Letter: Stop sex tourists

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Your leader ("Two ways to stop paedophiles who travel for sex", 4 August) leaves out of account a further, and by far the most important, way of stopping the abuse of children through sex tourism. Most are from poor regions, and for them and for their families their part- or full- time prostitution is a major, perhaps the major, source of livelihood. It is economic circumstance which has created the cultural acceptance of this phenomenon - in which, incidentally, perhaps one in a hundred male tourists offered a young prostitute is identifiable as a paedophile.

In both the Philippines and Thailand the cause of labour migration and periurban slums is the unbalanced distribution of employment opportunity, with almost all industry and major commerce located in metropolitan areas. Poverty in the regions is, however, also the result of a lack of agricultural production development and markets, often contributed to by protectionism in the West.

The restriction on imports of the tapioca chips which could replace French beet in pig-feed supply to the EU, and US rice exports through food aid programmes, have for 30 years distorted the world food crop markets. This is to a massive extent to the detriment of Asian domestic small-scale producers and to the growth of industrial and commercial systems which might, over time, displace sex as a saleable commodity.