Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
thesis_access.pdf (1.7 MB)

An exploratory case study on child sex tourism in a Pacific country: Samoa

Download (1.7 MB)
posted on 2021-11-15, 02:26 authored by Christiansen, Lurlene Virginia

In 2006, The Committee of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, expressed concern about rising tourism in Samoa, and the possibility of associated sexual exploitation of local children. The Committee had recommended that the Government of Samoa devote further research to the sexual exploitation of children, including identifying its scope, and root causes. This thesis became a response to The Committee’s recommendation to Samoa. I carried this study out in Apia, Samoa (2009). It presented three research objectives as follows, 1) To report the scope of child sex tourism in Samoa, 2) To identify, and report on the root causes that contributed to child sex tourism in Samoa, and 3) To present a set of recommendations as a baseline foundation for policy, advocacy, and research. Methodology was a qualitative, single embedded case study. Data sources were mixed-method and multi-perspective, aimed at triangulation to enhance trustworthy results. Data analysis was inductive. Anecdotal evidence revealed child sex tourism is a serious problem in Samoa. Victims were girls and boys (including straight and transgendered ones), perpetrators were all male; preferential and opportunistic. The data revealed 10 root causes facilitating CST in Samoa, as follows: 1) Poverty, 2) Hospitality, 3) Philanthropic exploitation, 4) Marginalisation of boys, 5) Family under pressure, and family dysfunction, 6) Unsafe schools, 7) Ifoga, or the culture of shame, 8) Sex tourism, 9) Tourism was excused of any action, and 10) Lack of awareness about child sex tourism. Additionally, four substantial root causes were identified, as follows: 1) Complacency, 2) Attitudes toward data collection, 3) Child sex tourism had to be ‘proven’ by statistics, and 4) Perpetrators beaten and deported leading to under reporting. This was a first study in Samoa. The baseline results this study presents, are important for policy development, advocacy, and for the academic research community, offer a platform to build on, both quantitative and qualitative.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Social Science Research

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970116 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of Human Society

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

Va’aomanū Pasifika


Fairbairn-Dunlop, Peggy; Kirkman, Alison