The concept of sex tourism is a relatively recent one. It can refer to a person’s travel to another country where it’s legal to have sex with sex workers. If a U.S. citizen or permanent resident visits one of these countries with the primary intention of engaging in sexual acts with another person, then they risk not only prosecution in the foreign country but also when they return home to the U.S.
There are many reasons why the U.S. and other countries are keen on prosecuting individuals who travel to other countries for sex. Law enforcement agencies are well aware of how big a business human trafficking has become in recent years. They know that traffickers will continue to enslave individuals, including kids, to have a ready supply of people to meet travelers’ demands unless they impose laws criminalizing sex tourism and related crimes.
A common misconception that travelers have when they visit other countries is that everything goes when they have legalized prostitution. That’s not the case, though. Offenses such as child pornography, human trafficking and sex with a minor are likely still illegal in these countries. All of these offenses are also crimes here in the U.S.
While each country has its own definition as to who they consider to be a minor, U.S. federal law classifies anyone under 18 as a child. What this means to you is that if you travel abroad and engage in pornographic or sexual activities with anyone younger than 18, then you could face prosecution for sex crimes when you return to the U.S.
Lawmakers in the U.S. enacted such sex tourism laws after learning from psychologists how detrimental it can be to a victim’s mental and physical health for someone to abuse or traffic them at any age.
Individuals charged with sex crimes face significant penalties if prosecutors can successfully prove that they engaged in illicit sexual activities abroad. The best chances you have for avoiding significant fines or prison time in your Tampa case is to align yourself with a sex offenses defense attorney. You’ll want the lawyer that you retain to focus on protecting your rights while offering respectful representation in your Florida legal matter.