"I heard them talk about having sex with young girls,"
March 5, 2002 10:02 AM   Subscribe

"I heard them talk about having sex with young girls," he says. "Some of them talked about how [the children] were hairless [in their pubic area]. It was disgusting. My impression is that the behavior was pretty well-known. It was kind of a joke."
posted by tankboy (19 comments total)

just one point to consider, some asians do not have pubic hair. so age can be difficult to assertain via a quick physical examination.
anyhoo, the child sex trade in the phillippines is world famous, and one reason why my sister found being there uncomfortable. that and the alcohol poisoning. thinks - perhaps they were related
it would be nice to imagine that this particular example of the free market economy would be combatted.
posted by asok at 10:18 AM on March 5, 2002

Interesting how most of us get the feeling that this is wrong.
posted by aaronshaf at 10:47 AM on March 5, 2002

We tend to base ethics on the code we were raised with. And, to some extent, we need to have some common code among people living in a given community in order to ensure the relatively smooth functioning of that community. As such, I can see the point behind the outrage. In addition, frequent travellers like these pilots have a duty to be ambassadors of relatively good taste, I think.

Of course, all the above is entirely my opinion.
posted by Samizdata at 10:51 AM on March 5, 2002

tankboy: how about a little description in the FPP next time?
posted by ColdChef at 11:09 AM on March 5, 2002

i feel so safe with these people watching the giant winged metal bombs that fly over my head every day. we've got damn freaks watching our backs.
posted by will at 11:19 AM on March 5, 2002

being half filipino and having travelled through southeast asia i can pretty much say that this kind of 'thing' is not exclusive to Air Marshalls and I find it hard to believe that

Senior DOT officials were angry to hear such allegations. "This sounds like total BS to me," said one who told Insight it seemed odd that this was the first time they had heard of any such behavior. "If it's been reported it has not filtered up the various chains of command," a DOT official said, "certainly not to top brass in Washington."

in Thailand, Bankok and Pattaya, i have seen US military men and women engaging in similar activity. The acts described in this article are not being committed by random 'rogue' FAA people but is in fact quite widespread, with participation from Officials, Officers and enlisted (wo)men throughout all branches. I wonder if this kind of investigation will have any kind of snowball effect, where other whistle blowers from different govt. agencies will come forward to tell their stories thereby causing a blanket kind of investigation of all federal groups that travel over seas to areas where prostitution (child and adult) is prevalent.

I also have to wonder if the 'when in rome' argument will be used. just because something is illegal, unethical or immoral in the US that doesn't mean that it is so everywhere else and if you are in a country where prositution is legal should you be held accountable for your actions if you participate in such free market trade? I'm definitely going to follow this story closely...it'll be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of it.

thanks for the link, tankboy!

oh, btw, LBFM refers to any asian prostitute not just the children.
posted by s.carrier at 11:23 AM on March 5, 2002

I'm a bit reluctant to have too much of an opinion about something based on allegations from anonymous sources (especially anonymous sources who can't come up with a better name for themselves than Anonymous Whistle-Blower), not least because it crosses my mind that it's remotely possible that "It was kind of a joke" because it was precisely that; a joke, and AW-B has taken the joke out of context. In the same way that we make tasteless jokes about Michael Jackson's "well-known" pedophilia, I've heard many people make jokes of this nature to friends who've traveled to places like Bangkok.

An interesting aspect mentioned in this story (and by s.carrier on preview) is that having sex with children is not illegal in the places in which the air marshals are alleged to have done so. If they're not working, surely what they do on their own time, however immoral, isn't anyone's business as long as it's not illegal and as long as it doesn't affect their work, no? Or is it?

And, moral issues aside, I'm really not clear on what the security problem is here.
posted by biscotti at 11:26 AM on March 5, 2002

I think the security issue is that child sex peddlers will blackmail pilots into - I dunno, doing something bad. Sounds vague to me as well. I don't think that any human being should have sex with children, regardless of the laws of that country. Taboos exist for a reason. If there were a law stating that you would be held accountable if you did have sex with children in other countries - would anyone object to that?
posted by xammerboy at 11:50 AM on March 5, 2002

That would make sense, since child porn laws apply to foreign porn as well, in which the exploitation may have been legal in the country in which it was performed.
posted by Ptrin at 11:56 AM on March 5, 2002

xammerboy: I think implementing such a law could be pretty tricky; who's going to do the investigating and arresting?

Ptrin: I believe that child porn laws only apply if the porn is brought into a country in which having it is illegal (or accessing it on the Internet in a country where it's illegal, I guess). I don't think you could be prosecuted for looking at it or buying it in a country where it's legal, regardless of your citizenship, as long as you don't bring it home.
posted by biscotti at 12:38 PM on March 5, 2002

Actually, prostitution (including child prostituion) is apparently quite common in South East Asia. Thailand has a reputation about it. There are a lot of Western tourists who go to Thailand with specifically the intent to indulge (not necssarily with underage kids). They take 'wives' for the duration of their stay. The gifts that the temp 'wives' get basically run the families of these women. I dont think its legal. But the practice can not be so rampant unless the governments are turning a blind eye to it. There was a good story about it in 'Granta' some months back.

I have nothing against air marshals visiting prostitutes in there leisure hours. I dont think it has anything to do with their ability to their job well. But I strongly believe that children need to be protected. That they dont have the maturity to be a consenting adult in such transactions. There really needs to be international regulations and bodies that protect the rights of children. I wonder if there are any voluntary organizations that are doing any work in this area?
posted by justlooking at 12:44 PM on March 5, 2002

Taboos exist for a reason. If there were a law stating that you would be held accountable if you did have sex with children in other countries - would anyone object to that?

no, xammerboy, i wouldn't object to that law, but i am not sure that it would be effective seeing as how there are laws in the US, Canada and Sweden that prohibit sex with minors and yet it is still a problem (from asok's first link). unfortunately, a mere law won't stop people from doing it.

and biscotti, you are a quicker one than i....this was exactly the point that i wanted to make regarding ptrin's post. having sex with a child prostitute outside of the US is different than having a child porn vid in your basement in california.

kaushik, you are so correct. many of the prostitutes in thailand support their entire families with the money that they make. as far as i know, prostitution is not exactly legal in thailand but the authorities turn a blind eye to it since it is the biggest money maker in the country. most of the working girls are registered with some form of agency as they all have ID cards that they present at hotel front desks when they are 'bar fined' and brought back to a hotel for a stay. it's a security measure, i suppose. i got carded once at a hotel (thought that was funnier than the time an army officer asked my husband what bar he got me at so that he could bar fine me the next time he came back to town) in pattaya but once they heard my american accent they apologized all over the place.

the most frustrating thing about all of this is the question, how can the US protect children from prostitution in other countries when we can't even protect the children within our own borders?
posted by s.carrier at 1:12 PM on March 5, 2002

Sex tourists (by this I mean adults looking for children) have been prosecuted in the UK upon their return to the country for what they've done outside the shores (I think Thailand). With, assuming I've remembered the right country, the assistance of the Thai police.

I did a quick search for a link to their trials - nothing came up immediately, but i'd guess there'd be one. Perhaps on the BBC web site somewhere.
posted by selton at 2:50 PM on March 5, 2002

If there were a law stating that you would be held accountable if you did have sex with children in other countries - would anyone object to that?
I would have a problem with it as it is a terrible increase in governmental power. I am not in favor of having sex with children, and I think so few people are that is is crazy to open the door to such regulation. Would this be any different than being arrested upon return for smoking pot in Amsterdam? (Not that I want to do that either)
posted by thirteen at 3:31 PM on March 5, 2002

I thought it was interesting that one of the articles which asok pointed out above included some quotes against child pornography and prostitution by the Justice Minister from Japan. I find that interesting considering the legal of consent is 13 in Japan!
posted by RevGreg at 4:26 PM on March 5, 2002

having sex with a child prostitute outside of the US is different than having a child porn vid in your basement in california.

Different how, exactly? Different like shooting someone in the head yourself and hiring a hitman to kill someone are different?
posted by Dreama at 4:26 PM on March 5, 2002

RevGreg: It's not as simple as that: The legislation also makes it illegal to have sex with a minor 17 or younger. Violators will face a prison term of up to three years and fines of up to $8,100. Until now, the law only banned sex for money with those 13 or younger, and offenders could be
charged with rape only if the victim filed a criminal complaint.

posted by dash_slot- at 4:59 PM on March 5, 2002

Dreama: I believe s.carrier's point was about the legalities involved, not whether or not the acts are abhorrent.
posted by biscotti at 6:38 PM on March 5, 2002

Dreama: I believe s.carrier's point was about the legalities involved, not whether or not the acts are abhorrent.

exactly, biscotti. dreama, perhaps i was not eloquent enough to express my thoughts on the matter at hand. maybe i should have jumped at the first inflammatory thing i read and posted a completely unrelated response. i am going to have to reread the linked article but i am fairly certain that murder was never brought up...

let me rephrase things in the hopes of clarifying my position. i think that the legalities of prosecuting a person for sex with a child prostitute in a country outside of the the US are incomparable to prosecution of a person possessing child pornography (foreign or domestic) within the US.

i hope that clears things up alittle...
posted by s.carrier at 7:40 AM on March 6, 2002

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