Millions of sex tourists annually invade countries where, in addition to sun, sand and sea, there are also women at ridiculous prices. You can see that at the European Championships in Ukraine. About a modern form of slave trade that doesn’t even stop at children.
Affordable flights and long-distance travel around the world have led to mass tourism in the past few decades. This also made a modern type of slave trade possible: Millions of sex tourists annually invade countries where, in addition to sun, sand and sea, there are also women at ridiculous prices.
400,000 German men go on a sex vacation every year, as the aid organization Terre des Hommes estimates. Particularly popular travel destinations for “erotic vacations” are still Asia, the Caribbean and Africa, and since the collapse of the Soviet Union also Eastern Europe. Poorer countries in which there is a lack of work, education, and prospects, and in which women and children often have no choice but to prostitute themselves.
In Southeast Asian countries such as the Philippines, according to US estimates, around forty percent of foreign holidaymakers are also sex tourists. Things don’t look much better in African countries like Kenya, Madagascar and Gambia, where meanwhile many women from the wealthy industrialized countries go on the hunt for a “boyfriend” for a while. In Ukraine, women’s groups have been protesting for years that their country is attracting more and more sex tourists. “Ukraine is not a brothel”, the women from Femen defended themselves before the European football championship against the expected onslaught of foreigners who are not only interested in games but also in cheap sex.
Many sex tourists come from the upper classes, including doctors, lawyers, managers and politicians. Men of influence and power whom a docile woman will help satisfy their narcissistic ego. For many, a sex vacation is also an escape from a complicated couple relationship. Why bother with a demanding woman in “Emanzenland” when everything is much easier a few hours’ flight away?
Equality between men and women in industrialized countries is an essential factor in promoting sex tourism, says Hamburg psychotherapist Michael Cöllen, who also examines the problems of couples in his books. “The sexual revolution is only a few decades old. In this short period of time, centuries-old traditions went overboard. ”In the past, men determined when, how often and how people slept together; a woman who did not keep up was considered frigid and was sent to the doctor. Today women are equal partners who have their own demands and needs – “I have the impression that our men are only getting used to it slowly,” says Cöllen. Some men could not cope with it at all, would see their masculinity threatened by the required “emotional dialogue”, got erectile dysfunction, would become impotent. “This is a problem across the board,” says the psychologist. “Couples therapy is now the strongest branch of psychotherapy.”
For some, the sex vacation is easier and faster than couples therapy. Instead of discussing problems with the partner on an equal footing, the man gets on the plane and looks for a seemingly undemanding and docile girl who fulfills his sexual desires. For a few dollars, he gets the feeling of being strong and powerful. The devotion of the young lover satisfies “an additional sexual drive of submission,” as Cöllen says.
Page 2: Children are the most sensitive victims
Children are the most sensitive victims. Around 150 million girls and 73 million boys worldwide are being forced to have sex, estimates the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). In the Philippines alone, between 60,000 and 100,000 children are exploited as prostitutes. The girls come to the capital Manila because they are looking for work and are sold to the brothel by smugglers. It is estimated that around 15,000 young people have to prostitute themselves on the Kenyan coast. Every tenth girl from the region was therefore less than twelve years old when she first offered her body for sex for money. In Bangladesh, the average age of underage prostitutes was 13 years, according to the UNICEF report. Sex tourists probably mean that when they talk about “uncut rough diamonds” in internet forums, “fresh from the provinces”.
Countries like Cambodia, Malaysia and Vietnam no longer allow sex tourists to do their thing so easily. A 48-year-old German was arrested in Cambodia for sexually abusing several children; a German court sentenced the man to six and a half years in prison. It was only on Monday that the Cambodian police arrested a former Russian entrepreneur who had repeatedly assaulted young girls. He is now to be extradited to his homeland. In Muslim Malaysia, the government made an attempt last winter to ban all massage and wellness areas in expensive hotels in order to get prostitution under control.
In the west Indian state of Goa, police were evacuating a sex party on the beach at the same time and arrested nine suspected pimps. Almost every serious European tour operator is now committed to protecting at least minors from sexual exploitation in the holiday areas. The industry association DRV (German Travel Association) signed a corresponding code of conduct a good ten years ago. Gone are the days when reputable holiday organizers were able to advertise “bachelors preferred” hotels in their catalog. That meant nothing other than that prostitution was common there. Today the DRV works with the authorities of the affected countries as well as with the Federal Criminal Police Office and warns of sexual violence and exploitation in a leaflet. “Don’t look away – get active!”
Arrest and possible imprisonment are perhaps the lesser evil that threatens sex tourists. In many cases they endanger their health. In most of the countries where sex tourism has spread, AIDS rates have also exploded over the past few decades. With the help of a strong campaign, Cambodia has managed to curb the spread of the immunodeficiency virus in the past ten or twenty years – southern Africa and Eastern Europe, for example, are a long way from this. Malawi and Mozambique give the spread of the AIDS virus at eleven percent, in South Africa, according to official figures, around 18 percent of the population carry the pathogen. In Europe, Ukraine is now the country with the highest AIDS rate. So far, 1.25 percent of the total population is infected there, and the virus continues to spread from year to year. Every sixth prostitute in Ukraine now has it.
The European Football Championship will further promote sex tourism – and the Ukrainian government is doing little against the flourishing branch of business, which pours hundreds of millions of dollars into the coffers every year.