Child sex tourism

People walking near campaign poster against child sex tourism, Rio de Janiero. © VANDERLEI ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty ImagesChild sex tourism is a growing problem in some countries around the world. Understand the UK’s laws and how to help stop the sexual exploitation of children abroad.

Child sex abroad and UK law

British citizens and residents can be prosecuted in the UK for sexual offences committed against children abroad under the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Having a sexual relationship with a child is an offence, regardless of local cultural practices.

Some offences carry penalties up to life imprisonment and anyone found guilty will also be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

The UK police, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre and Interpol constantly monitor child sex tourists and will prosecute.

It may be difficult to correctly judge a person’s age. If in doubt, err on the side of caution and remember you could be breaking the law and prosecuted.

Registered sex offenders travelling abroad

All registered sex offenders must notify UK police when they intend to leave the country for three days or more.

Help stop child sex abuse abroad

You can help prevent children from being sexually exploited by reporting if you:

  • see anyone you think is involved in the sexual exploitation of children
  • are asked if you would be interested in a sexual relationship with a child
  • have any information which you think may help the police

Report such information to:

  • the local police
  • your hotel manager
  • a tour representative or tour operator

You can also report it to Crimestoppers:

From abroad: +44 800 555 111
From the UK: 0800 555 111

All calls to Crimestoppers are anonymous and you may be eligible for a cash reward. Calls from abroad should be made from a landline and you will be charged.

Child sex tourism – more information

ECPAT UK and World Vision UK have more information on the social and cultural impact of the commercial sexual exploitation of children.

Useful Links

Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre - monitors and prosecutes child sex offenders

Crimestoppers - anonymously report suspected offenders

ECPAT UK- information on the social and cultural impact of the child sex industry

World Vision - information on the social and cultural impact of the child sex industry

UN Convention of the Rights of a Child

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