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Porn as Erototoxic | Posted: December 31, 2005

Americans helping fuel Mexico's child-sex industry

Authorities trying to crack down on trade rampant in popular resort areas

Saturday, December 31, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2005

Child prostitution continues unabated in Mexican tourist resorts and border cities despite a crackdown on pedophiles in both Mexico and the United States, according to a report by the Houston Chronicle.

The number of child victims of prostitution, pornography and human trafficking in Mexico has increased from 16,000 to 20,000 in the past five years, investigators estimate. Among those who pay for sex with boys and girls are American, Canadian and European tourists, the Houston paper says.

The United Nations Children's Fund says Mexican authorities now are addressing the problem - after once being in denial - but they are hindered by a weak justice system, police corruption and lack of facilities to help homeless children.

Some of the worst abuses, according to investigators, occur in famous seaside resorts such as Acapulco and Cancun. In Acapulco, hundreds of homeless youths hang out in the heart of the resort where they are picked up by pedophiles. Some of the children are sold by pimps.

Mexican prosecutors are limited by a law requiring the need for someone to file a detailed accusation against a specific suspect before they can take action, the Chronicle says.

Two years ago, for example, federal police arrested 13 Canadians and Americans who allegedly formed a network that organized sex tourism and child pornography in Acapulco. Last year, two of the suspects committed suicide in prison and the others were released by a federal judge who said evidence against them was insufficient.

A Mexican child protection official said defense attorneys allegedly bribed key child witnesses so they wouldn't testify, the paper reported.

In the U.S., Congress passed the Protect Act in 2003, which allows for the arrest of people who plan to go abroad and have sex with a minor. The measure also increased the maximum sentence for child-sex tourism to 30 years from 10 for first-time offenders and to a life sentence for those with previous convictions.

The Department of Homeland Security's Operation Predator has arrested 13 men who planned to have sex with children abroad.

In February, an FBI sting operation nabbed seven men who planned to go to Ensenada, Mexico, where they were promised sex with boys as young as 9. The fake vacation was set up by an FBI undercover agent who had infiltrated the North American Man/Boy Love Association.

As WorldNetDaily reported this week, a former consultant to the U.S. Justice Department contends the Canadian Supreme Court ruling that redefined obscenity and legalized group-sex clubs, combined with the country's unusually low age of consent - 14 - will result in an influx of pedophiles to America's northern neighbor.

This month, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that strengthens current human trafficking law and authorizes new funds for investigation and prosecution of domestic trafficking within the United States.

The measure, authored in the House by Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., provides $361 million over the next two years to combat trafficking, is expected to be signed by President Bush.

"With a crime as abhorrent as human trafficking, it is essential that the United States takes the lead and that includes within our own borders," said Smith, "We must work to target the criminals - slaveholders - who force these young children and women into unimaginable horrors."

Each year, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 people are trafficked across international borders, and millions more are trafficked internally. Worldwide, more than 3,000 traffickers were convicted last year.

Previous stories:

Canada new destination of choice for pedophiles?

U.S. 'takes lead' to combat human trafficking