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Foreign tourists, especially Canadians and Spaniards, are travelling to Cuba in surprising numbers for sex — and not just with adult prostitutes. They are finding underage girls and boys, a joint investigation by The Toronto Star and El Nuevo Herald has found.

Havana’s conspicuous scenes of street-level prostitution are the outward face of a hidden prostitution trade in minors, some as young as four, some with families complicit in their exploitation, the newspapers found.

Cuba holds unique allure for Western sex tourists. It is closer and cheaper than other sex destinations, such as Thailand. And HIV rates are lower than in other Caribbean sex tourism hotspots, such as the Dominican Republic or Haiti.

While the size of the island’s underage sex market remains a mystery — the communist government denies it is a problem and fosters the image of an island free of the social ills that plague other nations — it clearly goes on.

Continue reading on www.miamiherald.com

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