Nadia Shapkina, assistant professor of sociology at Kansas State University, said about 95 percent of sex tourists are men from wealthy countries who travel to tourist destinations -- such as Greece, Thailand or Australia -- for both entertainment and sex.
"Sex trafficking delivers women to customers, but sex tourism delivers customers to the place of consumption," Shapkina said in a statement. "Sex tourism becomes a very lucrative business. Technology, communication and transportation all allow that, and they enable the trafficking of women as well."
Sex tourism operations are often led by skilled businessmen who know how to appeal and advertise to middle- and upper-class men with money and resources to travel and consume sexual services, Shapkina said.
"It is hard to estimate the size of the sex trade because it is so underground," Shapkina said. "But what we can say is that it is very transnationalized and even the United States is affected by this negative aspect of globalization."
Shapkina presented her findings at "Gendered Commodity Chains: Bringing Households and Women into Global Commodity Chain Analysis," an international conference at Binghamton University in New York. An article based on the conference presentation is scheduled to be published next year.