Tijuana, Mexico — Tourists in the country’s tourist hot spots are reporting a rise in sex tourism.
More than 10,000 tourists are now living in Mexico and their numbers have more than doubled since 2011, according to the tourism ministry.
The surge is largely due to Mexico’s booming sex industry, which has grown from the small number of hotel rooms booked each year to a market worth $3.4 billion in 2016, according the government.
Some of the most popular hotels are in the cities of Tijuana and Veracruz.
While the government has increased efforts to tackle the problem, a report from the UN Institute for Economic and Social Affairs (IESE) shows that while sex tourism has been curbed in some regions of the country, its presence has continued to grow.
The report found that while the number of tourists visiting Mexico increased by more than 60 percent between 2016 and 2017, the number in Verac, Tijuana or Tlaxcala jumped by a whopping 100 percent.
“We’re seeing a rise of people visiting Tijuana from Mexico,” said Teresa Lopez, who works for a tourism agency in Mexico City.
“In the past two years, the tourist industry has grown by over 300 percent.”
While the majority of the tourist arrivals in Mexico are Mexicans and tourists from South America, sex tourists have been coming from Europe and the Middle East.
The United Nations Population Fund estimated in 2016 that there are currently more than 10 million sex tourists in Mexico, a figure that is expected to increase.
In the country itself, the majority come from Asia, Africa and the Caribbean.
According to the IESE report, tourism has also been linked to corruption, violence, human trafficking and illegal immigration.
The sex industry is often used to pay for drugs, and the sex workers often come from impoverished backgrounds.