TWIFT | Lifestyle | Traveling for sex: top 10 sex tourism destinations

Traveling for sex: top 10 sex tourism destinations

The notion of tourism has changed recently. Earlier travelers were looking for new geographical horizons to discover, nowadays various purposes exist why to travel. For instance, sex tourism is an act of traveling to other countries, often to other continents, to have sex, mainly to destinations where sex work is allowed, although millions of sex workers work illegally. 

Unfortunately, human trafficking often comes as a part of the sex tourism industry. In the countries with allowed sex work, human trafficking, as well as sex with children and child pornography always remain a crime. Briefly, sex tourism is regarded as one of the biggest criminal industries worldwide.

In this article, you will discover the most popular sex tourism destinations in the world, as well as issues and controversies of the sex industry in each of the countries.

1. Germany

Various branches of the sex industry are legal in Germany, including prostitution (even the street one), brothels, and job offers, made by HR agencies. The government regulates sex work in this country, imposing taxes on it. Prostitution was legalized in 2002, and since then the industry has made a huge leap forward. The Prostitutes Protection Act, issued in 2016, aims at enhancing the lives of sex workers. At the same time, it imposes certain restrictions: prostitution activity has to be registered, and it is not allowed without the use of condoms.

Taking note that organized prostitution in Germany dated back to the early 1200 AD, no wonder this country got the name of “Europe’s biggest brothel”. Red light districts have become commonplace in cities, such as Hamburg, Frankfurt, Berlin, and Stuttgart. For example, the Reeperbahn in Hamburg is a district, famous for its assortment of enormous sex shops, brothels, strip bars with strip dancers for different tastes, and lots of prostitutes working in the street (the luxury class ones can be found in shop windows in a special part of the district, where only males can enter).

In Stuttgart, there is one of the biggest European brothels, called Paradise, with 31 private rooms. The cost of the construction of this complex equaled more than six million euros, however, it has paid off as hundreds of men visit it daily.

More than one million German men buy sex services every day, as the documentary “Sex – Made in Germany” suggests. Certain tourist agencies offer special sex tours for men from North America, the Middle East, and Asia.

However, there are a couple of flies in the soup. German brothels are believed to encourage human trafficking and bypass sex workers’ rights. Well, it does not hinder the crazy popularity of Germany as a real paradise for sex tourists.

2. The Netherlands

Both prostitution and managing a brothel are legal and regulated by law in the Netherlands. Probably everyone has heard of Red-Light District (or RLD), also called De Wallen, in Amsterdam. According to statistics, about 1000 prostitutes work in Amsterdam every day, while their total number is between 15 and 30 thousand. 90% of this number are female, 5% male, and 5% transgender. One can find them in the shop windows of the Red Light District, in brothels, or as escorts. 

What comes to your mind when you hear the notion of sex tourism? The first association for many of us is shop windows with elite prostitutes standing or sitting there in sexy outfits. To buy a prostitute you simply need to come close to the window and signal that you have made your choice.

In Amsterdam, you can come across sex workers of about 45 nationalities, one-third of them being Dutch. Others come from Thailand, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Central and Eastern Europe.

However, to become a sex tourist in Amsterdam one does not necessarily have to buy a prostitute. You can visit places of “sex interest”, like the Temple of Venus, the Sexmuseum, or various shows.

Sex shows, or peep shows, as they are also called, differ in style – from comedy shows to real sex shows. The admission is about 30 euros.

3. Colombia

Prostitution is legal and protected by law in Colombia too. Moreover, taking to account that Colombian women are considered to be very beautiful, it is no wonder sex tourism in this country has become popular.

Good Girls in Cali is an all-inclusive sex resort. The prices range from 500 to 1,500 dollars. The cheapest option is a room with a “good girl”. A more expensive one is a private villa with meals. Ready to spend 1,500 dollars? You will get a villa, spa procedures, helicopter tours, and two “good girls”.

Willing to pay even more? Well, erotic massages and threesomes are at your disposal.

Your identity will remain discrete, do not worry. The resort guarantees security during your stay.

However, the problem of human trafficking is widespread in Colombia too. In 2019 there were 124 registered incidents. 12% of sex workers are supposed to be minors.

4. Thailand

Prostitution in Thailand dates back to the times of the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351-1767). According to statistics, there are between 250,000 and 2 million prostitutes in Thailand. As it is quite difficult to find a well-paid job for a woman in Thailand, one can understand why there is such a big number of sex workers there.

You have probably heard that sex tourists from all parts of the world are attracted to Thailand. But did you know that it is a country that is famous for the vast exploitation of children in the sex industry?

The International Organisation for Migration claims that every year 600 million people travel for sex purposes. 3% of these trips are connected with the search for sex with children, which means that 3 million people travel annually with this aim. According to another source, most of these minors are girls from Thailand and Laos.

Until 1960 prostitution was legal in Thailand. Now it is regulated by three acts. Being illegal now, prostitution remains vastly offered. 

The most popular sex tourism destinations in Thailand are the cities of Pattaya, Phuket, and Bangkok.

5. Dominican Republic

Being a prostitute is legal, but managing a brothel is not. There are 6,000 – 10,000 sex workers in the Dominican Republic, many of whom are Haitian. However, Dominican women are more desired and praised for their lighter skin and are allowed to work in more prestigious areas.

Where to find a prostitute? Mainly in the downtown of Santo Domingo and Puerto Plata. Sosua, a town in the north of the Dominican Republic, has become a sex tourism destination for German men. Some Dominican women move to Sosua with the hope to find there a future German husband and migrate to Germany. A lot of prostitutes in Sosua consider their constant clients to be their boyfriends. They are looking for romance and relationships.

Some German men are tempted by this “beautiful Dominican life” and move to Sosua.

Among other small towns with high levels of prostitution (the poorer the women, the higher level of prostitution) there are Las Terrenas, Cabarete, and Boca Chica).

According to statistics from 2015, a quarter of sex workers in the Dominican Republic were minors.

6. Spain

There are 1,200 brothels along the Spanish highways. As for the cities, among the most well-known sex tourism destinations in Spain, there are Madrid, Barcelona, and Ibiza, with their red-light districts. 

The estimated number of prostitutes in this country is about 350,000, 80% of whom are girls from other countries who came there illegally. The sex industry in Spain brings in 3.7 billion euros annually.

One of the sex workers says that a night costs 50 euros, clean sheets – 5 euros, and a condom – 5 euros. She admits that the majority of clients are married family men, good fathers, and husbands. But they become sex tourists to find something they can not try out with their wives, as society is strict and rigid.

7. Malaysia

Although sex work is illegal in Malaysia, you can witness it everywhere in the streets of Kuala Lumpur, as well as in red-light districts. The most prominent among them is Bukit Bintang.

Other popular sex tourism destinations are Ipoh and Penang. Most prostitutes are trafficked there from China and Thailand.

Brothels and other connected to them activities are illegal in Malaysia as well. However, they can be found everywhere.

One of the popular forms of sex tourism in Malaysia is massage parlors. Originally it is a place where you can be massaged for money. Yet, nowadays a lot of clients desire to be massaged erotically and get arousal from massage.

In 2014 the estimated number of sex workers was 150,000, and the profit the industry made equaled 963 million dollars.

8. Kenya

Retired white men and women travel to Kenya to find young girls and boys, often minors. Kenya is a paradise as a sex destination, especially for those seeking sex with children. 

According to statistics, males are more interested in underaged girls, while females  – are in adults. Retired and bored, they feel special with Kenyan men. One of the women who traveled to Kenya, admits that there she realized she could behave in a different way than she used to in her country. In Kenya, she could pretend to be another person and fulfill her bravest fantasies, including those of African men.

Very often these white women have unhappy stories in their past, they are either divorced or miserable in their marriages. Here in Kenya, men know how to make compliments, what to say and how to behave to make these women feel desired.

A UNICEF study informs that about 30% of Kenyan girls aged from 12 to 18 years old are dragged into a certain type of sex work. One in ten of these girls started working before their pubertal period.

What makes the matters worse is that society does not disapprove of child sex work. It is regarded as a means of earning money. Parents encourage their kids to skip school, and go to the beaches in search of white tourists who may drag them out of poverty.

9. The Philippines

About half a million people are engaged in the sex industry in the Philippines. Way back during World War II, the “girlie” bars gained popularity, and it was the beginning of sex tourism activities in this country.

Prostitution here is illegal, yet sex workers can be found in bars and massage parlors.

Famous for its vibrant nightlife, Makati City has got numerous clubs and bars, including those in P. Burgos street, the local Red Light district. Starting from 7 p.m. you can see there numerous businessmen in suits searching for a place where to relax after a hard working day, as well as women and homosexuals dressed up in various outfits crowding the bars and clubs waiting to provide this long-expected relaxation.

Another town, Barrio Baretto, houses around 40 bars which are known to be prostitute centers.

An average client in the Philippines is a middle-aged foreigner, a sex tourist, who is usually divorced, single or isolated from his wife. The average sex worker in the Philippines is a woman or a girl (99%), and 21% of this number are minors. The reasons to become  a prostitute in this country are poverty and social change.

10. Brazil

Brazil is another popular sex tourism destination, a large part of the industry being child prostitution. Very often it is approved and encouraged by these children’s parents. 

Underage girls cost less than adults. Minors are not allowed to bars, so taxi drivers cooperate with them bringing the clients with these girls to the nearby motels.

Prostitution in Brazil, as well as owning and managing a brothel are illegal. However, it does not prevent numerous brothels from functioning in the cities and towns of this country.

Every weekend special tourist agencies organize sex tours for European men. What will they get here? Well, cheap sex with exotic tanned Brazilian women (frequently underaged) who often appear in sexual fantasies and are seen as a symbol of erotics.

The boom in Brazilian sex tourism usually occurs on the dates of huge sporting events. For instance, before the World Cup, over 3350 sex sites appeared.

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