BAHRAIN is facing an invasion of "sex tourists" from around the Gulf in the summer holiday season, it has been claimed. It is cheaper and easier to travel to Manama than go to the Far East, says Manama Municipal Council towns and villages development committee chairman Abdulmajeed Al Sebea'a.
He has warned of a potentially out of control situation due to the expected influx of Gulf-based secondary school graduates and university students, with pimps already prepared to meet demand.
"We are in trouble and whether the government says everything is normal or not, there is a real ongoing problem, which will reach its height within the coming days and continue until Ramadan, mid-August," said Mr Al Sebea'a.
"Prostitution is obvious even to the blind and what are the Interior, and Culture and Information ministries doing?
"The problem is that hotels are owned by VIPs in the country and police and tourism inspectors turn a blind eye most of the time to what's going on.
"Recently I called the police asking them to come to a hotel, but they left me waiting for around an hour and when they came the prostitutes had already gone with customers."
Mr Al Sebea'a said prostitution often led to other forms of crime.
"I have already heard that pimps were bringing in young prostitutes to meet that demand and unfortunately within the coming days the streets will be full with them," he said.
"We are already seeing an increase in crime and with those prostitutes around more is expected.
"For example, we will see young drunk men fighting over who will take the prostitute home and men not differentiating between prostitutes and decent women (they see on the streets)."
Mr Al Sebea'a, who is charged with providing regular reports on the issue to the council, said Bahrain had become a sex tourism destination for young people.
"GCC youngsters prefer not to buy tickets and accommodation in the Far East when they can drive for less than an hour and reach Bahrain to get the same services cheaper," he said.
"It is a worrying issue that our country has a reputation for being a destination for sex tourists, but that won't end until the law is respected and real measures are taken.
"This is not happening at the moment, because of a number of VIPs view themselves as above the law and that they are unstoppable, but the council will mount further pressure until something is done."
The GDN reported earlier this month that council chairman Majeed Millad Al Jazeeri, who is investigating claims of vice in Manama hotels, was offered sex for money at the first one he visited.
An Asian woman in hotel uniform reportedly approached him and offered him sex for BD2.
It was the first in a series of inspection visits due to be carried out by Mr Al Jazeeri after he received complaints from residents that drunken men and women end up in their backyards.
He is compiling a report that will be submitted to the Culture and Information Ministry and Interior Ministry on violations committed by hotels.
Mr Al Jazeeri is now campaigning to shut down bars and discos in Manama hotels in an attempt to rid the country of sex tourism.
Interior Ministry officials did not respond to the claims made by Mr Al Sebea'a yesterday.