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Success Against Slavery: Strategies for the Future & Promising Practices in International Programming

Jesse Eaves, World Vision US
Remarks at the Roundtable Hosted by the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives and the U.S. Department of State Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons
Washington, DC
October 28, 2008

Child Sex Tourism Prevention Project

Thank you for being here and it’s an honor to share the stage with these wonderful organizations. Thank you Laura and GTIP and Office of Faith Based Initiatives. Let’s get to it.

As you can hear from these other panelists, the fight to end child sexual exploitation means an all out assault on both supply and demand. Much of what WV has done worldwide and what many other folks do is based on supply – poverty reduction, education, aftercare - essentially getting vulnerable children in a safety net. This project focused on the demand side in an attempt to identify predators and victims and assist in assuring successful prosecutions.

Child Sex Tourism
This was the problem we were dealing with in addressing demand. Foreigners sexually exploiting children in another country. The problem is global. It’s a huge industry and occurs mostly in developing countries. There are two types of offenders – situational (business or vacation and decide to “experiment”) and preferential (habitual and intentional offenders traveling with set mission to sexually abuse a child). This project aimed to deter both at every step of their journey.

Child Sex Tourism Prevention Project
This project was the result of grants from both State and HHS and also private contributions from World Vision to target the demand in countries known to be destinations for child sex tourists. We also received crucial assistance from ICE in the form of training and also in using their logo in deterrence messages. We also partnered with national governments, other NGOs and communities where we worked. The goal was to educate and deter US citizens, identify offenders and victims and provide information to aid investigations and prosecutions.

Simultaneous interventions
These simultaneous interventions – to deter and assist amounted to a “Bark and bite” strategy directly aimed to reduce demand.

First Intervention: Deterrence
Pedophiles don’t like attention. Most sex tourists fear two things: being exposed and being prosecuted. The project aimed to deter would-be sex tourists with a straight-forward message: Abuse a child in another country, you go to jail in yours.

First Encounter: Online
Searching for tour guides, destinations, brothel maps, entering certain key words triggered this pop-up so that right from the start, a potential offender is made aware of the consequences.

Second Encounter: Departure Point
CNN Airport, posters and fliers at 30 major gateway airports and 1800 gates in the U.S. During peak hours, over 2 million travelers were reached with this deterrence message.

Third Encounter: En Route
In-flight video on United, TACA, and TAM to certain Asia and Latin American destinations and also full page ads in in-flight magazines like U.S. Airways.

Fourth Encounter: Destination Country
Everywhere a pedophile would go, they would see the message that their actions would have consequences. But what if they ignore deterrence message? This is where WV’s experience comes in play.

Second intervention: Assist Law Enforcement
Train WV staff and others on how to better identify a child sex tourist;
Train WV staff and others on the types of information and evidence that are helpful to US law enforcement for prosecutions;
Establish procedures for handling information, evidence and victim testimony;
How to interview a victim and make them feel safe
Establish an incident reporting form and process between WV and ICE
Build-up our network and collaboration among NGOs and government agencies to identify and combat child sex tourists from the US, and elsewhere.
We helped raise awareness on the issue.
Also started www.stopchildtourism.org which educated public on issue and included law enforcement tip link so newly informed people could report suspect behavior.
This collaboration continues via website and also with our offices on the ground.

Media Attention
An intentional and very powerful by-product of the project was the media attention the project received. 86 broadcast stories and over 250 print stories including front page of NYT and USA Today reached even more potential offenders and made the American public aware of what was going on and what they could do to stop it.

Before 2003, this project would not have worked. The PROTECT Act of 2003 changed existing child sex tourist laws so that the prosecution no longer had to show intent to sexually abuse a crime. It was a small change that meant a great deal with law enforcement agencies like ICE seeking to end the flow of child sex tourists from the U.S. As we move forward, we look forward to continue to engage governments, communities, and the American public on this issue so that we can create a zero-tolerance culture for the sexual exploitation of children around the world.

I want to thank you again for having me here and I look forward to your questions.

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