Criminalization of sex-related jobs increases workers’ vulnerability to HIV by escalating stigma and discernment.Not only does the judgment sex workers feel within the healthcare community keep them from seeking timely treatment, it also adversely affects self-esteem and informed health choices.Oppositions to sex tourism also stem from concerns around the trafficking of women.
One of the primary sources of opposition to sex tourism is with regard to child sex tourism, internationally defined as travel to have sex with a person under 18 years of age.
This occurs when tourists from countries such as the United States take advantage of legal prostitution, lower consent ages, and the lack of extradition laws in order to engage in sex with minors in foreign countries.
Prostitutes have had to register as independent workers with the Chamber of Commerce and pay income tax to legally perform their work since 2000.
By decriminalizing prostitution, a government can protect sex workers under labor laws accessible by workers in other fields.
The World Tourism Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, defines sex tourism as "trips organized from within the tourism sector, or from outside this sector but using its structures and networks, with the primary purpose of effecting a commercial sexual relationship by the tourist with residents at the destination".
Reasons for engaging in such activities can include lower costs for sexual services in the destination country, more favorable local attitudes towards prostitution, separation from a person's normal social circle and physical environment, legality of prostitution or indifference of law enforcement, and access to child prostitution.
Asian countries, especially Thailand, the Philippines, Cambodia, and Nepal are common destinations for sex tourists, as well as countries in Central and South America.
A study conducted by Pro Con (a nonprofit, nonpartisan public charity which provides different opinions on controversial issues) estimated the percentage of men who had paid for sex at least once in their lives, and found the highest rates in Cambodia (between 59 and 80% of men had paid for sex at least once) and Thailand (an estimated 75%), followed by Italy (16.7–45%), Spain (27–39%), Japan (37%), the Netherlands (13.5–21.6%), and the United States (15.0–20.0%).
Lawmakers as well as law enforcement often do not place priority on policing prostitution and sex trafficking.
University of Leicester sociologists studied this subject as part of a research project for the Economic and Social Research Council and End Child Prostitution and Trafficking campaign.
Studies indicate that the percentage of men engaging in commercial sex in the United States has declined significantly in recent decades: in 1964, an estimated 69–80% of men had paid for sex at least once.