As the country intensifies its efforts to boost the nation’s tourism industry, the Palace has called the foreign tourists to come to the Philippines “for the right reasons.”
This was in relation to US Ambassador Harry Thomas’ remark that four out of 10 male foreign vacationers visit the Philippines for sex.
According to Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail Valte, the Philippines is a beautiful country endowed with rich culture. Although it is enterprising to know the growing numbers of tourists visiting the country, tourists should have a positive perception of coming to the country and not for sexual pleasure.
She has noted the government is aware of the rampant illegal practice of human trafficking of women and children in the Philippines and Malacañang is doubling its efforts to track down all sex offenders.
Valte boasted of the Palace’s recent achievement of being in Tier Two US watch list amid the current administration’s significant efforts to reduce human trafficking. The spokesman said the Department of Tourism has started implementing measures to address the situation.
Earlier, Thomas said although the Philippines has shown improvement in combating human trafficking, the issue lingers with an estimated 40% of foreign male tourists come to the country for sex.
The ambassador reported the Philippine government has 25 human trafficking convictions but this number remains low with the prevalence of several syndicates trafficking individuals.
He said the country’s sexual tourism involving 40% of male tourists from other countries is unacceptable.
He stressed that in the event that an American will be arrested for a related sexual assault in the Philippines, the US Embassy in Manila will assist in the prosecution of the violators. He claimed all sex offenders regardless of their nationality should be prosecuted.