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  #1  
Old 01-31-2009, 12:33 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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What country has the youngest prostitutes

Age of consent has come up in a couple threads recently and has gotten me thinking. Many countries have lower ages of consent then the US a few as young as 12. Some counties has legalized prostitution. Hopefully if a country has both they have a legal age to prostitute different then the age of consent. I found no readily available chart on any site I'd consider going to.

In addition to that question is the US capable of taking legal action against someone who travels to a country for the purposes of having sex with a girl younger then 16?

Not restricting this to prostitution. Are child molesters of the US heading off to other countries where they can legally do what we find to be a crime here. Do country's with low ages of consent set different ages of consent for non-citizens?
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  #2  
Old 01-31-2009, 12:56 PM
astro astro is offline
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IIRC there have been several "sex tourist" prosecutions but the US usually tries to get the host country to prosecute. SE Asian countries seem to be a magnet for this sort of thing.

There was a very wealthy older American who died several years ago and he had fathered numerous babies with 11-13 year olds (he paid big money for virgins) in some SE Asian country. My google fu is failing me re his name. There we several pics of this villages where all these little girls had his babies they were carrying on thier hips. Weird and sad.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:04 PM
Darryl Lict Darryl Lict is offline
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
IIRC there have been several "sex tourist" prosecutions but the US usually tries to get the host country to prosecute. SE Asian countries seem to be a magnet for this sort of thing.

There was a very wealthy older American who died several years ago and he had fathered numerous babies with 11-13 year olds (he paid big money for virgins) in some SE Asian country. My google fu is failing me re his name. There we several pics of this villages where all these little girls had his babies they were carrying on thier hips. Weird and sad.
Larry Hilblom of DHL, perhaps?
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  #4  
Old 01-31-2009, 01:29 PM
astro astro is offline
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Originally Posted by Darryl Lict View Post
Larry Hilblom of DHL, perhaps?

That's it. An amazing story.
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Old 01-31-2009, 01:52 PM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
In addition to that question is the US capable of taking legal action against someone who travels to a country for the purposes of having sex with a girl younger then 16?
Yes.

Quote:
The United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism last year through passage of the Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act and the PROTECT Act. Together these laws enhance awareness through the development and distribution of CST information and increase penalties to up to 30 years for engaging in child sex tourism. In the first eight months of "Operation Predator" (a 2003 initiative to fight child exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism), U.S. law enforcement authorities arrested 25 Americans for child sex tourism offenses. Overall, the global community is awakening to the horrific issue of child sex tourism and is starting to take important initial steps.
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  #6  
Old 01-31-2009, 02:07 PM
Baron Greenback Baron Greenback is offline
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Gary Glitter recommends Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos.
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  #7  
Old 01-31-2009, 03:42 PM
HeyHomie HeyHomie is online now
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I think the OP is asking about the youngest legal prostitutes. Are there countries where prositution is perfectly legal (as opposed to the police just looking the other way)? And if so, what are the age limits? And if those limits are under 18, can you be prosecuted under US sex tourism laws for going to one of those countries to have sex with an under-18 prosititute?

NOTE: I'm only asking academically. I have no intention of putting this information to use.
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  #8  
Old 01-31-2009, 07:19 PM
even sven even sven is online now
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Yes, you can and will still be prosecuted for having sex with someone under 18 (even if the age of consent is different in your current country and/or your home state.) The name of the law involved is the Protect Act.

As an American abroad, I've been warned quite strongly and with many examples about what could happen if that law is broken.
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  #9  
Old 01-31-2009, 08:24 PM
FoieGrasIsEvil FoieGrasIsEvil is offline
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Originally Posted by astro View Post
That's it. An amazing story.
Crazy.
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  #10  
Old 01-31-2009, 08:40 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Trying to find a good vacation spot?
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  #11  
Old 01-31-2009, 08:50 PM
Vox Imperatoris Vox Imperatoris is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
Trying to find a good vacation spot?
You stole my exact response.

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  #12  
Old 01-31-2009, 09:36 PM
Le Ministre de l'au-delà Le Ministre de l'au-delà is offline
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Interestingly, this article was in the Toronto Star today - Sex tourism trial gets green light from judge
And this was the page on the World Vision site about preventing child sex tourism.

The fundamental thing is that even if were legal in a country you are visiting, more and more governments, and certainly the US and Canada, are legislating that their citizens will be prosecuted in their home countries if they are caught having sex with child prostitutes while abroad.
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  #13  
Old 01-31-2009, 09:49 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Originally Posted by even sven View Post
Yes, you can and will still be prosecuted for having sex with someone under 18 (even if the age of consent is different in your current country and/or your home state.) The name of the law involved is the Protect Act.
A reading of the act (long, boring, PDF) suggests this is not entirely correct, although it does accurately apply to the OP's scenario.
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  #14  
Old 01-31-2009, 10:06 PM
even sven even sven is online now
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Can you give a quick summary of what is different? My only understanding of this comes only from the stern lectures they give Peace Corps volunteers before sending us off. I'm curious what the reality is.
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  #15  
Old 01-31-2009, 10:18 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Sure. It appears from my (admittedly incomplete) reading that the Act applies to:

Quote:
TRAVEL WITH INTENT TO ENGAGE IN ILLICIT SEXUAL CONDUCT.—
A person who travels in interstate commerce or travels
into the United States, or a United States citizen or an alien
admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels
in foreign commerce, for the purpose of engaging in any illicit
sexual conduct with another person
shall be fined under this title
or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
where

Quote:
DEFINITION.—As used in this section, the term ‘illicit sexual
conduct’ means (1) a sexual act (as defined in section 2246) with
a person under 18 years of age that would be in violation of
chapter 109A if the sexual act occurred in the special maritime
and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or (2) any commercial
sex act
(as defined in section 1591) with a person under 18
years of age.
It appears the intent of the law is to curtail sex tourism, rather than prosecute the guy who happens to get lucky with a 16-year-old on his vacation trip.

Bolding added.
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  #16  
Old 01-31-2009, 10:25 PM
KGS KGS is offline
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Originally Posted by Struan View Post
Gary Glitter recommends Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos.
Cuba, too. Until he got kicked out of that country. When Cuba doesn't want you, you know you've got problems.
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  #17  
Old 02-01-2009, 03:54 AM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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What I'm getting out of this so far is US citizens traveling to other countries can be prosecuted in the US for having sex outside the US with non-us citizens under 18.

That seems fine by me. While we may have lower consent ages in the US seems like a good idea to have a higher standard to prevent us from screwing around with other countries youths.

Question still not answered is what country has the youngest legal prostitutes. Is there any country in which a person under the age of 18 can sell themselves sexually without violating the law of that land?
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  #18  
Old 02-01-2009, 06:30 AM
constanze constanze is offline
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IAMNALawyer, so this is just a WAG, but I think that lower "age-of-consent" in Asian/African countries only applies to official marriages. I doubt that prostitution in Thailand or nearby countries is officially allowed, it's only mostly ignored (partly because of corruption).
So even in local law sleeping with a 14 year old for money might be forbidden, only not enforced, which is why the Western Countries with more clout try to persecute this at home to stop this exploitative tourism.
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  #19  
Old 02-01-2009, 07:37 AM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HeyHomie View Post
Are there countries where prositution is perfectly legal (as opposed to the police just looking the other way)?
Since apparently, nobody answered that : yes, plenty.Mine, for one, and as far as I know, most of Europe. I'm aware of only one European country where prostitution is illegal (the "customer" can be prosecuted), and that would be Norway.
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  #20  
Old 02-01-2009, 11:53 AM
Cerowyn Cerowyn is offline
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Originally Posted by clairobscur View Post
Since apparently, nobody answered that : yes, plenty.Mine, for one, and as far as I know, most of Europe. I'm aware of only one European country where prostitution is illegal (the "customer" can be prosecuted), and that would be Norway.
The Wikipedia article on prostitution in Sweden says that it's illegal to purchase sexual services there. So, while it might be technically legal to be a prostitute in countries like Sweden and the UK, in practice law enforcement treats it as a criminal enterprise.
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  #21  
Old 02-01-2009, 12:05 PM
Cerowyn Cerowyn is offline
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Getting back to the OP, consent in most countries also depends on the age of the older partner. Many jurisdictions, including Canada and (I think) most U.S. States, have statutory rape provisions for "victims" that are technically past the age of consent for sexual intercourse with partners that are a certain number of years older (or past a certain age). This means, for instance, that a 16 year old couple may not be guilty for having sex, but a 21 year old girl having sex with a 16 year old partner may be guilty of a crime. To complicate matters, sometimes the laws are different for males and females, and often for sodomy (anal and/or oral sex).

I'm sure you know all this, I'm just pointing out the difficulty in trying to find one source that takes all of this into account. However, the Wikipedia article on Age of Consent has a list of articles in the "Ages of consent in various countries" section to regional summaries of laws that may be what you're looking for.
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  #22  
Old 02-01-2009, 12:19 PM
AskNott AskNott is offline
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Originally Posted by Cerowyn View Post
The Wikipedia article on prostitution in Sweden says that it's illegal to purchase sexual services there. So, while it might be technically legal to be a prostitute in countries like Sweden and the UK, in practice law enforcement treats it as a criminal enterprise.
That's some catch, that Catch-22.
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  #23  
Old 02-01-2009, 12:19 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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Quote:
Are there countries where prositution is perfectly legal (as opposed to the police just looking the other way)?
And for the obvious answer, prostitution is also legal in the US. Or at least, in some parts of one state in the US.
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  #24  
Old 02-01-2009, 12:32 PM
Westrogothia Westrogothia is offline
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Originally Posted by AskNott View Post
That's some catch, that Catch-22.
The idea is that prostitutes have it bad enough without beeing criminals.
Police go after customers and pimps instead of making life tough on the "victims".

This theoretically also cuts down on violence against protitutes, since they are (again in theory) free to go to the police and report crimes against them without having to face criminal charges themselves.

Last edited by Westrogothia; 02-01-2009 at 12:35 PM..
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  #25  
Old 02-01-2009, 05:09 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerowyn View Post
The Wikipedia article on prostitution in Sweden says that it's illegal to purchase sexual services there. So, while it might be technically legal to be a prostitute in countries like Sweden and the UK, in practice law enforcement treats it as a criminal enterprise.
I must have confused Sweden and Norway.
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  #26  
Old 02-01-2009, 07:38 PM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is offline
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Wasn't there a case a few years ago where a woman in Germany was denied social assistance because she refused to take a job for which she was qualified: prostitute?
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  #27  
Old 02-01-2009, 07:47 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Originally Posted by Alan Smithee View Post
Wasn't there a case a few years ago where a woman in Germany was denied social assistance because she refused to take a job for which she was qualified: prostitute?
I'd like to see a cite for this because stories like this, frankly, just scream UL.
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  #28  
Old 02-01-2009, 08:11 PM
Dog80 Dog80 is offline
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Originally Posted by Q.E.D. View Post
I'd like to see a cite for this because stories like this, frankly, just scream UL.
I remember that story, it was all over the news everywhere. Turns out it was false: http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/brothel.asp
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  #29  
Old 02-01-2009, 08:12 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Can I call 'em, or what?
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  #30  
Old 02-01-2009, 08:17 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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If true, why is this illegal? If the country that you get the prostitute in legally allows that service, why should your home country be able to prosecute you for it? It seems like an overreach of government powers and completely unfair (keep in mind that this wouldn't just apply to prostitution, something most people would consider bad, but even for potentially neutral or moral services)
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  #31  
Old 02-01-2009, 08:28 PM
Alan Smithee Alan Smithee is offline
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Hmmph! Lied to by the media again! I usually use Snopes for things I get sent by email, not things I read in the Christian Science Monitor. (OK, that's not where I read it, but it was the most reputable source I could find in the Google news archives.)

Good catch, Q.E.D.

Last edited by Alan Smithee; 02-01-2009 at 08:28 PM..
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  #32  
Old 02-01-2009, 08:48 PM
Vox Imperatoris Vox Imperatoris is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
If true, why is this illegal? If the country that you get the prostitute in legally allows that service, why should your home country be able to prosecute you for it? It seems like an overreach of government powers and completely unfair (keep in mind that this wouldn't just apply to prostitution, something most people would consider bad, but even for potentially neutral or moral services)
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris
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  #33  
Old 02-01-2009, 09:12 PM
Q.E.D. Q.E.D. is offline
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Originally Posted by Vox Imperatoris View Post
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?
Wanna think about that for a minute?
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  #34  
Old 02-01-2009, 10:20 PM
Vox Imperatoris Vox Imperatoris is offline
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Originally Posted by Q.E.D. View Post
Wanna think about that for a minute?
What? Just because something may be legal for citizens of one country doesn't mean it must necessarily be legal for people of other countries on vacation. For example, I don't see any problem with a law stating that it is illegal for citizens of the U.S. to commit murder anywhere (well, a strict reading of the Constitution might not give the federal government that power, but that probably wouldn't be a problem), even if the killing is legal in the place of commission, Granted, proving that kind of case in court might be more difficult, since the country in which the crime was committed would likely not be compliant with providing evidence.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris
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  #35  
Old 02-02-2009, 07:35 AM
RedFury RedFury is offline
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So according to Valete, Vox Imperatoris' impeccable logic, any American that travels to Amsterdam should be subjected, upon his return, to Federal and State laws w/regards to the consumption of marijuana? Hell, for that matter, since US Customs is so friendly as is, why not have everyone traveling into the US piss in a cup? Wearing only their socks.

Good times. In Amsterdam I mean.
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  #36  
Old 02-02-2009, 08:36 AM
ftg ftg is offline
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One of the most notorious US laws that applies overseas is the Cuban embargo. Can't light up a Cuban stogie overseas. (But somehow doesn't apply if you are the Vice President despite photographic evidence.)

You do ask your hosts where the sugar came from don't you?
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  #37  
Old 02-02-2009, 09:50 AM
Sunspace Sunspace is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vox Imperatoris View Post
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?
Replace 'prostitution' with 'reading a certain banned book'. I'm of two minds about this. Obviously countries can do what they want, and there are certain nasty crimes that warrant international eradication, but on the other hand, maybe we need a escape route for liberty...?
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  #38  
Old 02-02-2009, 03:27 PM
mauxlicious mauxlicious is offline
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Originally Posted by Vox Imperatoris View Post
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?
Because it is ridiculously Orwellian. As long as I am abiding by the local laws, there's no way that the US government should have any say in my actions.
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  #39  
Old 02-02-2009, 03:44 PM
drachillix drachillix is offline
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Originally Posted by Vox Imperatoris View Post
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?
If that kind of stuff became common why not let CA prosecute CA residents for visiting brothels in NV.
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  #40  
Old 02-02-2009, 03:45 PM
Vox Imperatoris Vox Imperatoris is offline
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Originally Posted by RedFury View Post
So according to Valete, Vox Imperatoris' impeccable logic, any American that travels to Amsterdam should be subjected, upon his return, to Federal and State laws w/regards to the consumption of marijuana?
If there were such a law, yes, but there isn't, and I would oppose this law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mauxlicious View Post
Because it is ridiculously Orwellian. As long as I am abiding by the local laws, there's no way that the US government should have any say in my actions.
Even for child prostitution? I don't see what the local laws have to do with it, besides the fact that if something were illegal for Americans overseas and illegal there, too, they could both prosecute you for it. If you're a citizen of a country and that country prohibits people doing certain things, even overseas, you should be answerable to that law as a subject of that government.

drachillix, full faith and credit.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris
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  #41  
Old 02-02-2009, 03:54 PM
mauxlicious mauxlicious is offline
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Originally Posted by Vox Imperatoris View Post


Even for child prostitution? I don't see what the local laws have to do with it, besides the fact that if something were illegal for Americans overseas and illegal there, too, they could both prosecute you for it. If you're a citizen of a country and that country prohibits people doing certain things, even overseas, you should be answerable to that law as a subject of that government.
Of course I morally oppose child prostitution, however it's dangerous territory when the US starts attempting to impose their laws when I am physically not in their jurisdiction. I think it's a slippery slope because some laws involve a certain level of morality and while I agree with this one, it sets a precedent that makes me wary.

Last edited by mauxlicious; 02-02-2009 at 03:55 PM..
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  #42  
Old 02-02-2009, 04:32 PM
Chase Ransom Chase Ransom is offline
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The concept is clearly an overreach, but it is warranted. There is a big dif between child prostitution oversees, getting high in Amsterdam, or going to the Bunny Ranch in NV if you are from CA. Getting high is something you do to yourself. Going to the Bunny Ranch, is a legal normal thing.

Raping kids overseas, is not only illegal here, it is also morally reprehensible (at least), and also goes against international human right laws (I would assume - no, I won't provide a cite).

The reason the overreach is warranted is precisely due to the lack of law enforcement and abundance of corruption overseas, and the fragility of the victim in this case. I admit its a slippery slope, but I would rather something be done, than nothing at all.
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  #43  
Old 02-02-2009, 04:47 PM
mauxlicious mauxlicious is offline
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Originally Posted by Chase Ransom View Post
The concept is clearly an overreach, but it is warranted. There is a big dif between child prostitution oversees, getting high in Amsterdam, or going to the Bunny Ranch in NV if you are from CA. Getting high is something you do to yourself. Going to the Bunny Ranch, is a legal normal thing.

Raping kids overseas, is not only illegal here, it is also morally reprehensible (at least), and also goes against international human right laws (I would assume - no, I won't provide a cite).

The reason the overreach is warranted is precisely due to the lack of law enforcement and abundance of corruption overseas, and the fragility of the victim in this case. I admit its a slippery slope, but I would rather something be done, than nothing at all.
I agree with you. The big difference of the acts you mention are all inherently tied with morality. Morality is a subjective thing. What alarms me is that it seems that we are willing to allow the government to overreach in the name of good. While in this case most would agree this is for the good, we are left to trust the government to restrain themselves in other areas.
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  #44  
Old 02-02-2009, 05:53 PM
Cervaise Cervaise is offline
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Originally Posted by drachillix View Post
If that kind of stuff became common why not let CA prosecute CA residents for visiting brothels in NV.
This is already done for abortion, both domestically (US states barring, and theoretically punishing, interstate travel for the purpose) and internationally (see the ongoing debate in Ireland).
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  #45  
Old 02-03-2009, 10:46 PM
Siam Sam Siam Sam is offline
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Originally Posted by constanze View Post
IAMNALawyer, so this is just a WAG, but I think that lower "age-of-consent" in Asian/African countries only applies to official marriages. I doubt that prostitution in Thailand or nearby countries is officially allowed, it's only mostly ignored (partly because of corruption).
So even in local law sleeping with a 14 year old for money might be forbidden, only not enforced, which is why the Western Countries with more clout try to persecute this at home to stop this exploitative tourism.
Prostitution is completely illegal in Thailand and most nearby countries (not sure about Singapore off the top of my head), but it is completely tolerated if not encouraged. There's some murkiness as to the age of consent. It appears that it is somewhere below the age of 18 with the parents' permission (like, say, you are dating her), but it's not clear exactly what that age is, and anyway for anyone with even half a brain, you'd best stick to 18 on up. The funny thing is girls can work in bars at age 18 but cannot patronize bars unless they're 21. There have been quite a few times when a guy wants to take an 18-20-year-old out of one bar and go have a drink in another, but she cannot go there, because of her age. And there have been instances of bars being shut down for 30 days because an 18-20-year-old bargirl from another bar did go in as a customer and an undercover cop spotted her.

Last edited by Siam Sam; 02-03-2009 at 10:47 PM..
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  #46  
Old 02-09-2009, 11:50 AM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Originally Posted by Vox Imperatoris View Post
What? Just because something may be legal for citizens of one country doesn't mean it must necessarily be legal for people of other countries on vacation. For example, I don't see any problem with a law stating that it is illegal for citizens of the U.S. to commit murder anywhere (well, a strict reading of the Constitution might not give the federal government that power, but that probably wouldn't be a problem), even if the killing is legal in the place of commission, Granted, proving that kind of case in court might be more difficult, since the country in which the crime was committed would likely not be compliant with providing evidence.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris

Vox, I think perhaps your disagreement is in the extreme nature of the crime at issue? Like other dopers have mentioned, if a law was in place for a banned book, should I be prosecuted on my return from England or wherever in which I read the book? No exceptions exist for you at all?

The nature of laws and a country's sovereignty is supposed to give them a free hand in their own jurisdiction. Unless they've agreed to some international treaties or something like the UN, one country's citizens should not be punished if they left that country's territory to do something that would be legal in their host country but not their home country
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  #47  
Old 02-09-2009, 03:42 PM
hibernicus hibernicus is online now
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Originally Posted by Cervaise View Post
This is already done for abortion, both domestically (US states barring, and theoretically punishing, interstate travel for the purpose) and internationally (see the ongoing debate in Ireland).
There's no ongoing debate on this issue in Ireland. The right of women to travel out of Ireland for abortions was confirmed by referendum in 1992. There is no basis in law for an Irish person to be punished for having an abortion outside the country, and it has never happened.
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  #48  
Old 02-09-2009, 08:20 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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If I'm not mistaken, the jurisdiction of the United States as regards criminal behavior is limited to its territory and that over which it has jurisdiction (the latter including military bases abroad leased from the host country, ships on the high seas and aircraft with U.S. registry, etc. But, of course, this also includes immigration and customs. So, for example, buying OTC a painkiller in Rotterdam or Toronto that is prescription only in the U.S. but sold without prescription there would not constitute the crime of illegally possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, as it would if one were in Tampa or Tucson.

What I'm driving at with reference to the current discussion is that what is criminalized is not the actual patronizing of an underage prostitute but the act of traveling, i.e., leaving the U.S., for the purpose of patronizing an underage prostitute. The first is a crime (if it is) under Thai or Romanian or Mexican law, over which the U.S. has no jurisdiction; but the latter is something done within the U.S. -- i.e., at its borders or ports of entry -- and therefore subject to its jurisdiction.

You'll find that a lot of Federal statutes include this sort of carefully crafted language, to make what most people consider should be a crime fall within the legal bounds of what the U.S. may criminalize. A hypothetical example, since I don't have any real ones to cite from memory, would be if U.S. law made it illegal to kill someone using a gun, knife, or other weapon manufactured in a different state -- it's not that Congress feels that killing someone with a locally manufactured weapon is any less heinous, but that the manufacture in a 'foreign' state to the one of the crime invokes the interstate commerce clause, giving the Feds. jurisdiction to regulate.

Perhaps Gfactor or another lawyer could validate or correct what I said above, and cite an actual example where a technicality is invoked to grant Federal jurisdiction, in place of my hypothetical one.

Last edited by Polycarp; 02-09-2009 at 08:22 PM..
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Old 02-11-2009, 06:15 AM
amanset amanset is online now
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So could you argue that you didn't intend to but as you were over there and the opportunity arose you thought "what the Hell" and went for it?
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Old 02-11-2009, 07:06 AM
sailor sailor is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polycarp View Post
What I'm driving at with reference to the current discussion is that what is criminalized is not the actual patronizing of an underage prostitute but the act of traveling, i.e., leaving the U.S., for the purpose of patronizing an underage prostitute. The first is a crime (if it is) under Thai or Romanian or Mexican law, over which the U.S. has no jurisdiction; but the latter is something done within the U.S. -- i.e., at its borders or ports of entry -- and therefore subject to its jurisdiction.
I do not believe this is the case at all. I believe the law criminalises the actual sexual act and not any travel. I would like to see the actual text of the law.

American legislators often want to extend their reach beyond America's borders as is the case with the Helms-Burton act.

Not that there is not much stupidity regarding "intent". A person entering the USA on a tourist visa with the intention of getting married is breaking the law but a person who enters the USA on a tourist visa and then decides to get married to an American citizen is fine. So, I know of a person who entered on a tourist visa and then got married and was carefully coached by the lawyer before the interview with Immigration. You should say you had never even thought about marriage until your spouse popped the question once you were in the USA. You did not enter the USA with any intention of getting married and you only considered the possibility when you received the proposal once you were inside the USA.
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