Child Prostitution and Sex Tourism: Brazil - Sweden

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Commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC) has been a major cause of concern in recent years. The term CSEC is used to describe the various activities exploiting children for sexual purposes and includes trafficking of children, child pornography, child prostitution and sex tourism. The sexual exploitation implies that the child is not only sexually abused but that it has a value on a market which includes demand and supply. In the current political debate the demand side is often addressed to sex tourists, (mainly men) from the western world who travel to poorer countries- so called supply countries- to sexually abuse children. A First World Congress on CSEC was held in Stockholm 1996, hosted by the Swedish government. The meeting brought together 122 governments and several non governmental and governmental organisations (NGOs and GOs) in order to try to identify the nature and extent of the CSEC in the world and to find strategies to eradicate the problems. Two non-binding documents were adopted&semic the Stockholm Declaration and the Agenda for Action, which set out concrete and time bound goals in the struggle to combat the phenomenon. The governments committed themselves to elaborate their national plans of action by the end of year 2000. A Second World Congress was held in Yokohama, Japan 2001 to view progress in implementing by states the goals set forth in Stockholm and to strengthen international cooperation. On the Stockholm meeting 1996 there was a broad consensus that since CSEC is a cross boarding phenomenon, the only way to combat the phenomenon is through enhanced cooperation between countries. Since the Stockholm Conference1996, several political actions and activities have been carried out through out the world&semic new international legal instruments have rapidly been created aiming to strengthen the protection of children, new laws have been passed in several countries enabling to prosecute its citizens for sexual crimes committed against children abroad, thus demonstrating that the international community takes a clear action against the problem. The international community does play a vital role by rapidly adopting conventions and standards, showing that the problems are taken seriously. The important, difficult and interesting part is to turn these provisions into concrete measures at a national level. This thesis deals with two parts of the CSEC&semic child prostitution and sex tourism. Brazil has claimed to be the second country in the world, after Thailand, with the highest number of children in prostitution. The country has also a reputation for attracting a great amount of sex tourists from the western world. Therefore Brazil represents a supply country in this thesis. Since a few years Swedish citizens (residents) have the possibility to travel as charter tourists to the Northeast region of Brazil, where the population is particularly poor and the problem of child prostitution is said to be most severe in the country. As it happens that Swedish nationals are travelling abroad committing sexual crimes against foreign children, Sweden will represent a demand country. Given the concept of demand and supply and international cooperation I raise the over arching questions: To what extent does Brazil as a supply country legally and through other means protect and prevent its children from prostitution? How does Sweden, representing a demand country, protect the Brazilian minors from being sexually abused or exploited by Swedish nationals? In terms of international cooperation, how can the responsibility of the countries be defined? When it comes to defining the responsibility for the exploitation, it is Brazilian minors who enter prostitution or fall victims of sexual exploitation. There are always fundamental structural problems within every country that generate child prostitution. In the case of Brazil, poverty, underdevelopment, inequitable socio-economic structure, dysfunctional families, corruption, lack of education, urban-rural migration, gender discrimination and irresponsible adult behaviour are all contributing factors to create an environment where the Brazilian minors are likely to be vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Therefore it is in the first place the Brazilian government and the Brazilian people who have to find strategies to solve the problem, according to the nature and extent of how the problem appears in Brazil, not in Asia or other parts of the world. The problem of international sex tourism becomes in this sense not the biggest challenge, even if must be dealt with. Sustainable tourism includes awareness of the economic inequality between rich and poor countries or regions and the responsibility which accompanies this consciousness. Sweden can contribute to the protection of the Brazilian children by continue to increase this awareness and by informing on the criminal nature of sexual offences against children in Brazil. Extra territorial prosecution is as a valuable tool among others to prevent sex tourism. Sweden has already this possibility. However, even if it is possible to carry out extra territorial prosecutions, there is a broad consensus that the trial of any crime committed abroad shall at first hand be held in the country where the crime is committed, since it is foremost a responsibility of that country to bring the offences to justice. It might be easy to get trapped in the belief that it becomes a responsibility of Sweden to take care of what Brazil does not care for or does not prioritise.. In addition there are several difficulties connected to such a prosecution. The current suggestion of abolishing the double criminality requirement for serious sexual crimes committed against children abroad, will generally not facilitate the process. However, due to the Brazilian and Swedish legislation in combination, such a change gives the result that a Swedish offender could when having sexually violated a Brazilian child be brought to justice in a Swedish court room. Without such a change this would at date under some specific circumstances probably not be possible.

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