Sex tourism refers to the practice of traveling to different countries or continents with the intention of engaging in sexual activity or relationships in exchange for money. This practice predominantly operates in countries where sex work is legal, however, it is known to occur illegally in poorer and less developed societies. The World Tourism Organization of the United Nations has acknowledged this industry is organised both within and outside the structured laws and networks created by them.
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Sex tourism is commonly regarded as a transnational problem, as it can be seen to target marginalised demographics in developing nations, such as South East Asia and Brazil. The chief ethical concerns arise from; the economic status between tourists and residents, the sexual trafficking of children and women and the parties taking advantage of the ability to engage with minors. These groups and individuals are subject to the foreign prostitution laws of the destination's jurisdiction, often resulting in exploitation and abuse. Sexual activities that involve children and minors are almost universally non-consensual and illegal.
Sex tourism is known as a multibillion-dollar industry that globally supports a workforce estimated in the millions, directly benefiting service industries such as the airline, taxi, restaurant and hotel industries. A number of countries have become popular destinations for sex tourism, including Brazil, Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, the Netherlands (particularly Amsterdam), Kenya, Colombia, Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, Cuba, and Indonesia (particularly Bali). The countries popular for female sex tourism include Southern Europe (mainly in Greece, Italy, Cyprus, Spain and Portugal); the Caribbean (led by Jamaica, Barbados and the Dominican Republic); Brazil, Egypt, Turkey, Sri Lanka, India (particularly Goa)and Phuket in Thailand); and the Gambia, Senegal and Kenya in Africa. Other popular destinations include Bulgaria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Morocco, Jordan, Fiji, Colombia and Costa Rica.