ICE WARNS ABOUT THE SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES OF ENGAGING IN CHILD SEX TOURISM
American tourists, with twisted overseas travel plans to engage in child sex tourism, may think they are beyond the reach of U.S. law enforcement. However, they should know that it is a priority for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to apprehend and prosecute U.S. citizens who engage in sexual acts with minors in foreign countries.
Millions of American citizens travel abroad on a regular basis. While the vast majority of them are law abiding, some commit sexual crimes against minors in foreign countries. Each year, over a million children are exploited in the global commercial sex trade. Child sex tourism involves people who travel from their home country to another and engage in commercial sex acts with children. Child sex tourism is a shameful assault on the dignity of children and a form of child abuse and violence. For the minors involved, these acts have devastating consequences, which may include long-lasting physical and psychological trauma, disease, drug addiction, unwanted pregnancy, malnutrition, social ostracism and possibly death.
Tourists engaging in child sex tourism often travel to developing countries looking for anonymity and the availability of children in prostitution. The crime is typically fueled by weak local law enforcement, corruption, the Internet, ease of travel and poverty. These sexual offenders come from all socio-economic backgrounds and may hold positions of trust. Previous arrests for child sex tourism involving U.S. citizens have included: a pediatrician, a retired Army sergeant, a dentist, a Peace Corps volunteer and a university professor.
In 2003, the United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism by passing the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to End the Exploitation of Children Today Act (PROTECT Act) and the Trafficking Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act. These laws carry penalties of up to 30 years in prison for engaging in child sex tourism. In the nine years since these laws were strengthened, HSI special agents have arrested 93 suspects on child sex tourism charges.
“Our message is clear to all U.S. citizens: We take these crimes seriously,” said Peter Vincent, director of HSI’s Office of International Affairs. “If you dare abuse a child abroad, we will find you, send you back to the United States and prosecute you for your crimes. You might be out of the country, but you are not out of reach of U.S. law enforcement.”
For the complete story on the ICE website, visit http://www.ice.gov/news/releases/1210/121017washingtondc.htm
In a recent case, Jesse Osmun, 33, a former U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for sexually abusing four girls, all under the age of 6, while he was a volunteer in South Africa. He never expected that HSI special agents would arrest him for crimes he committed nearly 8,000 miles away from his Connecticut home. Read about this case on the ICE website at
Arrested by HSI
Previous news item
The RCMP’s Canadian Police Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (CPCMEC) announced the results of its multi-agency investigative operation targeting online child predators. As part of Operation Snapshot, one child [more...]