[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
New world order
Some people have problems with global travel,
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'
"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."