Sweden launches website to combat child sex tourism
Swedish police launched an Internet site on Tuesday to help crack down on Swedes travelling abroad for sex with minors.
Stockholm: Swedish police launched an Internet site on Tuesday to help crack down on Swedes travelling abroad for sex with minors.
Resekurage.Se -- which means "travel courage" -- encourages Swedes travelling to destinations such as Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka known for child sex tourism, to report suspicious behaviour among fellow nationals.
"Every year hundreds of thousands of Swedes travel abroad. During their travels they run the risk of unwillingly seeing children being sexually exploited by foreign and Swedish tourists," says the website, adding that only one in ten nationals knew how to report such crimes abroad.
The website is part of a campaign run by local authorities, child rights groups and the police which aims to raise awareness that since 2005 tourists who pay for sex with under-18s can face two years in jail when they return to Sweden.
"We urge people to take their (civil) courage with them, rely on their gut feeling to tip off the police if they see something they think involves sexual exploitation of children," campaign organisers wrote in newspaper Aftonbladet today.
They quoted UN estimates that put the number of children involved in sex tourism at about two million.
"There is no doubt that there are Swedes feeding this market, perhaps in the belief that they can safely commit abuses with the protection of anonymity in a far away country," they added.
"Individual tips can have a big impact in new and ongoing investigations and ultimately decide whether a suspect can be prosecuted."
According to the Swedish news agency TT, at least seven Swedes have been convicted for paying for sex with a minor abroad since 2005.