Thursday, August 17, 2006

Ramsey Case Spotlights Child Sex Trade

The big story of the week has been the arrest of John Mark Karr, a 42-year-old American, in connection with the killing of 6-year-old beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.

Karr was arrested in Bangkok on unrelated sex charges.

In countries such as Thailand, child sexual exploitation builds on a long-standing and vast prostitution industry, and thrives where law enforcement is weak or corrupt. That sex with young teens is not a strong taboo in some Asian cultures makes fighting the problem even more difficult.

In Cambodia, There are about 33,000 child sex workers, according to UNICEF, the U.N. children's agency. The U.S. State Department has listed Cambodia as among the world's worst nations at adequately addressing human trafficking problems, including the trade of child sex workers.

Just two months ago a Los Angeles man was deported from Thailand May after completing one-year prison sentence for molesting 15-year-old and 16-year-old boys. According to a U.S. criminal complaint, he told authorities he often paid Thai children the equivalent of $5 for two hours of sexual contact.

It appears that the killer in the Ramsey case was finally apprehended after being lured into the Asian sex trade.


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