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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 February, 2005, 01:23 GMT
UK police help counter sex trade
Thailand beach
Thailand is among the countries popular with 'sex tourists'
UK police are in Thailand to help train their south-east Asian counterparts in methods of combating sex offending.

Children from the region are frequent victims of the sex trade, either being forced to work in brothels or used for pornographic images on the internet.

More than 50 police officers from 11 countries are in Bangkok to learn from UK investigations into sex offences.

National Criminal Intelligence Service officers will teach evidence-gathering and interviewing techniques.

Police will be helped in investigating the activities of paedophiles and so-called sex tourists who travel to the region.

The FBI and the Australian Federal Police are also helping with the training of officers from countries including Thailand, China, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Travel bans

As part of the effort to prevent sex tourism, the UK government has already enabled domestic courts to impose travel bans on people convicted of sexual offences.

Legal powers were introduced in 2003, and courts are now able to prevent paedophiles from visiting specified countries, such as Thailand, where they could be a risk to children.

A conference which examined the commercial sexual exploitation of children was held in Bangkok in November last year.

Representatives of 20 governments looked at preventing new forms of abuse such as the exploitation of children on the internet.

In 2003, a United Nations official described the sex trafficking of women and children across Asia as "the largest slave trade in history".

Unicef's Kul Gautum told an International Symposium on Trafficking of Children in Tokyo that in Asia and the Pacific alone, more than 30 million children had been traded over the last three decades.

A combination of poverty, globalisation, organised crime and discrimination against women encouraged the trade.

He said the victims were usually teenage girls who ended up working in sweat shops or brothels.

Find out how British police can help

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Thailand's cycle of trafficking
13 Apr 04 |  Asia-Pacific

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