Sex tourism is illegal in the United Kingdom and there are now more than 500,000 people registered as sex tourists.
There are now about 1,000 registered sex tourists each year.
This means that around a quarter of a million people in the country have sex tourist visas.
We are a part of the problem, say some British MPs.
So what are we doing about it?
We need to address it.
We need a strategy.
One that’s not only legal but also effective.
But we have to get out of the habit of blaming sex tourism for the problem.
As I wrote in the Financial Times last week, the idea that there is a problem of sex tourism is so ingrained in our society that the phrase is practically a cliché.
But it’s not a cliché at all.
It’s not just a buzzword.
Sex tourism can be a big problem, says Sarah-Jane, from the Sex Tourism and Exploitation Centre at the University of Birmingham.
It is the big story in the news.
It gets covered on the front pages of newspapers.
It has the effect of bringing us to our knees.
And that’s a very bad thing, she says.
There is a very real risk that sex tourism will lead to more crime and the rise of organised crime.
And it can be just as dangerous as drug trafficking.
So how do we tackle the problem?
Well, first we need to make it a reality.
There’s a lot of debate about how we should tackle it.
Some people say that sex tourists should be required to register as sex offenders.
Others say that they should be able to buy sex on the internet.
There have been discussions about requiring sex tourists to register or to give a statement.
But all of these are controversial and would take time and money to implement.
What we need are tools to help people to get into the UK and stay.
That’s why we have the Sexual Exploitations and Trafficking Prevention Strategy, which is aimed at preventing the commercial exploitation of sex tourists, including sex tourism.
And finally, we need action on the part of our government.
The Government has committed £15 million to tackling the problem of international sex tourism, with funding of up to £25 million coming from the UK Government’s National Crime Agency.
So why is it so hard to make this work?
Because we are not doing the hard work, says Dr Sarah-Anne Fitch, director of the Sexual Assault and Victimisation Centre at Oxford University.
In the past few years, there has been a lot more talk about sex tourism and the internet than there has ever been.
But there’s a big difference between talking about it and doing it.
There has been little action in the past.
Sex tourist visas are not regulated.
They are available to people who are not registered sex offenders, so we know who’s in the queue.
So there’s no way of knowing who’s actually going in to register.
So the only way we can do the hard stuff is to get the right people into the country.
So we need better monitoring of people who come into the United States, for example, or the EU.
And we need tougher laws.
But for now, it’s very hard to change the way we think about the problem or the way the Government talks about it.
But the Government must do the work.
It should be taking action on this issue, says John Maitland, the chairman of the British Medical Association, in a speech to the Royal Society of Medicine.
We should have the legal framework in place to deal with sex tourism; we should have some form of protection against the people who might exploit them.
We have got to get better at making sure that people are in the right places.
And there is much more we can learn from the United Nations, says Professor Stephen Fazio, from King’s College London, who was part of a UK delegation to the UN last year to discuss the problem with a group of countries.
But this is not the only problem.
The United States has some of the worst sex tourism in the world.
The UK has one of the highest rates of sex trafficking.
And so we have a lot to learn from our neighbours.
And when we do, we should be learning from ourselves.
The Sex Tourism Campaign is an independent initiative that looks at the impact of sex tourist tourism on the communities that are affected, and their experiences, and how we can improve our own response.
This article appeared in the March edition of the Financial Review.
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