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ASIA: Internet Ads Promote teenage Sex

Copyright 1996 InterPress Service, all rights reserved.
October 10, 1996
                      *** 10-Oct-96 ***
Headline: ASIA: Internet Ads Promote teenage Sex
Byline: Haider Rizvi
WASHINGTON, Oct 10 (IPS) - Those running the multi-billion-dollar
sex industry in the United States are now exploring new ways to
expand their markets abroad.
''Welcome to the exotic world of Asia,'' says an Internet Web
site provided by the U.S.-based Ultra Infoseek Company. Click on
the advisory page, and you will see dozens of pictures of nude
teenage Asian girls.
''Asian girls from Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines
want to know American/Western men,'' says an ad at another site,
http://www.meow-meow.com. And so on.
The trend to place advertisements like these on the Internet
that specifically target sex markets in poor Asian countries is
growing fast.
More than 100 Web sites are used exclusively to promote teenage
commercial sex in Asia. The Internet sex site owners charge from
100 to 150 dollars for membership and detailed information about
sex workers.
Turning lust into dollars,the sex industry earns about eight
billion dollars year  from pornography, telephone sex, and
Internet sex tours, says U.S. author James Ridgeway in his recent
work, 'Red Light: Inside the Sex Industry',
The trend disturbs human rights groups.
''We are extremely concerned about it. It must be stopped,''
says Sean Parlaman of the Coalition Against Prostitution and Child
Abuse in Thailand (CAPCAT), an umbrella organisation comprising
dozens of non-profit groups fighting against poverty and child
abuse in Thailand.
CAPCAT recently launched a worldwide campaign on the Internet
against the California-based company, Earthlink, which provided
its web site to the sex-promoting company PVS Publications.
PVS Publications promoted organised sex tours to Thailand on
the Internet, offering detailed information about teenage sex
workers to its prospective members. The company projected that
Western tourists could buy a virgin girl in Thailand for a few
hundred dollars.
''How would you like to marry a 14-year old virgin?'' asked PVS
Publications, as quoted in a recent New York Times article. ''Do
you know that you can buy a virgin girl for 200 dollars.''
Parlaman, who noticed the PVS commercial while working on an
Internet project with Oregon University, says this is ''the worst
kind of child abuse.''
Featuring ''A Gentleman's Guide to the Erotic World of South
East Asia,'' the PVS Web site included books, travel guides, and
videos on commercial sex in several Asian countries.
CAPCAT says it is relieved that hundreds of email subscribers
responded to its call, and that they succeeded in forcing the
company to remove its sex tour guide from the site.
But it regrets`that Earthlink company failed to take legal
action against those involved in the illegal promotion of
commercial sex.
''We want Earthlink to pursue the matter with the law-
enforcement agencies and to monitor their customers' web pages for
any other illegal sites in the future,'' CAPCAT said in a recent
''Earthlink seemed like a very respectable corporation, and we
knew that with a little pressure, they would care,'' said
Earthlink says it cannot monitor every site because of a lack
of resources. Ativists reject this argument.
''Earthlink has 300 employees,'' says a CAPCAT activist. ''So
I'm not really convinced that they don't have resources to monitor
the sites used for commercial sex. But we hope they will pay a
closer attention now.'' (end/ips/hr/yjc/96)