We can define sex tourism as planned travel specifically for the purpose of commercial sexual relationship with the native of that place. Though, many people argue that this is not the only form of sex tourism. Sometimes people travel to another country for business, sports, or cultural activity, and taking advantage of the circumstances may indulge in sex or sometimes romance at that place. After all man does not cease to be a sexual creature just because he is travelling to some other place. But more or less it is now a consensus that sex tourism involves trips organized for paid sexual activity at some other city or country.
Sex tourism has become a thriving industry. People take advantage of lax laws, and inability or indifference of authorities to enforce the laws against prostitution. There is a wide gap in income of people across the world. In many underdeveloped countries the economic condition of women is very bad, and they take up to or are forced to take to prostitution to earn money. People of effluent countries who are rich, or have disposable money due to favorable exchange rates are more than happy to take services of these prostitutes.
Sex tourism may involve indulging in consenting sexual acts by two adults. But in many cases these prostitutes may not be adults, and may have been forced by circumstances to enter into this profession. Tourists many a times unwittingly take the services of these minors.
Child sex is also prevalent at many places. Some tourists have preference for children, while others may not necessarily be pedophiles, but may not know the correct age of sex workers. Many children are exploited by sex traders, and are forced into sex trade, pornography, and sex slavery by unscrupulous elements. These children suffer immensely physically and emotionally. They are susceptible to many diseases like HIV/AIDS and pregnancy. Most of the countries have laws in place against child prostitution, but many are unsuccessful in stopping this practice.
Though a lot of emphasis and attention is given to heterosexual sex, gay tourism is also growing fast. Places like Cuba, Gambia, Costa Rica, and Holland are the hub of gay male sex tourism. A trend has also emerged where middle aged women from effluent west travel to African and Caribbean countries and have intimate sexual relations with black men.
It is not that prostitution is always forced. Many girls and boys indulge into it willingly to earn handsome money and many are not ashamed of it. It is the profession they have chosen and have no qualms about it. Thus we can see that sex tourism is a fast growing industry, and is prevalent in various forms throughout the world.