Child sex tourism: extending the borders of sexual offender legislation.Int J Law Psychiatry 2011 Mar-Apr; 34(2):116-21IJ
Child sex tourism, the act of traveling to engage in sexual acts with minors, plagues developing nations worldwide. Several laws have been passed internationally in recent years designed to curtail this practice. Government entities and human rights organizations have driven these efforts. United States citizens represent a significant proportion of participants in child sex tourism. The PROTECT Act of 2003 prohibits United States citizens from participating in sexual acts with minors while traveling, and establishes extraterritorial jurisdiction. The case of Michael Lewis Clark, the first United States citizen convicted under this legislation, is highlighted. Child sex tourism poses unique issues to courts that will require ongoing clarification as challenges arise. This article discusses potential future challenges, describes strategies to address this problem, and relates this issue to psychiatry. Mental health providers may have the role of evaluating both the victims and perpetrators of child sex tourism. The authors propose a classification system for offenses and an initial list of topics to discuss with victims. The authors also describe the proper mechanism for reporting United States citizens suspected of participating in child sex tourism.