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New world order

Some people have problems with global travel,
trade, information.

Feminists Fume at Alleged
        Sex Tour Operator 
        Call for Criminal Prosecution 

        Jan. 5, 2000 

                         NEW YORK (AP) -- Some prominent
                         feminists are urging law enforcement
                         officials to crack down on a Queens
                         travel agency they say runs sex tours to
                         Thailand and the Philippines. 

                         The group, including Gloria Steinem
                         and Rep. Carolyn Maloney, urged
                         Queens District Attorney Richard
                         Brown to prosecute Big Apple Oriental
                         Tours for promoting prostitution. 

                         Maloney said she also wrote to
                         Attorney General Janet Reno on
                         Tuesday calling for action against the
        travel agency. A federal statute passed in 1994 makes travel
        with the intent to have sex with minors subject to up to 10 years'

        Maloney: "Sleazy" 

        "They should have had their sleazy doors closed long ago,"
        Maloney told reporters. 

        "Big Apple Oriental Tours' promotional materials make it clear
        that money is being exchanged for the company of women and
        strongly suggest that sex is part of the transaction," she wrote
        in a letter to Brown. 

        "We are simply asking that a law be enforced," said Steinem.
        "By some estimates, the sex travel industry is bigger than the
        drug industry ... and the girls involved are getting younger and
        younger and younger." 

        Brown responded in a statement that his "office has expended
        significant time and resources investigating Big Apple Oriental
        Tours ... [with] the assistance of the NYPD, the FBI and U.S.
        Customs Service, among others." 

        "No legal basis to prosecute" 

        He said he concluded that there is no
        legal basis to prosecute in Queens
        because the alleged prostitution
        occurs outside the jurisdiction. 

        "The acts alleged to have occurred
        here in New York have been carefully
        circumscribed by Big Apple Oriental
        Tours and its principals to avoid a
        successful prosecution under existing
        New York law," Brown said. 

        Although sex tours are illegal in the
        United States, Thailand and the
        Philippines, Equality Now, a New York-based women's rights
        organization, said no U.S. sex tour operator had ever been
        convicted under either state or federal law. 

        No comment from travel agency 

        Calls Tuesday to the tour agency in the Bellerose section were
        not immediately returned. 

        The agency's promotional video shows New Yorker Norman
        Barabash checking out scantily dressed women gyrating in
        dimly lighted bars in the Philippines. At the end, it zooms in on
        naked female "wet T-shirt contestants" being pinched and
        groped by a crowd of American "judges." 

        Barabash, who runs Big Apple Oriental Tours, previously told
        The Associated Press he opposed the term "sex tour." "It's only
        the media that tend to reduce any kind of romantic adventure to
        the mere joining of the genitals," he said. 

        Tour operators deny they provide access to underage girls.
        They place disclaimers in their ads to that effect. But Barabash
        previously admitted to the AP: "There's no way of knowing for

        "Short of giving women lie detector tests, who can tell?" said
        Barabash. A Filipina woman in Barabash's video identified
        herself as "17 years young."