)
This author questions the soundness of the above reasoning. If a
grouping of countries are notorious for not believing that girls and
women are entitled to all the same basic human rights of males, why
would any of those countries then be interested in guaranteeing that
the human rights of females are not being violated?
Enforcement under the African
Charter is structured upon a system calling for information
collection and educational programs.(129) States
complaints are taken and the African Commission on Human Rights(130)
can only make non-binding recommendations, based on the complaints.(131)
At this writing the system is relatively young, as such it is
difficult to determine whether it could be an effective means to
address forced prostitution. The European and American Conventions
provide more advanced enforcement mechanisms.(132) Most
striking under the European Convention is the ability of an
individual to bring a petition seeking relief from a state's
violations.(133) Such persons must be affected by the
violation in order to file, but there is no requirement of actual
harm, the person must merely be directly affected by the violation
of the European Convention.(134) Violations of the
European Convention include any violation of any other
international treaties to which the country is a signatory.(135)
Accordingly, an individual can hold a country accountable, under the
European Convention, for violations of international treaties when
the individual might not otherwise be able to hold the violator
The effectiveness of the European
Convention's enforcement is limited by jurisdictional and
admissibility requirements.(137) In order for a
petitioner to receive relief, the state named in the petition must
recognize the Commission's jurisdiction over it.(138)
This is not a strong block to individual remedies because all
twenty-three parties to the European Convention have recognized the
jurisdiction of the Commission.(139) Of more concern is
the admissibility requirement which mandates that an individual must
exhaust all domestic remedies before the petition will be received
by the Commission.(140) This exhaustion requirement is a
high threshold because if a respondent state raises the issue, it
must demonstrate that the domestic remedy would have been
"sufficiently certain not only in theory, but also in practice."
Without such a showing, the petition will be allowed to proceed.(141)
On the whole, the American Convention mirrors the European
Convention's enforcement mechanisms and its weaknesses as well.(142)
On balance, these systems allow for a greater potential for actual
relief to an individual plaintiff. However, often those forced into
prostitution are not in Europe or America. While there is some
amount of forced prostitution in those regions, the highest volume
of individuals forced into prostitution are in Thailand, Sri Lanka
and the Philippines.(143)
C. National Laws
1. Sending Countries
The sending countries of the United
States, Sweden, Australia, and Canada have all recently passed
legislation or are considering legislation which would allow for the
prosecution of its nationals for participation in the child sex
tourism industry while abroad.(144) In Sweden, it is
considered a crime to engage in sexual activity with a person who is
under 15 years old, in Australia the age of consent is 16, and in
the United States it is 18 years of age.(145) While
Sweden and the United States are attempting to prosecute under the
newly enacted laws, Australia has yet to do the same.(146)
At the time of this writing, it is premature to state whether these
laws will provide effective relief or efficient enforcement
mechanisms. In Canada, the criminalization of engaging in overseas
prostitution activities is coupled with efforts of local
organizations in the south countries to protect children's rights,
to educate the general populations, and to assist victims.(147)
2. Receiving Countries
Thailand has recently begun to
implement tighter enforcement mechanisms in order to decrease the
child sex tourism industry in reaction to Thai product boycotts.(148)
In September 1996, a two time member of the Thai parliament
announced a four-prong strategy to address the child sex tourism
industry.(149) The strategy calls for a strengthening of
the laws allowing for prosecution of agents, pimps, and procurers.
Additionally, the strategy focuses on helping more Thai girls
receive an education and upon educating parents about the actual
brutality of being a child prostitute in Thailand. This author
questions whether this strategy will truly be effective in curbing
the industry in Thailand, particularly when one considers the words
of the Thai premier: "I have to admit we don't take it [child sex
tourism industry] seriously enough . . . when it is a focus of
public attention we get agitated about the problem but then we let
it fade away again."(150) Unfortunately, this comment
exemplifies the point made earlier that economics is a driving
factor for the child sex tourism industry. Unless and until the
countries begin to feel an economic sting because they allow the
industry to continue, they will not truly attempt to eradicate the
forced prostitution of girls into the child sex tourism industry.
The forced prostitution of girls
into the child sex tourism industry is due to many factors,
primarily the large economic benefits derived therefrom and gender
discrimination. Current international laws, such as the UNCRC and
CEDAW, address the trafficking and forced prostitution of girls, but
are largely ineffective. This is due to the lack of provisions which
would allow an individual to seek remedies under international
treaties and the lack of political will in signatory countries to
legislate against the forced prostitution of girls. Regional
treaties seem to offer a more effective means of enforcement since
an individual can seek relief, and through that process may also
seek relief under any international treaties to which the country is
The drawback to filing under these
regional agreements is that there are many procedural hurdles to
overcome that can often serve to block claims. National laws have
only recently begun to develop, and they seem to offer hope that a
sex tourist can be prosecuted for participating in the overseas
sexual exploitation of children. If economic sanctions were to be
levied against receiving countries and criminal penalties were to be
instituted in sending countries, then it is likely that the world
would witness a substantial decrease in the forced prostitution of
One hopeful endeavor is the efforts
of Interpol. In 1992, the organization set up a working group
regarding offenses against minors.(151) The group
consists of 30 countries which are prompted to share resources and
information for investigating crimes regarding the sexual
exploitation of minors.(152) For example, in August 1996,
Thai police learned, from American investigators, of an operation to
smuggle dozens of girls and young women to Japan as part of a sex
ring.(153) As a result, the Thai police arrested four men
involved with the sex ring.(154) This kind of cooperative
effort, plus strong laws and social programs are what is required to
truly stop the forced prostitution of girls into the child sex
1. Nick Rufford, Child Sex
Trade Booms In Cambodia, Times Newspapers Limited Sunday Times,
May 26, 1996, at Overseas News.
2. See id.
3. See id.
4. See id.
5. See id.
6. Rufford, supra note 1.
7. See id.
8. See id.
9. See id.
10. See id.
11. Margaret A. Healy,
Prosecuting Child Sex Tourist At Home: Do Laws in Sweden, Australia,
And the United States Safeguard The Rights Of Children As Mandated
By International Law?, 18 Fordham Int'l L. J. 1852 (1995).
12. Id. at 1854.
13. See id.
14. See id.
15. See id.
16. Healy, supra note 11,
17. See id.
18. See id.
19. Nirmal Ghosh, Big Manila
Blitz On Sex Trade, The Straits Times (Singapore), Aug. 15,
1995, South-East Asia section, at 14, available in LEXIS,
Nexis Library, Majpap File.
20. John Dikkenberg, Growth In
Child Sex Trade 'Due To Feeble Attacks', South China Morning
Post, Sept. 28, 1995, at 16, available in LEXIS, Nexis
Library, Majpap File.
21. Philippines v. Ritter, Case No.
22. See id.
23. See id.
24. See id.
25. See id.
26. Report of the Working Group
on Contemporary Forms of Slavery on its Fourteenth Session,
U.N. Commission on Human Rights, 41st Sess., Agenda Item 14, at 9,
U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/1989/39 (1989).
27. Healy, supra note 11,
28. UNICEF, The Progress of Nations
29. Healy, supra note 11,
at 1861. In Latin America the predominate country for child
sex tourism is Brazil. Laurie Goering, Fighting Lucrative Sex
Trade a Losing Battle; Brazilian Poverty Breeding Young Prostitutes,
Chicago Tribune, May 21, 1996, at 4 News. In Brazil, prostitution is
legal and consequently, many young women and girls view it as a
means to end economic destitution. Id. In many instances
poverty is the reason girls are prostituted by their parents to sex
tourists. As in Asia, Brazilian girls are kidnaped and forced into
prostitution in the child sex tourism industry. Id. Some of
the girls claim to be making a free choice because prostitution
offers an extremely lucrative income source. But the question is
whether a choice is truly free when made by 13 year old girls
stricken with extreme poverty. Id. Says one 20 year old
prostitute of her 'choice' when she was 13 "I know they don't have
an option, just as I didn't". Id. Few legal remedies are
available to these girls because prostitution is legal. Id.
Additionally, although buyers may be charged with rape, the low age
of consent, 14 years, often leads to evidentiary proof problems and
fails to address girls age 15 and above. Id. Pimps may be
charged with exploitation of girls under 18, but this is enforced
minimally. Id. One social program, Woman's Life Collective,
sponsored by UNICEF, identifies girls at high risk to become
prostitutes. Jack Epstein, By Building Self-Esteem, Program
Gives Poor Girls New Options, The Christian Science Monitor,
Sept. 16, 1996, at 10 International. The Collective director, Marcia
Dangremon, says of the program: "Our objective is to keep girls aged
13 to 17 from becoming prostitutes for the sex tourism trade. . .[t]o
do that, the first thing we teach them is to stand up to their
fathers." Id. The program provides counseling and support
to help the girls develop self-esteem and provides a variety of
educational components to assist the girls in becoming employable.
Id. What result? Since the program's inception in 1992, 611
girls have graduated and none have turned to prostitution. Id.
While this is not a legal solution, with more programs such as this
one the potential exists to significantly reduce the number of girls
forced into the child sex tourism industry.
In Africa, poverty is not the
primary reason for forced prostitution of girls, rather girls are
kidnapped by soldiers (in Angola, Rwanda, and Liberia), taken as
slaves (Sudan), or sexually exploited while employed as household
help. Judith Matloff, In Africa, Money Isn't Only Reason Young
Girls Are Sexually Exploited, The Christian Science Monitor,
Sept. 12, 1996, at 11 International. This is not to suggest that
poverty is not a factor in the forced prostitution of girls in
Africa, but that it is not the primary factor, as is the case in
many other countries. Many social counseling and rehabilitative
programs have developed to help African girls. Id. However,
this author was unable to discover any domestic legal remedies.
30. Healy, supra note 11,
32. The term 'receiving country' is
used to indicate those countries are where girls are sent to work as
child prostitutes. The term 'sending country' is used to indicate
countries which have national participation in the child sex tourism
industry. See Healy, supra note 11.
33. Healy, supra note 11,
34. Id. at 1864.
35. Id. at 1865.
36. See id.
37. Id. at 1865.
38. Healy, supra note 11,
39. Black's Law Dictionary 1053
(5th ed. 1979).
40. Black's Law Dictionary 695 (5th
41. The phrase "south countries"
refers to those countries that are developing or underdeveloped and
were also formally known as third world countries.
42. Healy, supra note 11,
43. See id.
44. See id.
45. Id. at 1870.
46. See id.
47. Healy, supra note 11,
48. See id.
49. The factor of gender
discrimination will be discussed more fully in Part II.
50. Nora V. Demleitner, Forced
Prostitution: Naming an International Offense, 18 Fordham Int'l
L.J. 163, 171 (1994).
51. U.N. Dep't of Int'l Economic &
Social Affairs, Study on Traffic in Persons and Prostitution at 1-2,
U.N. Doc. ST/SOA/SD/8, U.N. Sales No. 59.IV.5 (1959).
52. George J. Byjak, The
Children Condemned to Slavery, The San Diego Union-Tribune,
Dec. 17, 1995, at G3.
53. See id.
54. Healy, supra note 11,
55. See id.
56. See id.
57. See id.
58. Id. at 1872,
citing United Nations Centre for Human Rights, UNICEF, The Girl
Child 1 (Convention on the Rights of the Child).
59. Healy, supra note 11,
61. Id. at 1871.
62. Id. at 1871-1872.
63. Id. at 1872.
64. Healy, supra note 11,
67. Report of the Committee of
Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations,
International Labor Conference, 81st Sess. at 140. This author was
unable to directly consult those statutes, therefore this author is
relying on the above report and other secondary sources.
68. Healy, supra note 11,
69. Id. at 1871. However,
this is now beginning to change as sending countries are starting to
prosecute nationals upon return from a child sex tour, as will be
discussed in Part III.
70. Healy, supra note 11,
71. See id.
72. See id.
73. Paul Knox, Tough Global
Child-Sex Penalties Sought, The Plain Dealer, Aug. 29, 1996, at
8A. At the time of writing this article, this author was not able to
obtain any documents resulting from the World Congress Against the
Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children since the Congress
convened so close in time to this Note was written. Therefore, this
author has relied on news reports from that session.
76. In the United States, the Child
Sexual Abuse Prevention Act of 1994 places a prohibition on
nationals whereby it is now illegal to travel overseas for the
purpose of having sexual relations with a person under 18 years of
age. Pub. L. No. 103-322, 160001(g), 108 Stat. 2037 (1994) (to be
codified at 18 U.S.C. § 2423(b)). In Sweden, Norway, and Germany
nationals may be prosecuted for sex tourism under domestic laws.
Penal Code ch. 2, 2; ch.6, 6, 7, 10 (Swed.) (Allmanna Forget 1990);
Penal Code 12.3(a) (as amended 1989) (Nor.); StGB 5 (Ger.)
(translated in ECPAT NEWSL., Spec. Ed. (1993)).
77. Knox, supra note 73,
80. International Agreement on the
Suppression of White Slave Traffic, May 18, 1904, 35 Stat. 1979, 1
U.N.T.S. 83 (entered into force 1905).
81. International Convention for
the Suppression of the White Slave traffic, May 4, 1910, art. 1, 211
Consol. T.S. No. 20, at 267, amended by the Protocol Amending the
International Agreement for the Suppression of the White Slave
Traffic, Signed at Paris on May 18 , 1904 and the Internal
Convention for the suppression of White Slave Traffic, signed at
Paris on 4 May 1910, May 4, 1949, 2 U.S.T. 1997, 30 U.N.T.S. 23.
Healy, supra note 1, at 1874, [hereinafter 1904 and 1910
82. 1910 Convention, supra
note 66, art. 1, 2 U.S.T. 1997, 30 U.N.T.S. 23.
83. Demleitner, supra note
50, at 163.
84. Id. at 169.
85. Id. at 165.
86. Id. at 167.
87. Id. at 167.
88. Demleitner, supra note
50, at 168.
89. Id. at 169.
90. Id. at 172, citing
to Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons
and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, art. 28, Mar.
21, 1950, 96 U.N.T.S. 271, 280.
91. Id. at 172,
citing U.N. Dep't of Int'l Economic & Social Affairs, Study on
Traffic in Persons and Prostitution at 1-2, U.N. Doc. ST/SOA/SD/8,
U.N. Sales No. 59.IV.5 (1959).
92. Id. at 171.
93. Demleitner, supra note
50, at 171.
94. Id. at 172.
95. Id. at 172.
96. See id.
97. Conventions on the Rights of
the Child, Nov. 20, 1989, G.A. Res. 44/25, U.N. GAOR, 44th Sess.,
Supp. No. 49, at 1, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), 28 I.L.M. 1448
98. Healy, supra note 11,
at 1876, citing the UNCRC 28 I.L.M. 1448 (1989).
102. Healy, supra note 11,
at 1877, citing the UNCRC 28 I.L.M. 1448 (1989).
104. See id.
105. Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, opened for signature
Mar. 1, 1980, 1249 U.N.T.S. 14, 17 (entered into force
Sept. 3, 1981) [hereinafter CEDAW].
106. Susan Jeanne Toepfer and Bryan
Stuart Wells, The Worldwide Market for Sex: A Review of
International and Regional Legal Prohibitions Regarding Trafficking
in Women, 2 Mich. J. Gender & Law 83, 101 (1994).
107. Id. at 101,
citing CEDAW, opened for signature Mar. 1, 1980, 1249
U.N.T.S. 14, 17 (entered into force Sept. 3, 1981).
108. Id., citing
CEDAW, opened for signature Mar. 1, 1980, 1249 U.N.T.S. 14, 17 (entered
into force Sept. 3, 1981).
109. Id., citing
CEDAW, opened for signature Mar. 1, 1980, 1249 U.N.T.S. 14, 17 (entered
into force Sept. 3, 1981).
111. See id.
112. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 101.
113. See id.
114. Id. at 102.
115. Id. at 102.
116. Id. at 105.
117. Toepfer & Wells, supra
118. See id.
119. See id.
120. Id. at 105, 106.
121. Id. at 106.
122. Id. at 106, 107.
123. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 107.
124. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 111, citing African Charter on Human and People's
Rights, Jan. 19, 1981, 21 I.L.M. 58 (entered into force
Oct. 21, 1986).
125. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 111, citing American Convention on Human Rights, Nov.
22, 1969, 1970, OAS T.S. No. 36, 9 I.L.M. 673 (entered into
force July 18, 1978).
126. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 111, citing European Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Nov. 4, 1950, 5 Europ. T.S.
21 (entered into force Sept. 3, 1953) reprinted in
Council of Europe, European Convention on Human Rights: Collected
Texts 102 (1981).
127. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 112.
128. See id.
129. Id. at 113.
130. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 113, citing African Charter on Human and People's
Rights, Jan. 19, 1981, 21 I.L.M. 58 (entered into force
Oct. 21, 1986) (The Commission is charged with considering
complaints from states regarding violations of the Charter) Toepfer
& Wells at 113.
131. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 113.
132. See id.
133. See id.
134. Id. at 114.
135. See id.
136. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 114.
137. See id.
138. See id.
139. See id.
140. Id. at 115.
141. Toepfer & Wells, supra
note 106, at 115.
142. Id. at 123-127.
143. See Dikkenberg,
supra note 20.
144. Healy, supra note 11,
at 1888; Lloyd Axworthy and Pierre Pettigrew, Canada Will Fight
'Sex Tourism' Scourge, Toronto Star, Aug. 27, 1996, at A1,
available in LEXIS, Nexis Library, Majpap File.
145. Healy, supra note 11,
at 1893-1894, 1898, 1906-1907, n275, citing to Penal code ch. 6, 6 (Swed.);
n329, Crimes (Child Sex Tourism) Amendment Act 1994 (Austl.)
(amending Crimes Act 1914 (Austl.)); n386, Child Sex Abuse
Prevention Act, Pub.L. 103-322, 160001(g), 108 Stat. 2037 (1994) (to
be codified at 18 U.S.C. §2423(b)).
146. Healy, supra note 11,
at 1893-1894, 1900-1901, 1910.
147. Axworthy & Pettigrew,
supra note 144, at A17.
148. William Barnes, PM Reacts
to Export Boycott over Child Sex, South China Morning Post,
Feb. 22, 1996, at 8, available in LEXIS, Nexis Library,
149. Muharyani Othman, MP's War
on Child Sex Trade, New Straits Times, Sept. 5, 1996, at People
section, at 7, available in LEXIS, Nexis Library, Majpap
150. Barnes, supra note
148, at 8.
151. Cameron W. Barr, The Child
Sex Trade: Battling a Scourge, The Christian Science Monitor,
Sept. 6, 1996, International section, at 10.
152. See id.
153. See id.
154. See id.