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This sections contains a database of documents on child trafficking. Users can research by title, author, editor/organization, type, topic, keywords, geographic descriptors and year of publication.
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Type of document: News
Topic: Law enforcement
Trafficking patterns
Geographic descriptors: Asia
Language: Spanish
Publisher: stuff.co.nz
Date of publication: 9 November 2004
Long Abstract: "Children continue to be sexually exploited, particularly through the use of the internet, promotion of sex tourism and a lack of education about HIV/Aids which make some people believe sex with children can cure the disease," he said. It is impossible to estimate the number of children trafficked each year across the world, although all estimates run into the hundreds of thousands. Advertisement Advertisement In Thailand, welfare groups say the total could be rising by as much as 20 per cent each year, earning the country the dubious reputation of being southeast Asia's human trafficking hub. Identified as a preferred transit point and destination for regional child smuggling rings, Thailand now sits on a US human trafficking 'watch list'. Thai police complain they are fighting an uphill battle against an increasingly sophisticated industry worth up to 100 billion baht ($NZ3.56 billion) a year, according to Bangkok's Chulalongkorn University. Desperately poor young girls from Myanmar, Cambodia and China are lured into Thailand with promises of lucrative jobs, only to end up in massage parlours and karaoke bars where customers will pay as much as 30,000 baht for virgins. Others are flown as far as Australia, Japan, South Africa and the United States to be kept as brothel sex slaves. Given its long, porous borders and rampant police corruption, getting the children into Thailand is easy. Panupong Singhara, a police commissioner in the northern city of Chiang Mai where the problem is most acute, said suspected traffickers have been alerted to police raids and government officials and police implicated in trafficking busts. "Corruption is one of my biggest concerns," Panupong said. "If evidence is found against any government official either from police or any other agencies, the person will be immediately charged and prosecuted." It is not only foreigners who get sucked into the dark world of child prostitution in Thailand. Near Chiang Mai's historic Tapae Gate, Kwan, a 14-year-old boy who fled an abusive step-father two years ago, walks the streets until the early hours looking for clients for sex. "I know this is not the right thing to do but when I need money I have to do it," Kwan said. Svasti said it was time governments in the region paid more than just lip service to the problem. "Child trafficking and sexual exploitation is a form of slavery and it's something that most people in the West feel is historical," said Svasti. "But when it comes to slavery and sex slavery, it's very much alive."

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