Parents are Lulled Into a False Sense of Security
Nearly all major cruise lines offer children-only groups and clubs which are divided by age groups. The cruise lines advertise these clubs as being staffed by competent personnel and safe for children. Parents routinely rely upon the cruise lines’ assurances about the safety of these clubs registering their children to participate in them. What parents do not know is that often the staff that runs the children’s clubs and activities are perpetrators themselves. Cruise lines routinely hire their staff from countries that do not have the adequate infrastructure to have reliable crime background information databases.
Cruise lines claim to rely upon “hiring partners” to conduct background checks and to investigate the candidates. However, without methods to obtain crime background information, whatever investigation is done by the “hiring partners” is absolutely unreliable. Additionally, parents often assume that these “children only” clubs restrict access to others who are not supposed to be there such as persons over the age of 18 or that they will be notified if their children leave the clubs. Often, however, the clubs do not have any mechanisms to confirm the ages of the individuals entering or to prevent children from leaving the club without their parents’ permission. Thus, perpetrators often target minor victims by visiting these clubs and establishing friendships with minor children during the duration of the cruise. Then, once they have formed a relationship with their intended victims, they lure them to other areas of the ship to carry out their attacks.
In our experience, attackers routinely wait to assault their victims until the night before disembarkation knowing that victims often delay to make a report of their assault until a day or more after. This strategy also increases the perpetrators chances of getting away with their heinous crimes since it becomes increasingly difficult to obtain evidence against them once the cruise has ended.
Another reason parents are often lulled into a false sense of security are cameras all around the ship. Most parents trust that their children are safe wandering about the ship because there are cameras all around. Parents are always shocked to learn that the cruise line closed circuit television cameras are not monitored by cruise lines.