By ALISON ANIS
INTERNATIONAL consultants on child abuse and sexual exploitation have warned Papua New Guineans to be cautious of child sex tourists, The National reports.
These are people who target specific countries and travel under the guise of tourists but with the intention of sexually exploiting young girls and children.
Carl Collins and Ian Hopley, during a joint presentation at a one-day seminar addressing child abuse and sexual exploitation, said PNG had the potential of being a target for child sex tourists because of problems with enforcing laws, widespread corruption and poverty where money does the talking.
Hopley said commercial sex was rampant in Pacific countries, including PNG, and the country had to be aware of how the perpetrators operated to safeguard their women and children from being exploited.
“Many of these tourists are now targeting countries in the Pacific because other countries have introduced extra territorial legislation,” he said, adding that the legislation was introduced to safeguard women and children from these perpetrators.
Collins said sex tourists were mainly paedophiles or preferential child molesters who visited selected countries for the wrong reasons and to sexually exploit young girls and children.
Hopley said with reports of high child prostitution being experienced in PNG and an increase in commercial sex trade, the boom in the mineral, fishery and logging industries could also attract sex tourists.
However, he said this would happen on a few occasions as a majority of the sexual abuse on children in PNG would be carried out by Papua New Guineans.
“Foreigners arrested in the Pacific should, wherever possible, be charged with the relevant offences under the local laws and dealt with in the country where the offence occurred.
“In this way, it will sent out a warning to sex tourist that they are not welcomed here,” Hopley said.