PUDUCHERRY:Taking serious note of the ‘Child Sex Tourism’ reported in The New Indian Express (TNIE), a couple of days back, Welfare and Tourism Minister P Rajavelu directed the department of social welfare to inquire into the charges. A note in this regard has been sent to the Director of Social welfare, the office of the minister said.
Taking note of the report, the Inspector General of Police Praveer Ranjan too directed his officials to inquire into the matter and take action against those indulging in such practices. He instructed his officials to enhance vigilance as a preventive step.
Pointing to a study done by Siva Mathiyazhagan, a PhD scholar from the Sociology Department of Pondicherry University, TNIE published that ‘Child Sex Tourism’ is flourishing in Puducherry and its surrounding areas bordering Tamil Nadu.
Patronised mostly by foreign tourists and residents, this is concentrated in the White Town area (Boulevard), around Auroville and the Tamil Nadu stretch between Puducherry on the East Coast Road, the study points out.
The tourism department’s initiatives has led to accessible and affordable tourism, but caused an increase in ‘sex tourism’ which often involves victimisation of children from poor families, reveals the study. Foreign tourists have been found to be engaging in sex with children. Among them are those residing in Puducherry for good and visiting their country of origin only for the purpose of getting their visa formalities processed, and those involved in occupations like running a restaurant or a travel agency. Regular tourists, who visit Puducherry in the months corresponding with winter in their country are also found to be involved in child sex tourism, the study says.
In some cases, the child stays with the pedophile in his room, with the knowledge of the proprietor of the hotel or guesthouse. ‘Preferential pedophiles’, who travel to Puducherry often approach child vendors directly or through agents.