Bali will play host to a Southeast Asian Conference on Child Sex Tourism March 18-20. 2009 to discuss predatory behavior by travelers seeking sexual gratification with children and teenagers.
Bakri, the Director of Community Empowerment of the Directorate General of Destinations at the Department of Culture and Tourism, said: "This conference on child sex tourism will be conducted by the Center for Study of Child Protection (PKPA) and the Coalition to End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT). The Department of Culture and Tourism and other agencies are supporting this conference."
At least 100 delegates from Japan, Australia, Italy and neighboring ASEAN countries will join the meeting to discuss sex tourism in Southeast Asia from a number of perspectives.
Data from the World Tourism Organization (WTO) states that more than 2 million children are involved in the child sex tourism. According to ECPAT: "Child sex tourism is the commercial sexual exploitation of children by people who travel from one place to another to engage in sexual acts with minors. Often, child sex tourists travel from a richer country to one that is less developed, or they may be travelers within their own countries or region. Some child sex tourists (preferential abusers and pedophiles) target children specifically, but most do not usually have a sexual preference for children; they are situational abusers who unscrupulously take advantage of a situation in which children are made available to them. Child sex tourists take advantage of their anonymity as well as the socio-economic disparities in the locations they visit. They may try to rationalize their actions by claiming sex with a child is culturally acceptable or that money or goods exchanged benefit the child and community, or by setting their own thresholds for defining who is a child."
ECPAT defines child sex tourism as sexual transactions involving anyone under the age of 18.
ECPAT International cites Thailand and the Philippines as two countries experiencing rapid growth in their national sex industries. Thailand's efforts to control child sex tourism have had the result of shifting large parts of that industry to nearby Cambodia and Vietnam . Bakri warns," Indonesia has not escaped the problem of sexual exploitation of children in its tourism industry with cases uncovered in Bali, Lombok and Batam."
According to bisnis.com, speakers expected to attend the Bali gathering include: Kritsana Pimonsaengsuriya of ECPAT International, Kaoru Aoyama of the Kyoto University Japan, Professor Marco Scarpati of ECPAT Italy, Indonesia's former Minister of Culture I Gede Ardika, and Anna Marie Watie of Gajah Mada University.
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