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Brazilian Amazon Travel Agency Signs Agreement to Fight Child Sex Tourism

Pink Dolphin from the Amazon If you Google "child sex tourism," you'll read about those who travel abroad to have sex with children, some as young as five. An estimated 2 million children worldwide are prostituted annually. US federal statutes prohibit sex trafficking and sex tourism so those caught may face up to life in prison, as one quarter of all sex tourists are Americans.

These same laws target those caught arranging sex tours to places like Thailand, Costa Rica and Brazil.

This Monday, September 15, travel agent Phil Marsteller  will sign the Code of Conduct for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation in Travel and Tourism.  And he explain why: "I want to fight this cancer that is ruining not only my industry but the lives of those living in the land that I love."

Marsteller grew up in the jungles of northern Brazil as he worked alongside his missionary parents until he was 19. "I taught my friends to fly kites and they taught me to hunt and fish in the jungle," he said. "In 1992, I started Amazon Tours so I could take people fishing for Peacock Bass on the third largest river in the world, the Rio Negro. I also wanted to give back to those who had given so much to me and my family."

"In 1999, I began seeing other fishing tour operators illegally taking their clients into the Indian reservations so they could pick out their own girls, some as young as 12 and 13," Phil explained.

"I saw young girls wearing skimpy bathing suits in the fishing boats with the American tourists as they drank and fished. As things got worse, I knew that I had to do something and began learning about those who fight to protect these children from lives of ruin."

In an effort to fight child sex tourism, Marsteller, on behalf of Amazon Tours, will be signing The Code of Conduct at the Church Center for the United Nations. The signing ceremony is sponsored by the U.S. office of the End Child Prostitution Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes or ECPAT, the NGO Committee on UNICEF and The Code.

Speakers include Frederico Silva da Costa, Brazil National Secretary for Tourism Development, Carol Smolenski, Executive Director, ECPAT – USA and representatives from UNICEF and the U.S. State Department.

The Code of Conduct consists of six criteria adopted by suppliers of tourism services who pledge: 1) To establish an ethical policy regarding the commercial sexual exploitation of children. 2) To train personnel in the country of origin and travel destinations. 3) To introduce a clause in contracts with suppliers, stating a common repudiation of commercial exploitation of children. 4) To provide information to travelers by means of catalogs, brochures, in-flight films, ticket-slips, home pages, etc. 5) To provide information to local "key persons" at the destinations. 6) To report annually.

You can visit Marsteller's Rio Negro Foundation at www.rionegrofoundation.org to learn about the medical/dental clinic, school and research facility built by Phil and his wife Ruth. The research facility is used for cooperative projects including the Peacock Bass Project, the Amazon Turtle Project and the study of Carbon Dioxide Emissions in the Rio Negro Basin. You can learn more about ECPAT USA at www.ecpat-usa.org.

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  • Show Comments (3)

  • pablo

    The first line of this article reeks of something suspicious… why in God’s name would I Google “child sex tourism” unless I was some sick perverted freak?

  • CH.C.

    Forrest….Dead Right !!!!!!
    But…why take a picture when it is a foreigner, and take no picture when it is a LOCAL ????

    Facts are that MOST children sex prostitution has BRAZILIANS NOT FOREIGNERS…CLIENTS !!!!!!

    AS PER A U.N report, 500’000 children are in prostitution…in BRAZIL ALONE.

    AS PER A BRAZILIAN REPORT 20 % OF THE BRAZILIANS MUNICIPALITIES OFFER SEX WITH MINORS !!!!!!
    As per the same report, they state it is probably UNDERSTATED !!!!

    As per many NGO’s local and foreign, most say there are FAR more than the 500’000 children in prostitution in Brazil !!!!!

    Sadly….Brazil ALWAYS underline the tip of the iceberg (foreigners) but keep as national secret the 90 % of the iceberg (locals)!

  • forrest allen brown

    when he saw this
    He should have informed the police , or the police federal , taken pic and sent them to the US embassy along with the tour company name and dates .
    with this evendence the US would have detained them and sent down police from the embassy to talk to the girls and the tribal leaders .
    and if it were true they would have gone to jail and lost of there passports .

    but it is just another piece of paper as long as the brazilian police and people keep selling the girls
    and only going after the gringoes .
    as any one that has been in brazil for any time brazilian men do the same thing .
    in the north from sao louis the pounta negro germans , italians , french are the worst
    from joao paossa to reciffe and pipa US and brazilian are bad .
    salvador to sao palo it is up for grabs .
    just start look

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