Four Charged Over Signatures on Forms To Import ClothingAuthorities on Tuesday vowed to crack down on sex tourism, saying Cambodia’s temples and unique culture should be enough to bring in badly needed tourist dollars.
“We have to fight against sex tourism,” Tourism Minister Veng Sereyvuth said at a tourism conference at Phnom Penh’s Sunway Hotel. “Cambodia should prevent this trend,” he said. “The country has more than 1,000 temples and more to be discovered….We don’t need the sex industry to attract tourists.”
The ministry will soon order hotels, guest houses and nightclubs to hang up signs warning visitors against illegal sex with children and discouraging prostitution, Veng Sereyvuth said.
The minister also vowed to revoke the licenses of tour operators and hoteliers who promote sex tourism, and he promised to punish tourism officials who fail to enforce the law.
Children’s rights advocates complain that foreign sex offenders are seldom prosecuted and almost never do time in jail for their crimes.
Last month, Minister for Women’s and Veteran’s Affairs Mu Sochua proposed that the government blacklist foreigners suspected of sex crimes, denying them Cambodian visas. However some human rights advocates have balked at the idea of blacklisting people who have not been convicted of a crime.
Visitor arrivals have increased steadily in the last several years. Tourist arrivals by plane rose 27 percent to 28,973 in the first seven months of 2000 compared to the same period in 1999.
Thailand, by contrast, attracted 10 million tourists during the first seven months of 2000.
Veng Sereyvuth said he hopes to attract between 5 percent and 10 percent of those tourists to Cambodia with the help of new direct flights between major Thai attractions and Angkor Wat.