YOU CAN EDIT THIS PAGE! Just click any blue "Edit" link and start writing!

Wikitravel talk:Sex tourism policy

From Wikitravel
Jump to: navigation, search

I mainly started this page in order to give a starting point for discussion on sex tourism in Wikitravel. This is definitely not "final" policy, and I'm seeking some cooperation from Wikitravellers in helping to formulate our policy on this issue before it becomes a problem. -- Evan 08:32, 18 Oct 2003 (PDT)

Strip clubs[edit]

Also, there's no point on here about listing sex services that are legal in many Western countries, such as strip clubs. I'd like to see some discussion on that, too. -- Evan 08:37, 18 Oct 2003 (PDT)

Well, I was planning on mentioning the strip clubs in the Tenderloin, simply because that is a big part of the neighborhood's character. My impression would be if a certain district (in any city) is characterized by prostitution and sex services, then we should say so. It's important information for travelers choosing where to spend their time; a family with kids, for instance, would probably choose to avoid certain neighborhoods based on that information. Omitting all mention of prostitution would make Wikitravel less useful for everyone. On the other hand, I can appreciate drawing a line between stating general facts ("the area is known for prostitution") and creating a guide for sex tourists ("the cleanest hookers hang out on Geary St, but the cheapest ones are on Polk"). As for the strip club issue, I don't feel strongly about it, but my inclination would be that it's a legitimate subject for a travel guide. Perhaps there could be a policy about separating out "adult" content into specialized itinerary pages? -- Shannon

I tend to have a skewed view of the world, being from Nevada and all, and my opinion is that strip clubs should probably be included. And unless there is overwhelming demand prostitution and brothels should be excluded. It seems to me that prostitution information can be more of a slippery slope. Yosemite 15:18, 22 Oct 2003 (PDT)
I also feel pretty comfortable with listing strip clubs, where warranted (like, say, in Las Vegas or something). But that might just be my cultural bias and such. -- Evan 19:23, 27 Oct 2003 (PST)

I think creating this policy is a good thing, and you have made a good start Evan. It seems to me Shannon has the right idea; the end goal of the policy should be to draw a line between general facts useful to most travelers, and facts that are useful only to those who plan to patronize prostitutes. Strip clubs (or a particular one anyways) may be a unique part of the nightlife or history in a particular area/city and so would deserve mention just as any other particularity would. I don't think we should separate out "adult" content because that is more likely to create exactly the "too much information" that the policy seems to be driving at avoiding. I'm going to try and incorporate these thoughts into the policy; feel free to change it back. -- CL 23:34, 18 Oct 2003 (PDT)

Including info[edit]

I have changed the definition of sex tourism. The previous definition inadvertently considered the act of visiting a country for a crochet convention to be sex tourism if adult prostitution was legal in that country.

I think it very appropriate to mention the sex laws and mores of a country. If you come from a country where prostitution and homosexual acts are legal, you need to know if those activities are illegal or strongly disapproved of in the country you’re visiting. To be consistent and avoid undue moralising, it should also be mentioned if prostitution or homosexual acts between consenting adults are legal in a country.

A distinction should be made between sex tourism and the ordinary sex services available to locals and, incidentally, to visitors. A distinction should also be made between legal adult sex services and sex services that are illegal in that country or which involve child sex. I don’t agree with excluding, for example, locations of districts where prostitutes or bordellos can be found, particularly in countries where prostitution is legal. People may want to know the location of red light districts are so that (a) they can avoid them (b) they can walk down the street for a curious look (c) they can actually avail themselves of the services - incidentally to the main purposes of their visit to the country (d) visit the country for the prime purpose of using the sex services. I think we should cater for (a) through (c) – by my definition they are not sex tourism.

Sex industry info should be included but kept in proportion (ie a very small part of any country/city’s info), be frank but tastefully expressed and avoid giving offense to the vast majority of readers. RP 27 Oct 2003

"Get In, Get Out, Get Around, Get Laid"? -- Evan 18:05, 27 Oct 2003 (PST)

Child prostitution laws[edit]

AFAICT, Australia, Canada, and the USA as well as possibly some other countries have child sex tourism laws that make it illegal to travel places to have sex with children. I don't know what the status is on non-child sex tourism, nor do I know what kind of liability we put ourselves in for if we have sex tourism info on the site -- nor can I afford an international lawyer to find out! I know that traditionally there's not a lot of censorship just talking about going someplace, but when that runs into issues of children and sex -- and, let's face it, "sex tourism" is often conflated with "child sex tourism" -- there's not a lot of openmindedness in the laws of many countries. Throw in the fact that most legislators love the idea of censoring the Internet, and we've got problems, Houston.

New Zealand does too. The law also goes beyond just engaging in sex and applies to anyone who even promotes or organises tours for NZ citizens and residents, whether or not the tour took place. The relevant wording is:
... Prints or publishes any information that is intended to promote conduct that would constitute an offence against section 144A of this Act, or to assist any other person to engage in such conduct. ...
... The publication of information means publication of information by any means, whether by written, electronic, or other form of communication; and includes the distribution of information. ...
I suppose it would even be technically and legally possible to extradite said promoters to New Zealand to prosecute them and imprison them for 7 years. (Or be arrested on arrival at the airport if you just happened to travel to NZ for a visit!) This sort of legislation is a developing trend that is supported by child advocates and the United Nations too as part of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, so may be present in other countries too. I think this sort of legislation should make every Wikitraveller think very carefully before rejecting the policy as it currently stands. -- Huttite 20:30, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)

Let's just say the whole thing makes me real, real nervous. Probably more than I should be, and there's probably a good common-sense level where we have colorful info on red light districts yet not intricate do-it-yourself details that will get us sued. As a counter example, I am told (I never read the things, myself) that some other travel guides include notes on where red light districts are, but not a lot of info on how to solicit or what prices are. Can we live with that? -- Evan 19:19, 27 Oct 2003 (PST)

Bangkok bars[edit]

So the question of gogo bars has come up on Talk:Bangkok/Sukhumvit. How do we deal with places that a really sex-trade specific (OK, sure, maybe you're just there for the great drink specials and decore) that have become tourist attractions? It would be like having tour buses stop at Tenderloin street corners or something... I guess going with the "Just enough info to get you there, not enough to help you do whatever you might want to do" is the way to go? It's sorta hard to seperate the price of admission/drinks from the sex show you'll get... Majnoona 12:27, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)

Hi I'm the one who deleted the so-called go-go bars. What happened is that one anonymous user changed the title of the section from "Adult Entertainment" to "Prostitution". So I said "hmmm, which one is right?" So I did a google search of the first "bar". There's no question but that this is a place to find prostitutes and that the bar's own website advertises this as the primary feature of the bar. The policy states We prefer not to include... locations or listings of bordellos and bars where prostitutes can be found.
We are allowing a flaming, gaping hole in the sex tourism policy if folks can evade the policy merely by describing a place of prostitution as a "sight to see."
But let's go one further than that. Suppose we're talking about Amsterdam. Many folks I've worked with have gone in a group to walk around the red light district just as a tourism "let's go see that because we can" kind of thing. I don't see any way to list such "tourist specticals" without also providing the requisite info that is needed for sex-tourism so I personally think we should not list that kind of information at all.
But I'd like some opinions on this. There is another Bangkok article with exactly that kind of information (describes a prostitution complex as a place to see), and I'd like some input on my interpretation before clearing it too. -- Colin 15:10, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I think we have a lot of room to move between not saying anything and a "how to" manual. As mentioned above, you should say a place has prostitution (otherwise how can people who don't want to see it avoid it?), but should not say "These girls cost X dollars, ask for Joe at the door." I mean, if we provide _any_ info on Bangkok at all-- like how to get from the airport-- you could say that someone will use that info on their way to go buy sex, but other travellers won't.
I think if we approach gogo bars as just another site: we say where it is, what it is, and leave the rest up to the individual. Same for A'dam-- we can't avoid saying the Red Light district is there, we should mention what happens there and that it's legal, but we dont have to review the details...
I can't see how else we can deal with it without leaving a big hole in a lot of cities... Majnoona 15:26, 8 Jul 2004 (EDT)
Agree with Maj. Bangkok, like Vegas, has an immensely sleazy rep and many tourists head out for a beer or two in Patpong without any intention of engaging in sex tourism; hell, the last time I went to BKK with my gf, the first thing she wanted to see was a go-go bar! So I think Wikitravel should certainly note the existence of these places and (as the Bangkok/Silom pages does now) even recommend a couple where you can go take a sip and a peek without getting gorilla-marched to the nearest ATM to pay your $5000 bill.
And one more thing: Patpong is not a "prostitution complex". Sure, it's an alley or two full of strip joints where every girl has her price, but the bars make their money from selling drinks. They do not regulate prices or provide places to engage in sex, and thus aren't brothels in any sense of the word. Jpatokal 23:40, 14 Jul 2004 (EDT)
It's pretty obvious that these Bangkok pickup joints are nothing like the Vegas I visit. Here's what it all boils down to for me: Look up the Nana complex in Google. Find their home page. What are they advertising? They are not advertising go-go dancers (as the term is used in American English), nor are they advertising Drinks, Food, or anything else except Women for Hire.
AFAIK Nana doesn't have an official home page; [1] is somebody's privately run site. Jpatokal 03:16, 15 Jul 2004 (EDT)
So here's my stawman du-jour. Brothels in Nevada uniformly contain a bar. Shall they be listed under places to drink?
Err.... yes? If the brothel in question is the kind of place that you can actually imagine a tourist wanting to go to for only a drink, that is... Jpatokal 03:16, 15 Jul 2004 (EDT)
So in sum, I think it only sensible to tell folks going to Bangkok that such bars exist. What I don't understand is why the heck we're directing them to them, and if we are going to have such listings I have no idea what the phrase we prefer no to include... locations or listings of bordellos and bars where prostitutes can be found means so someone should delete it.
I also recognize that I appear to be in the minority in my opinion, and I accept that. So I've said my piece and will now leave it alone. -- Colin 01:06, 15 Jul 2004 (EDT)
IMHO that sentence doesn't mean "thou shalt not list bars with prostitutes", but "thou shalt not list places of prostitution". It's a fine distinction, but an important one, and should be made clearer. Jpatokal 03:16, 15 Jul 2004 (EDT)
I think the purpose is to avoid having a sex tourism focus in any part of Wikitravel, and to give editors a rule by which they can cut sex tourism stuff they deem excessive. Obviously, for some areas sex in any way is a large industry, and people DO enjoy sex stuff even if they don't hrie prostitutes. Strip joints are part of "sex" tourism. Or famous red light districts - a lot of people associate Hamburg with the Reeperbahn, for example. And you won't be able to avoid that some people read about it on Wikitravel and then do go there for the prostitutes. It's just important to keep a neutral POV, and to make sure that no contributor adds text in support of truly abhorrent practices (child sex, for example). -- Nils 03:24, 15 Jul 2004 (EDT)
The trouble with defining "truly abhorrent practices" in regard to prostitution is a huge mess though. For example. in many of the major prostitution areas in Asia (not so much in Bangkok or Pattaya though) a substantial although hard to confirm number of the prostitutes will be working as forced labour (under the same debt bondage system used for many child workers -- ie you have to repay your boss for the price she paid for you to someone else, the cost of your keep and a huge interest rate before you can stop working or even choose your clients). This is also a truly abhorrent practise, even if the prostitutes are adults. Some travel guides do specifically note this, but it's a tough job for wikitravel: researching the ethical underpinnings of red light districts (or anywhere else) before we list them is hard work.
Pragmatically, both prostitution and drugs policies are hard because of three things: their varying legality, their varying public perception, and their varying but often not terribly distant connections with either abhorrent ethical practises like forced labour or with organised crime. -- Hypatia 19:05, 29 Nov 2004 (EST)


I took a second look at this page and I don't like it. The rationale for banning sex tourism info is:

  1. Sex tourist information gives the impression that Wikitravel is purely a sex tourist information site. We want Wikitravel to be useful for all travellers, not just those seeking paid sex.
  2. Sex tourist information clutters already crowded destination guides with information only pertinent to a few readers.

Here's a thought experiment:

  1. Diving information gives the impression that Wikitravel is purely a diving information site. We want Wikitravel to be useful for all travellers, not just those going diving.
  2. Diving information clutters already crowded destination guides with information only pertinent to a few readers.

Doesn't work? Didn't think so. So why is sex so special? Point three tries to say why:

  1. There are legal ramifications for listing sex tourism information, especially child prostitution info. In the United States, sex tourists can be subject to prosecution, despite the fact that they were outside the jurisdiction of the US at the time of their actions.

Sure, but pedophilia is illegal and hence covered under the Wikitravel:Illegal activities policy. Why do we need a separate page for this? Jpatokal 02:58, 31 Dec 2004 (EST)

Read it like this "There are legal ramifications in the US for listing sex tourism information for countries where it is legal." -- Colin 03:39, 31 Dec 2004 (EST)
Sex with pre-pubsecents is legal in some destinations (at least, as long as you marry the object of your 'affections'). In other places it's accepted.
I don't understand why this keeps veering off towards child prostitution: AFAIK there isn't a single jurisdiction on the planet where it's legal (or accepted) to go around raping little boys' butts. But legal or not, I'm fine with a blanket ban on child prostitution info, I don't think this is much of a point of contention for anybody. Jpatokal 21:15, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
There are countries with very young ages of consent, particularly for women (it's hard to verify, but my understanding is that world-wide, girls are more commonly the victims of rape than boys). It's certainly easy enough to find places where it's as low as 12. This usually interacts with the marriage laws, and also varies in its acceptance. It probably is a bit of a tangent, however, the test of a policy/law is usually "does this clearly acceptable thing fall on the right side of it, and this other clearly unacceptable thing on the other side?" Unfortunately, I don't trust the lawmakers of the world enough to allow their laws to be the sole test of it.Hypatia 21:36, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
This is sticky: there's a difference between illegal and unethical practices. Does Wikitravel care about describing unethical practices? It's unclear to me that we should happily say "X destination doesn't care enough about Y to make it illegal, so Wikitravel articles should provide all the information necessary to pursue and enjoy Y there," for all values of Y. Hypatia 19:14, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
For example, here's another rationale (not in the article at all) for discussion: prostitution, particularly in developing countries, is frequently associated with kidnapping of and enslavement of the prostitutes. Assuming we care about that, the diving analogy fails to work (at least, as far as I'm aware very few divemasters are kidnapped and forced to work off the price of their purchase while being imprisoned at the dive shop).Hypatia 19:14, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
Please point me to a country where this verifiably happens and prostitution is legal. I don't think there are any. But if there are, I think the correct way to handle this would be to note that prostitution is legal, but such practices exist. Jpatokal 21:15, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
I was going to say India, but Google thinks its illegal there. Certainly, the major offenders that Louise Brown cites in Sex Slaves (India, Pakistan, Thailand and Japan) seem to all have criminalised prostitution. I don't know about the other source countries (Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma). There has been the odd case in Australia where prostitution is legal (I'll try an archive search of the Fairfax papers, but don't expect much luck, not being a paid subscriber) but this is, it seems, rare (expensive and the majority of patrons prefer willing sexually experienced partners anyway). Nevertheless, I think my point stands. Visiting prostitutes is not the only potentially unethical travel activity that will come up here (I can imagine a future time where a similar discussion will happen for cruelty to animals) and while I very much doubt we can formally lay out some kind of Ethics policy, the terms we frame this debate in will have ramifications. I really don't like "if it's not a problem to the lawmakers, it's not a problem!" as the limit of the debate. Hypatia 21:29, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
The United States. Do I win a prize for finding the example? -- Colin 15:44, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
And kidnapped prostitutes in the US are working in jurisdictions where prostitution is legal!? Jpatokal 12:21, 30 Jan 2005 (EST)
Your original comment was about countries. In the US, it haapens within a distance of about 100 km. But if that doesn't satisfy you... then how about Amsterdam? -- 20:03, 30 Jan 2005 (EST)
The original author of the policy has tried to be very clear that (s)he is in no way personally opposed to prostitution or in any way puritanical. While it's certainly uncool to be puritanical or to pass judgement on what other people want to do with their genitals, I'm going to be uncool and suggest that the ethics of Wikitravel articles can't be left entirely to local laws. Having said that, I'm not totally opposed to Wikitravel having sex tourism information, but I am opposed to having it solely on the basis of "it's legal and fun for some travellers." I'd prefer to have it on the basis of "it's legal, fun for some travellers, and, as best we can tell, ethical." Hypatia 19:14, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
I disagree with the proposer of this critique and believe the sex tourism policy is reasonable and rational. The comparison the proposer makes is a poor one. Even in places where prostitution is decriminalised it is still illegal to have sex with underage sex workers. Most societies and cultures have some moral and legal standpoint about sex, alcohol, tobacco, prescription and recreational drugs, and weapons. Those standards vary around the world. This is not generally the case with diving. Even so, if the word sex in the policy were replaced with the word diving (or any other activity, for that matter) then underlying spirit of the policy would generally still hold true. We should have articles that meet the needs of most travellers and do not seem biased to just one group, like divers or those wanting sex. -- Huttite 19:48, 2 Jan 2005 (EST)
Jpatokal: my original idea with this page was to distance ourselves from Web sites like . (A Google search for "sex tourism" will turn up a lot more.) Now, I'm not going to address whether or not somebody should set up a free content wiki to do a Consumer Reports for prostitutes and houses of prostitution around the world; but I can say definitively that it's not what we wanted when we started Wikitravel.
So, I want to ask you to clarify your critique: do you have problems with the way this policy is stated or justified, or do you think that having prostitute and brothel reviews is a good idea for Wikitravel? We can rephrase the page (or leave out the rationale altogether), but I'm going to need a lot of convincing that having prostitution reviews/guides is going to help, not hinder, us getting to our goals. --Evan 06:34, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)

Short and sweet: I'd like to know why a separate Sex tourism policy is necessary, instead of this being merely covered under the Illegal activities policy. So (as far as I can see) the following arguments have been presented:

  • We should have articles that meet the needs of most travellers and do not seem biased to just one group, like divers or those wanting sex.
    • Sure. So why do we need policy for sex tourism specifically?
  • " I really don't like "if it's not a problem to the lawmakers, it's not a problem!" as the limit of the debate.
    • This points the way towards an Ethics policy, which would certainly be an interesting expiriment. It doesn't, however, say anything about sex tourism specifically.
  • Even in places where prostitution is decriminalised it is still illegal to have sex with underage sex workers.
    • Which is why I suggest rolling this into the Illegal activities policy.

As you can see I don't find any of these particularly convincing.

The reason I'm personally interested in this is that I (mostly) live in Bangkok, a notorious den of sin, and have on several occasions had to fight off the Morality Police for wandering into the gray areas of the policy with coverage of, say, Patpong. (Which I last visited half a year ago at the insistence of my girlfriend, but that's another story...) So I'd like to see the Illegal activities policy in general, and the 'naughty nightlife' bits in specific, tightened up to leave as few gray areas as possible. Jpatokal 07:58, 3 Jan 2005 (EST)

So, your proposal is to drop the sex tourism policy altogether, since it's been superceded by the Illegal activities policy, correct? And that we allow sex tourism info for destinations where prostitution is legal? --Evan 08:08, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)

As a newcomer to this discussion, I have read the policy. It is based on the assumption that (a) there is something wrong with travelling to a place because of the sexual opportunities it offers, and (b) there is something wrong with paying for sex. These are of course opinions held by many people, but they are opinions, and they are far from universally held, as shown by the fact that large numbers of people do travel to places for sex and do pay for sex (and also large numbers of other people sell sex, of course). I fail to see why an encyclopaedia should force contributors to conform to a particular set of opinions on this subject. Let me stress (not that I should have to) that I am not talking about sexual exploitation of children. I am talking about sexual and commercial agreements between adults.

Any article on travel to Bangkok which does not give a full discussion of both the "free" and "commercial" sex industry is seriously deficient, and I object to having my contribution on the gay scene in Bangkok censored on the grounds that it discusses how the commercial sex industry operates, including an indication of prices. This amounts to imposing someone's moral opinions on me - and on many other people, Thai and western, who find these transactions perfectly normal, mutually beneficial and lots of fun. I would like to know what the justiiation for this policy is. Adam Carr 23:01, 26 Jan 2005 (EST)

Okay. And other people disagree with you. Many people disagree with various and sundry parts of the policies regarding this site's content. But we still live by the policy unless there is consensus for change. And sometimes people leave this site because they don't like a policy. Life happens, and we go on. So if it makes you feel better to have gotten that off your chest, then good. But I don't think your rhetoric has altered anyone's opinion. If you think the site should change a policy, you can propose it, and lobby for change. Or you can learn to live with the status quo. Or you can leave. It's a free world. -- Colin 00:54, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)
Colin, not only do I find your 'love it or leave it' rhetoric offensive, but I refer you to your own words earlier:
I also recognize that I appear to be in the minority in my opinion, and I accept that. So I've said my piece and will now leave it alone. -- Colin 01:06, 15 Jul 2004 (EDT)
So when did your minority interpretation of the policy become canon, and why aren't you leaving it alone?
As I've said earlier, I don't like the gray areas in the policy at all, and have attempted to suggest ways to sort them out. But Wikitravel doesn't offer any formal mechanism for getting policies changed. Jpatokal 01:10, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)
What "gray areas"? There are four bullet points at the beginning of the policy saying what's not acceptable. Descriptions of red-light districts for general use are totally OK. We can call out some more things that would be OK (bars that have prostitutes in them that aren't just about prostitution, hotels that prostitutes use that aren't just brothels, etc.) if you need it.
Yes, this is the one of the grey areas. The other major one is handling places where prostitution is legal and aboveboard. Jpatokal 02:58, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
Wikitravel has an excellent and time-tested mechanism for changing policies. It's called the Edit button. --Evan 08:08, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)
This is neither a censorship nor a morality issue. It's an editorial issue. It's about 1) keeping the site useful for as wide a group of people as possible and 2) covering our butts legally. --Evan 08:08, 27 Jan 2005 (EST)
I think it is clear from this discussion, that it is a morality issue. I do not have a problem with the policy, but the reasons do not hold water. There are definitely destinations where detailed information would be useful for a significant part of travellers. If it clutters a destination, we would deal just as if it was anything else (eg diving), and mentioning a price would not do much cluttering. The legal issues we already have a policy for.
The Bangkok article still violates the legal policy (underage boys) but that is covered by the Illegal Activities Policy
If this is not about our morality, then it is about the morality of our audience (appealing to a broad and varied audience) --elgaard 02:32, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
Touché! You are correct; this is, in fact, a morality issue for our audience. I don't think Wikitravel needs to take a moral stand for or against prostitution, legal or not. But we do need to serve our readers and reach our goals, and I still don't think having a world sex guide does that. --Evan 10:30, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
It is a little more than that. We are to some extent a mirror of our audience (also we are part of the audience). If Wikitravel become wildly popular with people with a very different morality, I do not think we would just accept that. Or to put it another way, we have a good idea about what kind of audience, we are aiming for-people like us. I think we should put in the rationale, that we are afraid it could be a slippery slope and we do not want to take WikiTravel too far in that direction. Also I see a moral stand here against e.g. child abuse, legal or not, and that should be in our policy. I do not at all like that the reason is only legal ramifications in some countries --elgaard 16:01, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
I fully support Elgaard point of view in this matter. Loosing a policy too much now may result in new audience that will vote to loose it yet more. And so on. Where will we end? -- JanSlupski 17:25, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
Agree with Elgaard. If this is not a moral issue, then we don't need a separate policy. Jpatokal 02:58, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
I personally don't care to see sex-tourism (especially listings) in Wikitravel, -- call me a prude -- but Evan's assertion that not having it "keeps the site as useful for as wide a group of people as possible" demands to be backed up. It seems the assumption is that having sex tourism info will drive away more people than it will attract (or at least not drive away). Is there any evidence for that? This doesn't seem to be the case so far among the editorship-readership.
So the traveler comes first -- except those who engage in sex-tourism?
There are people who would urge foreigners not to travel to, for example, Myanmar or North Korea for political reasons. Does having these destinations drive away such travelers and reduce our readership to our detriment? Should we care? -- Paul Richter 05:35, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
This is why I think we should accept the moral aspect. Most/many here seem to accept a policy on prostitution. But if it turns out that mentioning resturants that serve meat or mentioning non-christian places of worship scares away a big part of our readers, I suspect most of will tell them to go somewhere else. --elgaard 21:00, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
Yes, you're correct, the assumption is that having sex tourism info will attract more sex tourism info to the detriment of other travel guide info. Is there any evidence for that? No, except anecdotal evidence; the conclusion is deductive and not inductive. So, I see three possibilities here: first, we allow sex tourism information, and the site becomes all about sex tourism, drowning out any other tourism information, alienating the majority of readers, and all the work of thousands of people for 1-1/2 years is for naught. Second, we allow sex tourism information, and it remains a small part of the site. Or, third, we don't allow sex tourism information, we lose a few contributors who won't add other information, and we turn out a really good general purpose guide.
Like I said, if somebody wants to start a wiki for world sex trade info, that's up to them. But that's not our goal for Wikitravel, and it never has been. So, to get to our goals, we can either gamble on allowing sex tourism info, or take the more-or-less sure course of not allowing it. I am strongly in favor of the second. --Evan 10:30, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
What's the anecdotal evidence? Do you have specific cases that you've been involved in or heard about (I'm asking out of curiosity actually, rather than to advance a point for or against current policy.) Hypatia 23:00, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

Uh... just a suggestion here. I don't go to places specifically for sex, but sometimes I do partake. So I read some sites that are specifically oriented to sex tourism, and some sites that are not. It's funny though - you guys have this policy against sex tourism info (like every other general interest tourism site), and one of the justifications is that it would overrun all the general info - but ironically the sites ostensibly devoted to sex tourism have far more up-to-date and detailed information on non-sex stuff (visas, border crossing, transport, food, shopping, drinking, sightseeing) than any general interest site.

I actually have pointed this out to some friends of mine that never pay for sex, and most of the male ones agree and have started using these sites, whereas my female (and some male) friends can't stand to even glance through the sexual stuff to find the nonsexual stuff. So, I think the reasoning behind this no sex rule is that lots of people (mostly women) find it icky. I think with this rule you are missing out on a lot of useful participation from sex tourists - i.e. even if you don't want to hear about how to find girls for $5 in Phnom Penh, these guys can still clue you in on where to find some great food for $2 in Phnom Penh.

But I totally understand - most people, if you add up nearly all the women and a few men, find this sex talk disgusting. Maybe you could solve this in a technical way though? Just have a "I am interested in sex tourism" option you can select (default to off, obviously) and make people tag their sex info so that people who don't want to see it won't see it.

As for legal issues... Obviously you still need to ban information on sex with children. It makes people (and the politicians that need their votes) everywhere blow their stack, so they'll find a way to lock you up if you don't keep it out. Banning information on prostitution for places where prostitution is illegal might be going too far, though - e.g. prostitution is illegal in Thailand. People bring up this stuff about "human trafficking" all the time but I think it's overblown - seriously, most of these women do these jobs voluntarily, because if they go back to their home country they only have even worse opportunities. It's just like any other migrant worker picking fruit or building roads for crap pay in crap conditions. 07:41, 24 May 2008 (EDT)

Sex as a travel destination[edit]

Data point courtesy of this week's Economist: [2] Jpatokal 02:58, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

Following the above discussion:

  • Colin makes no attempt to engage the arguments I put forward. He merely tells me to accept the policy or leave. This is unacceptable arrogance. I await a justification of the policy.
  • Jpatokal tells me that the policy cannot be changed. This raises the question: who wrote the policy, by what authority did they write it, by whom and by what process was it approved? Why is a policy once adopted eternally imutable? Since when was Wikipedia run like the Catholic Church?
Hey hey, you're seriously misreading my comments here. The policy can (and should) be changed, but the forum for that is the policy's talk page, not this one. And the way to change the policy is to achieve some sort of consensus that it can be changed. Jpatokal 05:35, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
You said: "Wikitravel doesn't offer any formal mechanism for getting policies changed." That seems pretty clear to me. And as far as I can see this is the policy's talk page. Adam Carr 05:49, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
Adam: you can edit any page on the site, including policy pages. If you think a policy is wrong, say why on the talk page, and plunge forward and change it. If there's not concerted opposition, it will stick. If there is, you're going to need to work out a compromise until the opposition dies down and some change does stick. That's how this and other policies came about in the first place (check the page history for details).
But let me be clear: Wikitravel is not an exercise in freedom of expression. We have goals, and I for one want to make sure we achieve them. If you think we're going to make a better travel guide by having sex tourism information, then make that point. But if you think that Wikitravel owes you a soapbox, you're sadly mistaken. If what you have to say doesn't help us make a free, complete, up-to-date and reliable world-wide travel guide, then there are lots of other places on the Internet for you to say it. --Evan 10:30, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
  • I was careless in my use of the term "underage" in relation to male street prostitutes. I meant too young to get into the gay venues (under 20), not below the legal age of consent for sex (under 16). I do not condone sex with legally underage persons whether free or commercial and I agree that information on such practices should not appear. I will amend my text accordingly. Adam Carr 05:17, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)
I did not engage your arguments because there is no law that says I need to. Unless I think there is a serious chance of consensus for change occuring, why should I bother arguing with you for the sake of arguing? Also, you don't have to leave: there are a range of options available to you including lobbying for change. But here's the problem: at Wikitravel decisions for change are made by consensus, and keeping the status quo is what happens when there is no consensus. This is a problem when change is wanted: if you can't get consensus, you can't get change. Now, as it applies to your pet issue.... I think it appears that neither Evan nor I have joined in your call for change, and your rhetoric appears to be more "help help I'm being oppressed" rather than anything really designed to move opinions.
Additionally, you seemed determined to talk about morality rather than the reasons put on the policy page. The reason I don't talk about morality is because the current policy page halts descriptions of activities I find morally abhorrent -- because I assume the preservation of human rights by the police in Bangkok is not quite up to the levels I presume occur in Amsterdam. But really, who cares what I think about something that isn't allowed on the site per-policy? Should we also have long conversations about child abuse when that also is disallowed by policy? Should we have long conversations about which country's police departments can be hired for murder when that too is disallowed by policy? -- 10:23, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

My thoughts:

  • I don't support comparison between sex-tourism and diving. I don't see it equivalent. Just: sex-tourism subject is quite controversial, while diving is not so. Otherwise why there is so long discussion on sex-tourism, and there is no such on diving?
  • for the same reason (that sex-tourism is controversial), and because there is high pressure from industry, and writers we may consider sex-travel policy to be especially emphasized and have separate policy thus. Also bigger chance that contributors would read it then.
  • I don't think anybody of us would like to make WikiTravel flagged as adult content (eg. rejected by parental control filters), that may happen if we go to far...
  • do we want to have sex activity section in any destination? I believe that go-go-like bars exists in any larger city: Paris, London, NY, etc.
  • we may think of softening current policy, but maybe it would make sense to separate this content from main destination page, so readers that are not interested are not forced to read (or print) it. We may allow red-light districts (so general tourism) information in the main article, but any further details should go to subpage. This can be more general rule, so content that is very controversial (eg. opposition, or Tibet topic in China article) to be allowed, but on separate page, so nobody is forced to read/print it.
  • allowing go-go etc. bars listing/rating, will open WikiTravel to self advertisement (edit wars?) of such businesses. Somebody may say that we are open on diving centers self advertisement, but as we all know sex-businesses is much more active in Internet than any other. Did we have any spam from diving community ever?
  • I wouldn't like to be offender in New Zealand just because I do spell check the article with deep sex-tourism informations (and thus being co-author of that page, what may be considere a crime in NZ). This is another reason to separate sex-tourism and diving. And thus maybe skip some details...

-- JanSlupski 09:33, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

Gray areas[edit]

I tried to clarify the following two gray areas, which were apparently unclear:

  1. As with red-light districts, it's OK to list bars, hotels, restaurants, town squares, Internet cafes or whatever if there's a good chance that they'll be of general interest.
  2. The policy applies even where prostitution is legal.

--Evan 10:45, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

Retain the policy[edit]

I'd just like to add another voice in support of the "ilk" of Colin, Jan, and Evan. There are plenty of places on the web to find sex-tourism information, and there's no good reason to duplicate it here, for all of the reasons that Colin, Jan, and Evan have expressed.

Wikitravel is about making the best possible general interest travel guide we can. The sex stuff just gets in the way. -- Mark 15:19, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

I'm going to stick my two cents of support for this policy as well. I like this comparison: when families travel, sometimes they hire a babysitter. So far we don't list the names, numbers, costs, or reviews of babysitters, even though this would be helpful to some travellers. If someone were to start this, I'd oppose it for two reasons: first becasue it would be too much detail for a specific subset of our travellers; second, to cover our ass legally if there was a problem later on.

I don't think we're going to make everyone happy all of the time, but I think the current policy is a nice middle-ground: tell people what's there so they can find more about it or avoid it as they want. The reason it has it's own policy is mostly to bring attention to this specific sticky issue. Majnoona 17:00, 28 Jan 2005 (EST)

I'll keep bitching. Two points in particular:
  1. Two of the rationales posted above by Evan & Jan seem to say that if sex tourism info is allowed, then a) the entire site, evidently including Salt Lake City, Mecca and Kabul, will be inundated with sex tourism info, or b) virulent sex spammers will sodomize our DB server repeatedly. The slight flaw with both these theories is that, um, there isn't actually a shred of evidence in favor of them-- so far sex tourism info has been posted only for places where there are lots of sex tourists, and I haven't see a single gogo bar hyping their services.
  2. This segues nicely into my second point: how about places like Pattaya, where the majority of visitors are sex tourists?
Wikitravel's a tourism guide. We don't need info on Harlem crack whores, because there probably aren't too many tourists going to Harlem to see crack whores. But there obviously are people like Adam going to Bangkok to score with pretty Thai gay men, and I still don't see how having a just-the-facts-ma'am section about this in the Drink section is going to a) take away from the temple listings in See, or b) lead to, and I quote Evan here, "alienating the majority of readers, and all the work of thousands of people for 1-1/2 years is for naught". Jpatokal 12:33, 30 Jan 2005 (EST)
Look, we list restaurants, right? But we don't list exactly what's on the menu and how much it costs, because it's just too much information. I don't have a problem with "just the facts" when we mention what's where, but do we really want to have descriptions/reviews of people and their services? I think there's a big difference between an overview of the redlight district and listing of what girl in window 88 will do for 50 euro. Morality aside, it's just too much detail... Why should sex attractions/services get more focus than, say, language lessons or sushi bars. Majnoona 19:07, 30 Jan 2005 (EST)
I'm not asking for more focus than any other topic, I'm asking for some focus, because the current policy seems to allow none at all. I neither want nor need listings that say Noi in Dollhouse gives good head and Nok in Superboys has a cute ass; I do think it's reasonable to forewarn the gay traveller that a) the cute Thai guy he picks up at Telephone Club (not a place of prostitution) is going to think he's extremely cheap if he doesn't give some "taxi money" in the morning, and that b) the cute Thai guy doesn't consider himself a prostitute. Or that, if farang guy meets gogo girl in a bar, he a) has to pay a "barfine" to get her out before closing time and b) this barfine does not entitle him to bedroom gymnastics. Under the current policy, or at least Colin's Wahhabian interpretation of it, this isn't allowed. Jpatokal 13:06, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
Just as a point of reference... the "Telephone Club guy" scenario is exactly how some illegal prositition works in Western Countries (with the difference that the prositutes in the West are likely to self-describe themselves as prositutes.) The whole taxi money thing would be fine with me if it were more generally used. For example, if Thailand#Respect said that generosity -- particularly monetary -- was a norm when you get friendly with someone (for example, if a friendly person takes you to an interesting sight and shows you around). Then in the discussion of spending the night with someone, it would be good to remind the reader that the suggestions Thailand#Respect apply.
And the point of intentionally obfuscating information like this is...? Jpatokal 23:03, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
Also, is there any chance we can try to keep the namecalling out of the conversation? I'm a little tired of the whole "prude", "homophobe", "Wahhabian" spiel given that I've never responded in kind. -- Colin 13:46, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
So Pattaya might be a place with a "majority" of sex tourists (I'm not sure I totally buy that), but are you going to say the same about Vegas and Amsterdam or even Bangkok? and, finally, you really don't think this is a slippery slope? You really really don't think that kinda a lot of open stuff on the world wide internet maybe once in a while gets overrun with sex spam?
Anyway, lets try and come up with a compromise of some sort-- can you explain, in a couple of sentences, what you'd like to see changed about the policy? Majnoona 19:07, 30 Jan 2005 (EST)

As stated earlier, I want to see this policy absorbed into the Illegal activities policy entirely. But as this isn't very amenable to compromise, here's my list of suggestions.

  1. Define "prostitution" clearly, Wikipedia's sale of sexual services for cash, generally indiscriminately with many persons is a decent starting point. This needs to be phrased carefully, because especially in poorer countries like Thailand or the Philippines the line can be quite blurred: if asked, the Telephone Club guy above would be quite offended to be called a prostitute, as the taxi money is not payment for the night. A real pro would agree on the price in advance and enforce their side of the contract by calling in reinforcements if the john doesn't pay up.
  2. Explicitly allow coverage of sex-related legal issues.
  3. Explicitly allow coverage of sex-related health issues.
  4. Explicitly allow coverage of sex-related cultural mores.
  5. Explicitly allow entries for legal adult entertainment businesses like go-go bars and strip joints (with opening hours, pricing info and whatnot, just like any other bar/nightclub). Escort services and out-and-out brothels can be excluded, be they legal or not. Define out-and-outness with the Drink Test: would you go there for a drink if you have no intention of getting laid?

So there. Feedback welcome. Jpatokal 13:06, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)

Thank you for laying out your suggestions, it's very helpful. I'm afraid it's just going to keep coming down to whether or not we want to have 'that kind of guide.' Majnoona 16:52, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
So it all boils down to a puritan disdain for the practice of prostitution after all. You started the talk of compromise and I took your gambit, now it's your turn. Jpatokal 23:03, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
I'm starting to think this belongs as much on the Wikitravel:Goals and non-goals page as the illegal acticities page. In much the same way that we are not working on a web directory or a travel story site, even though these are both useful to travellers, I don't want to work on a sex tourism guide-- even a dating guide really. Majnoona 16:52, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
Nobody wants to turn Wikitravel into a dedicated sex tourism guide. The question is how much information, safely cordoned off inside a subpart of the Drink section, is OK.
Take a look at the Lonely Planet Bangkok. My 5th edition has 3 pages of background info on the sex industry (including, gasp, average prices!), exploding the usual myths and discussing how things work, and a page of gogo & massage parlours listings, complete with names and addresses. It also has around 260 pages of everything else. I don't understand why we can't do the same on Wikitravel. Jpatokal 23:03, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
I can see your point about sexual mores, health, and legality etc, and generally useful information should be included in the Understand, Stay Safe, and Stay Healthy sections, but again it's the level of detail and focus. This isn't a "culture shock" guide-- for example we also don't cover how to buy a house or conduct a business meeting in various countries, even though that would be useful to some travelers. Majnoona 16:52, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
Since when is Wikitravel for casual backpackers only? Why don't we have information on how to conduct business meetings or go about finding an apartment? (FWIW, my Lonely Planet Bangkok covers both.) Should I go delete every good hotel I've stayed at and every domestic airline I've taken, because Real Wikitravelers sleep on park benches and cross Siberia on the back of a pickup truck? Jpatokal 23:03, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
This isn't a judgement call on the sex industry or anyone's sexual freedom any more than our choice not to be a photo gallery or to include the local opinion on Star Trek for each destination is a judgement on those topics or formats-- it's just not what we set out to do. Majnoona 16:52, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
WTF is your talk of "that kind of guide" then? It is nothing but a judgement call: you're saying it's OK to list a club which has skimpily dressed people dancing, but it's not OK to list a club which has skimpily dressed paid dancers. Jpatokal 23:03, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
Perhaps ethics should be added to Jpatokal's list: the likelihood that a sexworker met in a particular context is a victim of human trafficking or under the thumb of a pimp. This might vary quite a lot from venue to venue, city to city, and country to country. LADave 15:34, 21 September 2007 (EDT)


So would you people be happy if I paid a lawyer's retainer for finding out Evan's legal liability under Canadian law for hosting a site that contains (non-child) prostitution info? Any other issues of realistic concern? Jpatokal 12:33, 30 Jan 2005 (EST)

Won't do you a blind bit of good for countries other than .ca, so probably a waste of money ;-) -- Nils 18:01, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
As long as the server & Evan stay in Canada, and Wikitravel doesn't transform into a nexus of international child porn or something, legislation in other countries is effectively irrelevant (despite .nz's delusions of grandeur to the contrary).
But I'm quite serious about my offer: if Evan or others feel that the legal issues are a major concern, then let's get a professional opinion. If not, then, well, stop whining. Jpatokal 23:14, 31 Jan 2005 (EST)
I'm not staying trapped inside Canadian borders just so you can put prostitute reviews on Wikitravel! B-) Sorry, d00d, but that wasn't in the job description when I signed up. Maj and I will gauge our own level of risk on publishing Wikitravel, and we'll act accordingly. Remember also that Wikitravel is an Open Content guide -- we want our guides to be as redistributable as possible (while remaining useful). --Evan 08:10, 1 Feb 2005 (EST)

A different comparison[edit]

I'd say a better comparison would be between prostitution and homosexuality.

  • Both are sexual behaviours which many people have engaged in throughout history.
  • Both are illegal in some countries, legal in others.
  • Both are considered quite normal by some and utterly degenerate by others
  • Many places have bars or whole districts associated with them
  • Many tourists will be interested in finding one or the other, perhaps both
  • Many will prefer to avoid one or both

So if we have info on gay bars and warnings for gay travellers about laws and predjudices they might encounter, then to be consistent, we should also have info on hooker bars and local prostitution laws.

I'd say we should have both. Not prices, or tips on picking up hookers, but info on where they are and warnings on local laws, mores and scams as appropriate. I'd say the current text in Bangkok under "Drink" is a fine example of doing it right, but it is not clear to me that it fits the current stated policy. If not, I'd say the policy should be ammended to match. Pashley 02:43, 3 May 2006 (EDT)

The analogy is mostly sound (I won't quibble over the gay-identity vs. homosexual-activity distinction, which gets swapped back and forth in there), but there is one significant difference that keeps coming up: prostitution is not always consensual. I don't believe anyone in any of the (more than a few) gay bars I've been to was there against their wishes, and I'm quite sure that any of the (not very many) people I shared more than a drink with did so because they chose to. But that's not always true for sex workers. That's a fairly objective ethical difference, not just a subjective moral one. I don't think that difference requires any outright ban on information about sex for hire, but because the subject has additional ethical baggage, it does have to be handled more carefully than information about gay bars. - Todd VerBeek 09:03, 28 July 2006 (EDT)
Good point. Does it mean we need warnings about areas where the sex workers are being forced? Of course arguably, all prostitutes are being coerced and exploited by the economic system. However, some prostitutes are controlled and exploited by fairly vicious pimps or gangs. Pashley 00:10, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
That would be the entire planet -- even the US and Europe have sex slavery problems. -- Colin 00:18, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
This goes right back into the moral dimension though. Should we start boycotting restaurants that offer fruit because peaches in California are picked by exploited illegal migrants and Central American bananas are a tool of oppression for corrupt governments in cahoots with multinational fruit companies? Jpatokal 01:34, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Just to be perfectly clear, when I said "slave" I meant the word literally. It was not a euphemism for "exploited worker." -- Colin 03:29, 2 August 2006 (EDT)

For that matter, we have Gay and lesbian travel and Wikitravel:Information for gay and lesbian travellers. I'd say Travel for those who use hookers is just as valid a travel topic. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Pashley (talkcontribs)

My main concern would be the same as for Drugs and Bribery: any location-specific information should be in the various destination articles, and what's left isn't enough for an article. What's different about this compared to Gay and lesbian travel is where I do have to quibble over identity vs. activity: Going to San Francisco or Fire Island isn't (necessarily) about engaging in homosexual activity, but being part of a safe and open gay community; that article helps people locate such destinations. Do people who hire prostitutes seek out particular destinations so they can hang out with other people who hire prostitutes? If not, then we're just talking about a particular activity... one with the sort of ethical baggage that makes a "here's where to do it" article troublesome. - Todd VerBeek 09:03, 28 July 2006 (EDT)

Comment, anyone ?[edit]

I've just added a section under China#Massage. To me, it seems obvious that it should be there, and for that matter equally obvious that I should have included general price range info for the sexual services. However, it is not clear to me whether current policy allows what I've written, and quite clear that it disallows price info. Comment, anyone? Pashley 03:26, 2 August 2006 (EDT)

It's almost fine as-is. The information regarding selection of the establishment is useful to the person who seeks a mere massage and wants to avoid the incompetent massage you describe the sexual establishments as providing. The only quibble I'd have is that a mention of "receiving relief" should be ommitted since it is not useful to the person seeking just a massage. -- Colin 03:32, 2 August 2006 (EDT)

The text Colin deleted was:

  • and some girls will provide manual relief if the client appears to want it, but nothing beyond that is generally offered.

As I see it, that text should be there, or perhaps made more precise:

  • and most girls will provide manual relief, typically for 50 RMB, if the client appears to want it, but nothing beyond that is generally offered.

There are two reasons it should be there.

  • One is that many men may want that service — it is far more fun than doing it yourself and both cheaper and safer than prostitutes. I'd say that this is a perfectly valid thing to have in a travel guide. However, current policy seems to disallow it. Methinks this is an example that shows the policy needs change.
  • Another reason is that men who don't want it should be aware of the practice so they can say "bu yao" early on. This might be a valid reason even within existing policy.

Pashley 03:58, 2 August 2006 (EDT)

My personal opinion is that what you suggest is informative and fine — however, I don't see a way to square the "50 RMB" bit with the policy. I'd suggest rewording it along the lines of "...good massage, although even then the masseuse may suggest manual relief if the client appears to want it. You'll be liable for a hefty tip if you let her go ahead, so just say bu yao (don't want) if this is not what you had in mind." Jpatokal 05:43, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
I have scoliosis and sometimes parts of my back hurt when massaged. "Bu yao" will work for that too, right? I guess I'll make it more general. -- Colin 15:04, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Alas, your new bowdlerized version now omits the critical bit of information that, if you do let her go ahead, you'll need to pay more than the listed price, so I've taken the liberty of reverting. As for massage being painful, I've found that "ouch!" works pretty well no matter where you go... Jpatokal 21:32, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Ouch is rude compared to simply asking. Also, as TVB has already pointed out, it's unneccessary to point out that money is involved for this since that is obvious. -- Colin 22:27, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
"Rude"? It's a rather instinctive reaction if you ask me! I don't see TV saying what you tell me he's saying, and at any rate, I think your assumption that it's "obvious" is a little blithe as there's no sign outside saying "handjobs 50 yuan". Here in squeaky-clean Singapore, there was recently a crackdown of "health centers" (fully legit-looking to the untrained eye) specializing in extra services, and I can fully see a backpacker wandering into one by accident and getting a little more than he bargained for. Jpatokal 22:46, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
I will confess to reading more into TVB's comment that he actually said.
What you have said about Singapore matches up both with China and matches up with news stories I've read about the US. So it's pretty clear this isn't a travel-related issue anyway since it occurs in all countries where Prostitution is illegal. Between the common sense nature of indicating one's lack of interest in the activity, and the worldwide commonness of the situation, I see no reason why we need to go beyond how to say no, nor can I comprehend how pricing information is relevant to saying no. -- Colin 23:10, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Prostitution is actually legal in Singapore, but unlicensed handjobs in massage parlors aren't. (Don't ask, it doesn't make any sense to me either.) Jpatokal 23:32, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
There are people who would readily hand over an extra $X for a "happy ending", but would balk at $X*10. For some it's a question of ethics or morality, but for others economics is the deciding factor. I'm not in favor of listing prices per se, but I'm afraid that matter is relevant. P.S. "TVer" is not a meaningful subset of my name. Sorry if the CamelCase surname is confusing, but I inherited it that way and I'm not about to disappoint Dad (again) by abandoning it. I use "TVB" as my initials, if anyone wishes to abbreviate me that way. :) - Todd VerBeek 00:03, 3 August 2006 (EDT)
Fixed the abbrev. -- sorry bout that.
Whether it's $X or $X*10 is the customer's problem in my view, not ours. The only case where we'd need to warn them is if they are thinking it's $0 because the massuese is doing it out of the kindness of their heart. As we've already warned them that some massage parlors are brothels, I can't imagine them seriously thinking money is not involved -- that would required Bushian levels of underthinking [3]. -- Colin 00:48, 3 August 2006 (EDT)
I'm going to feel a lot more comfortable without the price information. I think something along the lines of Jpatokal's text above sounds OK. Maj 09:17, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
I rewrote it along those lines and Colin promptly deleted the reference to "manual relief", again. This strikes me as nonsense. Pashley 16:35, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
What's the problem with the way it is now? The only issue I take up is that it should be noted that prostitution is illegal despite being socially acceptable. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 16:47, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
I don't have a problem with information about the general cost, but the slope feels pretty slippery when we start quoting numerical prices. Keeping that information vague may be a slight disservice to the traveler (insert "the traveler comes first" joke here), but "putting a price on it" is a threshhold that many people are uncomfortable with. (And aren't prices for sexual services rather variable anyways?) I'd suggest we draw the line short of quoting numbers and try to stick to description, analogy, or comparison (e.g. "more than the cost of the massage itself") instead. - Todd VerBeek 16:10, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Sorry for pulling unusual circumstances out of my hat, but is there any chance that someone may get an underage masseuse and the client could get busted because he received "manual relief"? Are Chinese laws on the side of prostitution or against? I really don't distinguish between a "massage" and the hiring of a prostitute. I guess my question is would the Chinese government see it the same way I do? -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 16:24, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Prostitution is illegal but ubiquitous. One could get busted, whether or not she was underage. Pashley 16:30, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Wikitravel:Illegal activities policy bans information about illegal activities except in a few unusual cases -- like it should be mentioned if the punishment will be unexpectedly severe (like drugs and Singapore), or if it affect the traveller's safety. So even if the Sex tourism policy was changed, the Illegal activities policy would still apply to China. -- Colin 16:56, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
If you want to include sexual service information generally, you will need to change existing policy first, then change the text. Jpatokal's phrasing was carefully worded as advice for avoiding unwanted sexual services in order to avoid the current policy. If it had been advice for someone seeking sexual services, it would not have been permitted under existing policy. -- Colin 16:56, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
I am trying to change the policy, which I think is unnecessarily restrictive, by initiating discussion here. I was tempted to follow Evan's advice above "Wikitravel has an excellent and time-tested mechanism for changing policies. It's called the Edit button.", and just change it, but this is clearly controversial so I'm doing it here instead. A draft of what I would like to see is at User talk:Pashley/STP.
Just editing is a good way to try for a policy change when no one is commenting on your proposal, and you're unsure if there's any objections. Sometimes you have to plunge forward before the objections come out. But once a change is contested, we have to discuss it and find consensus before moving away from the status quo. -- Colin 18:29, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
You note that "Jpatokal's phrasing was carefully worded ...", but I copied it almost exactly and you promptly deleted parts of it. Pashley 17:42, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Ask yourself, "what traveller found the removed text useful?" If you have an answer that conforms with policy, we might need to address that. But I thought the reason for the sentence was to help travellers who wanted a non-sexual massage avoid undesired situations. -- Colin 18:29, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Under the definition as given in current policy -- "Sex tourism, for this discussion, is the practice of travelling to countries with liberal or poorly enforced sex laws for the purpose of engaging in sexual activities." -- the hand jobs in Chinese massage shops are not "sex tourism". No-one travels to China for those. Some may come for the whores, but that is another issue. Pashley 17:47, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
Colin's point was that the illegal-activities policy would have to be changed as well. - Todd VerBeek 18:02, 2 August 2006 (EDT)
I agree with Colin and I also do not understand why we need to get into pricing a hand job or blow job if the only point was to tell someone a masseuse may feel you up. (sapphire)
Right, we don't really need price info, even though some travellers might want that. I think we do need to mention that the masseuse is likely to fondle some. Pashley 03:41, 5 August 2006 (EDT)
Personally, I don't know why someone would travel to get laid when it would be easier to go to a bar buy a girl a couple of drinks and ask her out on a date. (sapphire)
I certainly do! I'm in my late 50s, somewhat overweight and was not particularly handsome even as a young man. In China, I get far more female attention than at home:
  • If I sit in the right bar with a male friend of similar age, English-speaking students and professionals will gather to talk to us. Many are good-looking women, any age from highschool to 40 with late 20s most common. Of course the vast majority of them are not the least bit interested in sex with us, but they are still great company. Many will happily play translator or tourist guide or dinner companion.
  • I've had several marriage proposals, all from attractive women in their 30s. Some were prepared to pay me. Of course, they wanted the passport more than the bearer, and they almost certainly would have dumped me after getting the visa, but it might have been fun in the meanwhile.
  • Quite a few bars here have bar girls — professional flirts who pour your drinks, light your smokes, etc., cuddle a bit and want to play drinking games so you drink more and they get more comission. Almost none are available for a quick trip home to bed, though quite a few are "kept women" for wealthy, usually married, Chinese men. These girls can be fun too.
  • Then there are the hookers; plentiful, cheap and some are gorgeous
  • Finally, there are the massage girls who may or may not give hand jobs but are fun either way.

Pashley 03:41, 5 August 2006 (EDT)

Maybe, I'm old fashioned, but I dislike the entire idea of even providing the slightest information that could be used for getting sex for money even if we say our purpose is otherwise. I understand that in some places prostitution is perfectly acceptable (Hell, in Austria a prostitute damn near gets the same kinds of benefits a government employee does) but I still think we need think about the who needs the information? Do the children and families that use Wikitravel need this information? I'd hope not. The lone business traveller? Maybe, but I think it makes much more sense to keep Wikitravel rated PG - PG-13. Also, since IB is hosting the servers I think it would be a good idea to avoid this, because of damage it would do to their reputation and in turn hurt Wikitravel. -- Andrew Haggard (Sapphire) 00:11, 3 August 2006 (EDT)

In case you need the newest issue of Hustler[edit]

Monroe (Ohio), a town outside of Cincinnati is now known solely as the home to a Hustler Hollywood Superstore, which seems to be the town's sole tourist attraction. (There's pleanty do here, but hmm hmm seems to be the main "See" and "Do".) Would it be appropriate to list the store and should I provide a link to Hustler's web site? (It's website is not exactly kid friendly) -- Sapphire 16:04, 7 October 2006 (EDT)

Can we get some comments on this issue? -- Sapphire 21:38, 10 November 2006 (EST)
I have no comments on the newest issue of Hustler. --Evan 22:58, 14 November 2006 (EST)
Should I take that as I should save my money? -- Sapphire 23:00, 14 November 2006 (EST)
I'd say list it, since you say it's "the town's sole tourist attraction". If I were in the area, I might visit, if only to howl at the tackiness. Pashley 22:06, 13 November 2006 (EST)

Strip clubs part 2[edit]

This has been brought up before and I'd like to get a consensus on this, because policy does not address the idea of listing strip clubs. Should we allow strip clubs to be listed in Wikitravel guides? I really don't care one way or the other, but if we decide to allow strip clubs to be covered there should be no more than a set number such has five. Also, I think if a strip club can also be called a brothel that policy should forbid that "strip club" to be listed. -- 21:38, 10 November 2006 (EST)

I'd say list strip clubs if they're on offer, except in places where they're illegal. If someone were crazy enough to open such a club in, say, Saudi Arabia where Islamic law applies (unfaithful wife can be stoned, lord knows what they'd do to strippers!), then we'd want nothing to do with it and they'd not want publicity.
I don't think forbidding a listing because it's also a brothel makes sense. To me, brothels are the least weird of sexual entertainments. It strikes me as much more perverse to go to a strip club to leer than to pay a girl for sex. I'd be interested in comment from the female point of view; which would be more degrading? Pashley 22:22, 13 November 2006 (EST)
Well, I'm not a woman, but I've been dragged into strip/gogo bars by no less than four different members of the fairer sex. One was a lesbian, one was bi-curious, and the other two were just plain old curious. I don't think there's anything particularly perverse about appreciating the unclothed female form, and they didn't think so either... and in some places like Bangkok and Jakarta, there's not much nightlife left if you steer clear of the dodgy stuff ! Jpatokal 22:41, 13 November 2006 (EST)
Barring any objections we'll admend policy to clearly allow strip clubs. Should we include these listings in with other clubs, bars, or discos? I'd like to distinguish between sexually oriented clubs and the tamer clubs. I think that should be a requisite for strip club listings to avoid sending a Wikitraveler to an XXX establishment when they may have intended to have visited a tamer establishment.
Lastly, current sex policy states we should not list "locations or listings of bordellos and bars where prostitutes can be found" so I think if a so-called "strip club" is also a brothel we cannot list it. -- Sapphire 14:07, 14 November 2006 (EST)
I don't think a separate section is necessary, unless of course the Drink section gets so big that it's already split up into bars, nightclubs, etc. If it's an out-and-out strip club, then it should be made clear in the description.
Also, that line about can be found is hopelessly vague and I think I've complained about it before: I don't think you can find a five-star hotel anywhere on the planet that doesn't have prostitutes sitting in the bar. Here's my suggestion:
Locations or listings of bordellos or bars that sell sexual services
Sound OK? So the bar in the Hyatt and even the ground-floor go-go bars in Bangkok squeak in, but the Bunny Ranch, the Golden Palace de Sauna KTV and the second-floor BJ bars in Patpong are out. Jpatokal 22:06, 14 November 2006 (EST)
I like that wording. As for the distinguishing between sexual establishments and non-sex establishments I think a very simple disclaimer saying "Strip club" "sexual establishment" would work. We don't need a big blatant banner saying "This establishment is geared towardven. -- Sapphire 22:32, 14 November 2006 (EST)
I like that change because it clarifies that a bar in a brothel doesn't get listed which seemed like a way of evading the policy. -- Colin 02:52, 15 November 2006 (EST)
This is what I changed the text to:
Locations or listings of bordellos or bars that sell sexual services (strip clubs and adult oriented stores are acceptable, but do not link to graphic websites) -- Sapphire 01:19, 15 November 2006 (EST)
"Graphic"? C'mon. If they have a home page, then link to it and let the traveler decide if they're going to get a heart attack from seeing a picture of a mammary. Jpatokal 02:15, 15 November 2006 (EST)
I'm just trying to play it safe for the kids. The last thing you want are these bastards barking over a kid clicking on a link to hottest new donkey show in a given destination, which he heard about on Wikitravel. -- Sapphire 02:38, 15 November 2006 (EST)
Kid-safe is not currently a Goal. As long as the content at the other end of the link is not a surprise to anyone who read the listing, I don't think we should make that our problem. (I can understand that some children are too young to be smart enough to avoid clicking on links that will take them to content they aren't ready for. But as I parent I'd like to know what kind of total moron leaves a child like that unattended at a web browser -- they're making the rest of us parents look bad). -- Colin 02:52, 15 November 2006 (EST)


I think we should abandon the term "sex tourism", at least the way it is defined here. What we are actually talking about is "prostitution tourism", no more no less. Name the spade, and let travellers go for their "normal" sex. Mariusm98 21:08, 21 August 2008 (EDT)


why not wrap it all up under a ==Sex== header? including the following info:

acceptability of public displays of intmacy/nudity

  • how tolerated is homosexuality vs. heterosexuality?
  • what constitutes unnacceptable? kissing? holding hands?
  • what levels of nudidity are locally tolerated? two-pieces on the beach? bear ankles a no-no? no boobs exposed? what about topless sunbathing?

local sex laws?

  • is that hot 19 year old gonna land you in jail for paedophillia?
  • what if you pay her?
  • any funny laws on having sex with someone else's spouse?


  • std's prevalent locally? (aids in africa for example)
  • where to get contraseptions
    • emergency contraception
    • std treatment
  • any local problems like, e.g., the natives being in the habbit of a cute girl leading guys back to her place, where they are mugged by big men?
  • how common is rape?

local 'sex' places:

  • pick up joints
  • sex-shows
  • prostitutes (but only if common local knoledge, e.g. red-light district?)
    • ethics -- are local prostitutes free or forced?

with reguards to 'local sex places' (esp. prostitutes), the only real (non-puritan) problem is the age of the prostitutes. a few suggestions on policy wrt this:

Neutral: it's not up to us to legislate morality: if it happens (e.g., if there is, in fact, a red-light district with x-year-old whores) then include details about it. Readers can use the knowledge to avoid or go to as their morals dictate.

Legal: if it's locally legal, include it; elsewize don't (goes against the illegal activities policy). Avoids enforcing one countries age of consent on the entire world (i'm british -- i'd prefer we could keep our own AoC of 16, and not have anything pertaining to sex with 16 y/o's excluded from this wiki as 'paedophillia' please). also avoids presumably endless debate about wether 'child sex' is sex with <14 y/o's, <16 y/o's, <18 y/o's etc etc etc.

Practical: if the site owners could get in trouble under local law, don't report it (from above, this means canadian law?). if anyone doesn't like it, they can a new wikitravel website, as this is open-source.

Safe: no info on under-18 sex. 18 is high enough that that should ensure we're not counted as 'aiding and abbetting in under-age sex-tourism' in virtually every country.

My vote is for Neutral, tho site-owner may want to go for Practical :D

Please try to be aware of just how ingraned bigotry is wrt sex. sex isn't dirty in and of itself, it shouldn't be suppressed by us, and just having one sub-section per article won't make us a 'sex-toursist's handbook' (i.e., exclusion based on 'they can get that info elsewhere' argument -- so what? they could get all this info elsewhere).

-- 20:35, 10 January 2009 (EST)