United States : G&F Tours--A Call for Law Enforcement to End Sex Tourism

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1 Oct 2005

"Do you need an innocent in need of seduction or a raw nymphomaniac whore? ... Do you like it nice or nasty?  … Maybe you've heard stories about sample blow jobs…?  It's all true!" (G&F Tours website)

G&F Tours boasts of its “affordable, expertly guided Asian sex tours.”  It promises safe enjoyment of “the best that Southeast Asian nightlife has to offer on your sex tour vacation.”  It further lures potential customers by advertising that tourists can have sex with a different girl every day and not have to pay until the next morning.

For over seventeen years Gunter Frentz, the owner/operator of G&F Tours, has been organizing sex tours to Thailand, the Philippines and Cambodia.  His company was first located in Miami, Florida then in New Orleans, Louisiana, and now in Forth Worth, Texas.  G&F Tours currently advertises group tours for ten nights in Thailand or the Philippines or a combination of both for a price ranging from $1,525 to $2,670.  Individual tours range in price from $1,715 to $3,225.  For this fee, in addition to arranging airline travel and hotel accommodations for travelers, G&F provides on-site tour guides in the destination countries to escort customers to bars and clubs where they can buy sex.  The G&F website offers “friendly, experienced” guides “to help you find just the right girl and explain how everything works and what everything costs.”  In short, for a fee Gunter Frentz transports men to foreign countries, mainly Thailand, and facilitates their efforts to patronize prostitution.  He himself calls these trips “sex tours.”

Testimonials from G&F sex tourists, posted on the company’s website, praise the quantity and quality of sex that can be purchased in Thailand.  These testimonials describe prostitution-related activities on the tours, and extol the low cost of buying sex.  As one G&F sex tourist explained, “for a 350 baht fee ($14), I could take her back to my hotel, fuck her all night…and tip her 1000 baht ($40) in the morning, or whenever I was done with her.”  Some testimonials compare the subservient nature of Asian prostituted women to their Western counterparts.  One G&F sex tourist recounts that a Thai woman he had paid for sex got down on her knees to put his socks and shoes on his feet.  Another G&F sex tourist notes that “[e]ven though [Gunter Frentz] had told us that the minimum age requirement for a girl to work as a dancer in a club was 18 years, I found it hard to believe that at least a couple of dancers were that old.”  Nongovernmental organizations in Thailand and the Philippines have verified that a substantial number of girls working as bar girls and prostitutes are indeed minors.

By some estimates, one quarter of all international sex tourists are from the United States.  The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 recognizes that sex tourism is a means through which the commercial sexual exploitation of women and girls has added to the growth of the international sex industry and the demand for sex trafficking.  According to the Trafficking in Persons National Security Presidential Directive of 2003, “Prostitution and related activities, which are inherently harmful and dehumanizing, contribute to the phenomenon of trafficking in persons, as does sex tourism, which is an estimated $1 billion per year business worldwide.”  The United Nations estimates that sex trafficking generates approximately $7 billion in annual revenues. 

The Mann Act, a federal law, criminalizes an individual who knowingly transports another in interstate or foreign commerce “with intent that such individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense. . .”  The Act also bars an individual from inducing or coercing another to be transported for the purpose of prostitution or other sex-related crimes.  Over the past few years, Equality Now has repeatedly contacted the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Louisiana, where G&F tours was until very recently doing business, and urged these officials to prosecute G&F Tours under the Mann Act.  The officials contacted have not, however, taken action to initiate a prosecution, although the activities of G&F Tours, as described by the company itself and fully documented on its website, clearly fall within the scope of the Mann Act.  Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans, Gunter Frentz established a base in Forth Worth, Texas where he continues to operate his sex tour business.

While the U.S. Government in its annual Trafficking in Persons reports criticizes other governments for failing adequately to respond to the demand side of sex trafficking, the U.S Government has not done what it can to protect women and girls in other countries from falling prey to American sex tourists.  The End Demand for Sex Trafficking Act of 2005 has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Deborah Pryce, a Republican from Ohio, and Carolyn Maloney, a Democrat from New York, and in the Senate by John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, and Arlen Specter, a Republican from Pennsylvania.  The bill includes a provision that would amend the Mann Act to specifically state that individuals engaging in sexual activity for which they can be charged with a criminal offense include “a purchaser of commercial sexual activities.”  Passage of this amendment would clarify for federal prosecutors who have declined to enforce the law that the Mann Act can and should be used to prosecute U.S.-based sex tour operators.

G&F Tours is not the only sex tour agency operating from the United States.  Several other agencies exist across the United States that operate sex tours to Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.  Despite the plain language of the Mann Act, which calls for prosecution of individuals who transport individuals in interstate or foreign commerce with the intent that such individuals engage in prostitution-related activity, there have been no prosecutions of sex tour operators under this law.  Individuals who transport sex tourists could also be prosecuted under the federal Travel Act, which criminalizes those who use interstate or foreign commerce “with the intent to promote, manage, establish, carry on or facilitate the promotion, management, establishment, or carrying on, of any unlawful activity.”  Such activity would include pimping and/or the patronizing of prostitution in Thailand, for example, which are illegal there.  There have been no prosecutions of sex tour operators under this law either.  There have been no prosecutions of sex tour operators anywhere in the United States under any federal or state law, with the exception of Big Apple Oriental Tours, a sex tourism agency in New York whose operators are currently facing charges under New York state law.

What You Can Do: 

Please write to U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. and call on him to prosecute Gunter Frentz, owner/operator of G&F Tours, for knowingly and openly transporting individuals to other countries with the intent that they will patronize prostitution in contravention of the Mann Act and the Travel Act.  Point out that effective measures to combat sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation require a focus on and suppression of the demand side of the industry, including sex tourism, as the U.S. Government has recognized in its Trafficking in Persons National Security Presidential Directive of 2003 and its annual Trafficking in Persons Report.  Urge the Attorney General to clarify to all federal prosecutors that the activities of sex tourism companies fall within and constitute a violation of federal law, and to ensure that the Department of Justice takes action to shut down all sex tour companies operating from the United States.  Please also write to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas, let him know that G&F Tours has recently relocated to Forth Worth and ask him to take immediate action to shut down Gunter Frentz’s sex tour operation.

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr.
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20530, USA
Fax: +1 202-307-6777
E-mail: AskDOJ@usdoj.gov

U.S. Attorney Richard B. Roper
U.S. Attorney's Office-North District of Texas
Dallas Division
Earle Cabell Federal Building
1100 Commerce Street, Suite 300
Dallas, Texas 75242-1699, USA
Fax: +1 214-767-2898