Years after becoming a popular destination for sex tourism, Colombia’s second largest city Medellin began cracking down on the phenomenon and arrested a foreign sex tourism provider.
According to local newspaper Vivir en Poblado, sex tourism provider Jay Harry Drivas, a.k.a. “Colombia Jake” and an alleged client were arrested Thursday last week while in the presence of a 13-year-old girl.
The girl was surrendered to child welfare authorities.
The arrest took place only a few blocks from Parque Lleras in one of the apartments rented by the sex tourism provider.
The arrest of Colombia Jake is only the first arrest of a foreigner on sexual exploitation charges and was reportedly coordinated with the US embassy.
While prostitution is legal in Colombia, pimping is not. Colombia Jake for years advertised women on the internet without any action from the authorities.
But following the recent assassination of two foreigners, one of whom an alleged pimp, Mayor Federico Gutierrez vowed to take action.
“Medellin can’t be a place for sex or drug tourism,” he told The Associated Press.
National media had already begun criticizing Medellin for its lax attitude towards its “toxic tourism” as the city increasingly turned into a popular destination for foreigners seeking sex, drugs or both.
Especially the area around Parque Lleras, the city’s most popular tourism hotspot, over the years became a meeting point for sex tourists, pimps and prostitutes.
The situation got so out of hand that a Colombian crime analysis organization dubbed the square one of the city’s primary drug dealing spots.
Authorities intervened in June, trying to remove drug dealers and prostitutes from the square.
However, according to locals this only displaced the phenomenon to the Provenza neighborhood two blocks from Parque Lleras.
With the arrest of the foreign sex tourism provider, Medellin’s authorities opened a new chapter in combating the exploitation of local women and girls.