Many people travel the world for bird watching, sight seeing, sports and other activities. However, in the past decade or so, the number of travelers going abroad for sex has drastically increased. According to the World Tourism Agency of the United Nations, sex tourism is defined as “trips organized within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents of that destination.” With the rise of sex tourism booming, many countries are quickly finding themselves in the middle of it all as the most popular “sexpat” destinations on the planet. Although actual statistics are hard to come by, here is a list of the perceived most popular destination for sex tourists:
In Asia, Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia tend to see the most sexpats in the region, but others like Indonesia and Vietnam are on the rise. SE Asia has always been a popualr tourist destination, meaning local prostitutes are merely filling up the supply from the great demand.
In the Western Hemisphere, Latin America dominates the sexpat scene. Places like Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic top out as some of the world’s most visited sex tourism destinations.These countries are experiencing a sex boom due to a greater influx of Americans and Canadians traveling south for “vacation.”
Kenya is the number one hot-spot in Africa, but also perhaps the most dangerous one listed here since it has been greatly impacted by the HIV epidemic. About 1.5 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in Kenya, but sex tourism is still surprisingly increasing.
Europe also has several sex tourism centers, the main one being the Netherlands since prostitution is legal and controlled by the government. Neighboring European nations looked at the Dutch model and followed suite. Now many places in the EU, especially the Czech Republic and Germany, have legalized prostitution in Red Light Districts and/or have lightened up on the crack down of prostitution.
Of course the argument over sex tourism varies greatly. Many prostitutes, especially in developing nations, see it as a job and the only way to make a living. In fact, some have even gone on record that they enjoy their jobs. National governments in favor also point out that prostitution is the world’s oldest profession and can inject billions of dollars per year into the economy. They say that if it is controlled and taxed, money can be generated and measures can be issued to control the spread of STDs and HIV (as is the case in the Netherlands).
On the other hand, some view it as immoral since it can shatter family values, increase the number of sexually transmitted deseases, increase illegal and dangerous narcotic use and lead to an array of other problems like organized crime syndicates controlling the business (all which are happening in Thailand). Others against the issue declare that tolerated sex tourism also gives rise to forced prostituion, human trafficking and child prostituion.
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