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TRAVEL BRAVE

Don't look away. Help stop it. Travel Brave

Every year, Canadians travel abroad for vacations, adventures, or business. But not everyone. Some Canadians travel abroad to break the law—to abuse children. It's a crime called child sex tourism.

Child sex tourists travel overseas to exploit children who are vulnerable; often, these children live in poverty and outside the protection of their country's public justice system.

Child sex tourists believe they won't get caught or held accountable for their actions. But Canada has excellent laws that can hold these individuals accountable—even if they commit these crimes outside our borders.

That's why we're inviting Canadians to Travel Brave—not just this summer but all year long.

Don't look away. Help stop it.

Download your Travel Brave kit today. It's filled with information that helps you know what to look for and how to report it. It also contains a downloadable wallet card, to carry with you as you travel.*

More questions? Read our Frequently Asked Questions

About Travel Brave

Travel Brave exists to raise awareness across Canada about child sex tourism, empower Canadians to report the crime, increase citizen reports of suspected child sex tourists, and better protect children everywhere.

Download your copy of the Travel Brave kit today. It includes a wallet card with reporting information and other valuable content to report suspicious activity.

Travel Brave is an initiative by International Justice Mission Canada.

"We need folks to stop minding their own business when it comes to young people. If you're concerned about a kid you have to take that extra step and make the call (to police)."

CHRISTY DZIKOWICZ

DIRECTOR OF MISSING CHILDREN SERVICES AT THE CANADIAN CENTRE FOR CHILD PROTECTION

What is Travel Brave?

Travel Brave exists to raise awareness across Canada about child sex tourism, empower Canadians to report the crime, increase citizen reports of suspected child sex tourists abroad, and better protect children everywhere. Travel Brave is an initiative by International Justice Mission Canada.

What is commercial sexual exploitation of a child?

The World Congress against Commercial Exploitation of Children defines commercial sexual exploitation of a child as "a fundamental violation of children’s rights. It comprises sexual abuse by the adult and remuneration in cash or kind to the child or a third person or persons. The child is treated as a sexual object and as a commercial object. The commercial sexual exploitation of children constitutes a form of coercion and violence against children, and amounts to forced labour and a contemporary form of slavery.”

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Source: Declaration and Agenda for Action of the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Stockholm: UNICEF, 1996. Full Text.

Who is considered a child?

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child defines a child as a "human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.”

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Source: Convention on the Rights of the Child. Geneva: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, 1989.

How are children sexually exploited?

Sexual exploitation of a child can take many forms, including prostitution, child pornography, and trafficking for sexual purposes. It can also include child sex tourism and early marriage (UNICEF, see source for full details).

The new digital age also means many children are exploited online, through online pornography streaming sites and sharing of pornographic images.

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Source: Declaration and Agenda for Action of the First World Congress against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. Stockholm: UNICEF, 1996.

What is child sex tourism?

Every year, Canadians travel abroad for vacations, adventures, or business. Some travel to sexually exploit children, otherwise known as child sex tourism (CST). These individuals travel overseas to sexually exploit children who are vulnerable: these children often live in poverty and outside the protection of their country's public justice system.

Individuals may travel overseas with the express purpose of child sex tourism, while others may only engage in child sex tourism upon arrival—these are 'opportunistic' or 'situational' offenders, who engage in the act because they are presented the opportunity to do so.

Child sex tourists often commit this crime because they believe they won’t get caught or held to account for their actions in Canada. Child sex tourists take advantage of the services available in tourist destinations, like accommodation, transportation, and other services, to facilitate contact with children. This also allows them to remain inconspicuous in the surrounding population and environment.

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Sources: Ecpat.net; thecode.org; Travel.gc.ca

How extensive is the problem of child sex tourism?

It is difficult to establish the prevalence of child sex tourism—especially when individuals are not apprehended. It is estimated that approximately 2 million children globally are exploited in the commercial sex trade (UNICEF).

One estimate, calculated between 1993-2008, found that more than 150 men, or approximately 10 men per year, requested consular assistance after being charged or arrested for crimes relating to child sex tourism, such as child abuse, child molestation, or possession of child pornography.1 Through an Access to Information request, it was found that in 2009, 23 Canadians requested consular help; in 2010, 28 requested assistance; and in 2011, 22 asked for consular help after being charged or arrested for these crimes.2

A report by the Toronto Star claims that, since 1998, "more than 200 Canadians have been convicted abroad of sexual crimes against children.”3 A conviction means they have been found guilty in a court of law, and does not include individuals who have been arrested or charged for allegedly committing these crimes.

None of these figures include individuals who committed the crime, but were never caught. That estimate is difficult to ascertain.

Since the introduction of Canada’s child sex tourism laws in 1997, only 6 individuals have been convicted for their crimes.

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1 Benjamin Perrin, author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, (p. 24)

2 Access to Information request provided to IJM Canada and filed by D. Bramham.

3 Robert Cribb and Jennifer Quinn at the Toronto Star have stated that, since 1998, "more than 200 Canadians have been convicted abroad of sexual crimes against children.” http://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/childsextourism/2013/03/18/canadas_government_vows_clampdown_on_childsex_tourism.html)

What does Canadian law say about child sex tourism?*

In Canada, it is illegal for anyone to engage in any prohibited sexual activity with children below the age of consent. These prohibitions encompass all sexual activity ranging from sexual touching to sexual intercourse. It also prohibits:

  • Possessing, making, distributing, making available, accessing, transmitting, selling, importing and exporting child pornography;
  • Obtaining for consideration the sexual services of a young person or communicating with anyone for the purpose of obtaining those services for consideration (i.e., the prostitution of a young person);
  • Incest;
  • Engaging in bestiality in the presence of or by a child; and
  • Exposure of genitalia for a sexual purpose to a child.

The legal age of consent is 18 years for sexual activity involving prostitution or pornography or where it involves a relationship of trust, authority or dependency, or one that is otherwise exploitative of the young person. The legal age of consent for all other sexual activity is 16 years.

Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who engage in any of these prohibited sexual activities with a child in a foreign country can also be charged and prosecuted in Canada for these child sex tourism offences where they have not been convicted of these offences in the foreign country.

Canada’s Criminal Code specifically prohibits child sex tourism since May 26, 1997. Many other countries have passed similar child sex tourism laws.

More information on these and other related provisions of the Criminal Code can be obtained from the Department of Justice.

*Replicated from Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada. Source: http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/publications/child-crime#what_to_do

Can Canada hold Canadians responsible for crimes they’ve committed overseas?

Yes. Canada has introduced extraterritorial legislation for certain crimes, allowing Canada to hold its citizens accountable for crimes committed overseas.

Extraterritorial legislation exists for prohibited sexual activity with children (found in Section 7(4.1) of the Criminal Code). There are also extraterritorial provisions for human trafficking (Section 7 (4.11), Criminal Code).

How many Canadians have been convicted under Canada’s sex tourism legislation to date?

Most recent statistics indicate that, since 1998, "more than 200 Canadians have been convicted abroad of sexual crimes against children.”1 A conviction means they have been found guilty in a court of law, and does not include individuals who have been arrested or charged for allegedly committing these crimes.

Other estimates, calculated between 1993-2008, found that more than 150 men, or approximately 10 men per year, requested consular assistance after being charged or arrested for crimes relating to child sex tourism, such as child abuse, child molestation, or possession of child pornography.2 In 2009, 23 Canadians requested consular help; in 2010, 28 requested assistance; and in 2011, 22 asked for consular help.3

Not included in this figure is the number of individuals charged in countries where no Canadian consulate exists or who did not request consular assistance.

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1. Robert Cribb and Jennifer Quinn at the Toronto Star have stated that, since 1998, "more than 200 Canadians have been convicted abroad of sexual crimes against children.” http://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/childsextourism/2013/03/18/canadas_government_vows_clampdown_on_childsex_tourism.html)

2. Benjamin Perrin, author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, (p. 24)

3. (Access to Information request provided to IJM Canada and filed by D. Bramham).

How many Canadians have been convicted, charged with, or arrested for child sex offenses abroad?

Most recent statistics indicate that, since 1998, "more than 200 Canadians have been convicted abroad of sexual crimes against children.”1 A conviction means they have been found guilty in a court of law, and does not include individuals who have been arrested or charged for allegedly committing these crimes.

Other estimates, calculated between 1993-2008, found that more than 150 men, or approximately 10 men per year, requested consular assistance after being charged or arrested for crimes relating to child sex tourism, such as child abuse, child molestation, or possession of child pornography.2 In 2009, 23 Canadians requested consular help; in 2010, 28 requested assistance; and in 2011, 22 asked for consular help.3

Not included in this figure is the number of individuals charged in countries where no Canadian consulate exists or who did not request consular assistance.

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1. Robert Cribb and Jennifer Quinn at the Toronto Star have stated that, since 1998, "more than 200 Canadians have been convicted abroad of sexual crimes against children.” http://www.thestar.com/news/investigations/childsextourism/2013/03/18/canadas_government_vows_clampdown_on_childsex_tourism.html)

2. Benjamin Perrin, author of Invisible Chains: Canada’s Underground World of Human Trafficking, (p. 24)

3. (Access to Information request provided to IJM Canada and filed by D. Bramham).

Where do child sex tourists travel?

Child sex tourists travel to many popular tourist destinations, including Argentina, Mexico, the Philippines, Cuba, Haiti, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica. A large number of child sex tourists also travel to the United States.

Why aren't you focused on strengthening initiatives to prevent sex offenders from leaving Canada in the first place?

IJM Canada supports initiatives that prevent sex offenders from travelling overseas to abuse children. However, we are also aware that not all individuals who travel overseas to abuse children are listed as sexual offenders in Canada. As a result, these individuals can easily travel overseas to abuse children.

Moreover, not all child sex tourists plan to abuse children before they leave Canada. Some only decide to commit the crime upon arrival, because the opportunity presents itself and they believe it is unlikely they will be held accountable. It is very difficult to apprehend these situational offenders through border services initiatives that work to identify child sex tourists exiting Canada.

What can Canadians do?

The first step is to become aware of the problem of child sex tourism and identify the warning signs when you suspect a child is being sexually abused by a Canadian.

As a Canadian traveller abroad you may suspect, observe or come in contact with other Canadians who are engaging in child sex tourism. We encourage you not to ignore what you see, but to report the crime. Download a Travel Brave kit, which includes an easy to carry wallet card with reporting instructions.

What if I don’t know if the suspected child sex tourist is Canadian?

You should still report the suspicious behaviour, even if you are not sure of the individual’s nationality. Individuals of other nationalities also travel overseas to abuse children, and they should be held accountable.

When should I report what I've seen?

It is best to report your concerns as soon as possible. However, regardless of the timeframe, it is better to report older information than not reporting at all.

Who should I contact if I think I have witnessed child sex tourism?

You can report your concerns to local police. You can also visit Cybertip.ca to report your concerns of child sex tourism by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada abroad.

You may also visit a consular representative at the nearest Canadian embassy or consulate. They can provide you with information and assistance.

What happens to my tip?

Cybertip.ca forwards any potentially illegal information to law enforcement in the appropriate jurisdiction. A Canadian embassy or consulate will act on your concern as appropriate, and will also liaise with the appropriate authorities.

Can my tip be anonymous?

You can submit your report to Cybertip.ca anonymously. However, we encourage you to provide your contact information in the event follow-up is required by the appropriate authorities.

What if I am wrong?

Reporting your concerns does not mean the person in question is guilty. As with any other tip, the proper authorities examine the concerns and law enforcement determines if they will pursue an investigation. Reporting is important and a single observation by a civilian can make a significant difference and help law enforcement catch more child sex tourists.

Travelling Soon

You may be heading abroad for vacation. But some Canadians travel overseas to abuse children, assuming the law will not follow them. They are wrong. It is a crime called child sex tourism.

Is it happening at your vacation destination? It happens in more places than you might expect.

Follow the link below to learn more about what happens at your vacation destination.

EXPLORE COUNTRIES>

Canadian law states, "Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who engage in prohibited sexual activities with children in a foreign country can be charged and prosecuted in Canada for these crimes.”

Want to be prepared? Download your ‘Travel Brave’ kit for a handy wallet card, warning signs, and information to report an incidence of suspected child sex tourism.

Download Your Travel Brave Kit

Thank you for signing up to receive the Travel Brave Kit. Please use the link below to download the kit. You will receive an autoresponder email that contains a link to the kit.

Download Travel Brave Kit

"We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."

Nelson Mandela

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519.679.5030 x.229

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