Travelling child sex offenders
There is no single characteristic that describes a person who travels abroad to sexually abuse a child. They can be of any age, nationality, religion or social class. They can be heterosexual or homosexual, married or single. Although the majority are men, there are also female offenders.
Not only tourists
Not only tourists travel abroad and engage in sexual activities with children. Business travellers, expats, aid workers, volunteers, emigrants, soldiers, diplomats and truck drivers could be possible offenders. Examples could be:
- A tourist or (business) traveller who travels to another country with the purpose/intention to abuse a child. Or a traveller who decides to abuse a child when the opportunity presents itself.
- An emigrant who mixes with the locals and hands out money or gifts. The abuse is often not noticed or reported due to the relationship of trust and dependency.
- A so-called benefactor who uses development work in order to abuse children. For example by setting up or working in a school or orphanage.
- A person who stays in his/her own country and uses a webcam to engage in sexual child abuse, which takes place in another country (livestream child abuse). Terre des Hommes did research on webcam child sex tourism.
Most travelling child sex offenders are situational offenders. They commit sexual acts with a minor if the opportunity presents itself. These offenders do not have a sexual preference for children and therefore usually abuse minors who have already reached puberty.
There are also preferential offenders. They deliberately and actively seek sex with children. But they can have sexual interest in adults at the same time. A preferential travelling child sex offender is a paedosexual when he or she has a sexual preference for children who have not reached puberty. Paedosexuals form the smallest group of offenders.