Cuba has long been a favourite sun-spot for Canadians. It’s relatively cheap, loaded with resorts and just 2,300 km away.
But some tourists are drawn by more its unspoiled beaches and fine cigars. The Caribbean island has become a magnet for men eager to engage in sex with pre-pubescent girls, some as young as four. A confidential 2011 RCMP report on child sex tourism, obtained by a Star investigative team using Canada’s Access to Information Act, identifies Cuba as one of the most popular destinations in the Americas for child sex tourism.
The Canadian government, while acknowledging sex offenders are going abroad to exploit children, has done little to stop them. The Cuban government, eager for hard currency, denies that a problem even exists.
“There are no exit records that are kept of these individuals so it’s very difficult for us to know whether someone is in fact leaving the country for these reasons,” Vic Toews, the federal minister of public safety, told the Star. “My preference is that these individuals are prosecuted within the jurisdiction where they are discovered.”