Child sex tourism involves men and women traveling from one place to another, who sexually exploit children for their own gratification. Generally people from richer country engage in sexual acts with children (less than 18 years of age).
People take unfair advantage of the fact that law enforcement may not be as strong in many places, as it is in their own country. It is not necessary that all the sexual abusers of children are pedophiles. Contrary to popular belief, majority of them are not pedophiles, but they take advantage of the opportunity when the children are made available for exploitation.
In most of the cases, the people from rich countries, or rich regions of the same country, travel to destinations that have poorer economic conditions, and exploit the poverty and social misery of children there. Travelers often rationalize their illegal action by assuming that having sex with children is socially acceptable in the place they are visiting. Very often they can bribe the law enforcement agency of these places, and get away with such crimes.
Pedophiles use internet to arrange for child sex. Child sex industry is well organized and offers great monetary incentives to child traffickers. Children are easy targets for exploitation by traffickers. In less developed countries, poor children often turn to prostitution. They are used for child pornography and are abused by these traffickers. They are often lured or forced into sexual slavery.
It should be noted that only people who are on holidays are not the only ones who sexually exploit children. Many people on business trip, military personals, and workers from transport industry are known to be sex exploiters. In the same way not only the people from other countries, but people from the same country are sex exploiters. People from some other place take advantage of their anonymity, and good financial conditions and indulge in sexual exploitation of children.
Child sex has adverse effect on both mental and physical condition of the exploited child. They may suffer from pregnancy, disease (such as HIV/AIDS), mental trauma, and drug addiction. Most countries have laws that punish child sex offenders. The US has strict laws that punish American citizens or permanent residents of the US, if they sexually exploit children, when they travel abroad.
Human rights organization such as ECPAT has created the global code for Sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism. Many travel companies from various countries have signed the code. Prosecution of child sex abusers has increased over the last few years. Many countries have laws to punish such offences committed by their citizens on some other country.