Many tourists who have attempted to engage in prostitution in the country have lost their money and property. There is an increase in criminal activity, especially for foreigners. Sex workers agree to provide services to clients, but often openly or discreetly steal their money. In this way, the initiative aims to combat a problem that, according to Irvin Pérez of the Cartagena Tourist Office, has not been recognized as such for a long time: “Like any holiday destination, we were afraid of being demonized and suffering a loss of visitors,” he says. But the city decided to face the problem and take an absolutely clear stand against these illegal activities. Their involvement blurs the lines between legality and illegality and often normalizes exploitative practices. Many sex workers are desperate because of the low income they earn through exploitation by criminal groups and tourists and are taking matters into their own hands to earn extra income. The original intention behind the legalization of prostitution in Colombia was to curb sex trafficking. However, the problem persists and affects women, men and children alike. In 2019 alone, Colombian authorities identified 124 victims of sex trafficking, and there is more evidence that 12% of sex workers are children.
Usually young travelers who want to see the sights, but also indulge in the dark side of Colombian tourism like drugs and prostitution. Due to their shared hostel accommodation and tight budget, their involvement in the sex trade is likely to be limited to quick encounters in dark alleys or love hotels. As mentioned above, child prostitution is illegal in Colombia and those involved can be imprisoned if arrested. A problem arises for tourists when child prostitutes lie about their age. Experienced people would have ways to get around this problem and avoid using the services of minors. Another high-profile scandal involved Colombian police. The scandal revealed that prominent members of the national police were operating a homosexual prostitution ring. Several officers and congressmen paid for the cadets` sexual services with cars, favors and money to the network`s operators.
At the national level, organized criminal networks, some of which are linked to illegal armed groups, are responsible for trafficking for the purpose of sexual slavery, and armed conflicts have left a large number of victims of internal trafficking vulnerable.  Like the rampart that has protected the historic centre of Cartagena from invaders since the end of the 16th century, the symbolic protective wall of the “Muralla” initiative is intended to protect children and young people from danger. To this end, local authorities work hand in hand with the tourism sector. Taxi drivers, bartenders, hoteliers. Thousands of them have learned through workshops how to recognize and report illegal activities. The medical use of marijuana is legal and there are several companies licensed to grow and sell it. Colombia hosts an international symposium on medical marijuana that includes academic and clinical presentations, as well as a sales area for oils, shampoos, and other cannabis products. A sad trend linked to Colombia`s lax prostitution laws, sex tourism is prevalent in major Colombian cities such as Medellin and Cartagena. Although prostitution may be legal in Colombia, pimping or organizing sex tourism is not: Medellin recently began arresting a foreign sex tourism provider. Some people may see the popularity of sex tourism in Colombia as a business opportunity, but make no mistake: the law provides for sentences of three to eight years in prison for facilitating these activities.
He found help at a shelter for underage victims: “When I arrived, a kind of detoxification process began for me. I owe my life to this house,” he explains. There he learned a lot about self-esteem, defensive tactics and legal rights. Lessons that he now passes on to other young people – he himself becomes another cornerstone to strengthen the protective wall of Cartagena “La Muralla ¡Soy Yo!”. As in virtually every city in the world, illicit drugs exist in many parts of Colombia. Cocaine is still grown illegally and exported to countries around the world, including the United States and Canada. This is not evident in most parts of the country. So if you`re not looking for it, you won`t find it.
People are outraged these days that prostitution has spread to the city`s fanciest neighborhoods such as Parque Lleras and El Poblado. Taxi drivers often work hand-in-hand with prostitutes or prostitution rings that mediate sex workers, delivering tourists directly to the sex worker`s home for a small commission. Red light zones exist in all major cities and, due to lax prostitution laws, clients can surrender without fear of prosecution. Although Colombia has legalized prostitution, the industry is subject to several laws. The main goal is to protect sex workers from exploitation, as sex trafficking remains a massive problem for the industry. A number of factors put children in Colombia at risk of sexual exploitation, leaving them defenceless. War and drug trafficking have changed family structures that would have provided security and care in normal times. The war also resulted in the displacement of countless families, some of whom were soldiers during the war. Displaced children are particularly vulnerable to forced prostitution, especially in a declining economy.  The Colombian government is making efforts to combat child prostitution, forced prostitution, sexual slavery, and human trafficking. Child prostitution in Colombia has become a significant problem, reaching new heights due to the popularity of sex tourism. Countless children are abducted from their homes every year, while several others are taken from abroad and forced to work against their will.
Many children are forced into this profession by family members who see it as a way to reduce the financial burden on the family. Prostitution in Colombia is legal, but it is not completely allowed to function like other industries. People are only allowed to open brothels in state-designated areas, and violating this rule can result in severe penalties. In addition, the government has also begun to take action against people who promote sex tourism. Many sex tourists who are now in Colombia have already traveled to Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic or Thailand to be legally paid for sex. Still, the abundance of prostitution in Colombia remains a Colombian problem that cannot be entirely blamed on foreigners, some sex tourism organizers said. “La Muralla ¡Soy Yo!” was founded in 2009 by the NGO Renacer and is dedicated to the fight against child prostitution in Cartagena. The concept: a combination of prevention, education, reporting and enforcement.
Child prostitution long ignored for fear of stigma The prostitution industry in Colombia has also had its fair share of significant scandals that have kept it in the news in recent years. Here are the most famous ones you may have come across at some point: One source said that most high-end hotels in Colombia make money from prostitution by charging an additional fee of between $15 and $30 for guest prostitutes. Colombia`s tourism industry is crucial to its economy. It is responsible for 2% of the country`s GDP and generates 52% of foreign exchange. However, this has a bleak consequence. Colombia is among the 12% of countries where prostitution is legal. This has led the country to become a popular place for sex tourism, even though the organization is a crime. Today, Medellín, home to a once vigorous (and declining) conservatism, is referred to as an “open-air” brothel.
Cheaper prostitution caves formed some time ago around the church in downtown Veracruz. The sex industry flourished along with the degradation of the downtown core. Drug trafficking is widespread, and pimps and their “daughters” (as some still call themselves) are widespread. Boys and girls are available – and often violently – in Berrío Park and Botero Square, alongside the sculptures that are the pride of the city. In short, the legalization of prostitution in Colombia should minimize crime, but the goal has not yet been achieved.