The devastation of the Asian tsunami in December 2004 has highlighted the global crisis of child sex tourism. The potential increase of the child sex trade in the wake of such a devastating natural disaster has shocked and educated many in the West.
It is North America and Europe, however, that have been driving the multi-billion-dollar global child sex tourism industry all along. American citizens alone comprise 25 percent of the industry, according to ECPAT-USA, an organization fighting sexual child abuse. These Americans travel overseas and pay to have sex with boys and girls, mainly 5-to-14-year-olds.
Globally, according to UNICEF, there are an estimated 2 million children currently in prostitution. While children in prostitution find themselves there for various reasons - some are sold by their poverty-stricken parents, some are tricked into debt, some literally captured and enslaved - it is Western culture that drives this nefarious economic force. Without the West, the child sex tourism industry would not flourish.
Many impoverished children in developing nations such as India, Mexico, Thailand, and Cambodia daily and perpetually suffer sexual abuse. Pedophiles feast upon the bodies of the desperate. Some visitors travel explicitly for sex with children, some decide to "experiment" while on vacation - both phenomena drive up the demand.