Medellin‘s Director of Tourism Development said child prostitution in the city is exacerbated by the higher number of tourists visiting during the festival season.
Director of Tourism Development for the capital of Antioquia department Victoria Eugenia Ramirez told Colombia Reports that the “silent and hidden” problem of sexual exploitation of minors has existed in the city for many years.
The higher number of national and international visitors attracted to the city by the events Colombiamoda, La Feria de las Flores and the FIFA U-20 World Cup causes the phenomenon of “predatory tourism.”
Ramirez said that children aged nine and over are engaged in the practice which involves boys as well as girls and added that “there are no regulations at a national level to prevent it.”
According to Caracol Radio, Ramirez said that hotels, hostels, restaurants, travel agencies, and web sites are being investigated for selling the services of children. Furthermore, locations where child prostitution takes place have been identified.
The Council of Tourist Security is making efforts to control and confront the problem through tactics such as the ultilization of plain-clothed police officers.
The city official ended by saying the sexual exploitation of minors is a crime that carries a prison sentence and the seizure of property or assets. Sexual exploitation not only implicates the person who exploits the child but anyone who promotes or participates in the act in any way.