Washington International Law Journal


In 1996, an estimated one million children were sexually exploited in Asia. "Sex tourists" who travel to Asia from developed countries, including Australia and the United States, contribute to the demand for child prostitutes. A decade ago, Australia and the United States passed laws in an attempt to combat child-sex tourism. Over the past decade, the laws of both countries have had limited success. In 2003, the United States enacted the PROTECT Act. The PROTECT Act, nearly identical to Australia's Crimes (Child Sex Tourism) Amendment Act, allows for the prosecution of child-sex tourists and child-sex tour organizers, based on sexual offenses committed abroad. This Comment compares these U.S. and Australian sex tourism laws and argues that although the PROTECT Act makes the prosecution of U.S. sex tourists easier, the United States should not expect a significant increase in the number of convictions. In particular, prosecutions of sex tourists in the United States under the PROTECT Act will be more limited than under its Australian counterpart because of America's unique constitutional protection of a criminal defendant's right of confrontation. Without directing its resources at the organizers of sex tours, and without addressing the roots of the child-sex tourism problem, the United States will fail to protect children.

First Page