There’s a shift in th­ese cen­tres from the Philip­pines to Thai­land, says UN

New Straits Times - - World - BANGKOK

DE­MAND for sex with chil­dren is an emerg­ing cause of hu­man traf­fick­ing in the Mekong re­gion, the United Na­tions said yes­ter­day, as it pointed to a shift in child sex we­b­cam cen­tres from the Philip­pines to Thai­land.

The prob­lem had grown so much that de­mand for child we­b­cam sex tourism is “out­strip­ping the sup­ply”, Deanna Davy, se­nior re­search con­sul­tant at the United Na­tions Of­fice on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said at the launch of a new traf­fick­ing re­port here.

Thai­land is a re­gional hub for the smug­gling and traf­fick­ing of peo­ple from coun­tries such as Cam­bo­dia and Myan­mar.

Many are forced to work in Thai­land’s sex in­dus­try and in labour in­ten­sive sec­tors, such as fish­ing, con­struc­tion and agri­cul­ture, where they are some­times sub­ject to abuse, ac­cord­ing to in­ves­ti­ga­tions by rights groups.

Four mil­lion mi­grants live in Thai­land, ac­cord­ing to 2015 gov­ern­ment data.

UNODC es­ti­mates that be­tween four and 23 per cent are traf­fick­ing vic­tims.

Jeremy Dou­glas, re­gional rep­re­sen­ta­tive of UNODC, said re­cent in­tel­li­gence showed a shift in child sex abuse we­b­cam cen­tres to Thai­land from the Philip­pines, where author­i­ties have tried to crack down on the il­le­gal trade.

“It used to be the Philip­pines, but we’ve found that it’s mov­ing here.”

A spokesman for the Thai gov­ern­ment was not able to com­ment im­me­di­ately on the UNODC find­ings.

A re­port last year by the UN chil­dren’s agency said poor fam­i­lies in the Philip­pines were push­ing their chil­dren into per­form­ing live sex on­line for pae­dophiles around the globe, call­ing it a form of “child slav­ery”.

UNODC pointed yes­ter­day to child sex abuse, along with traf­ficked mi­grant labour for il­le­gal log­ging pur­poses, as emerg­ing traf­fick­ing is­sues of con­cern in the re­gion. Reuters

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