Romania, occasionally spelled Rumania, and formerly also spelled Roumania is a unitary semi-presidential republic located in Southeastern-Central Europe, north of the Balkan Peninsula and on the western shore of the Black Sea. It borders Hungary, Serbia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Bulgaria. The age of consent in Romania is 18. As of 2006, Britons interested in child sex were increasingly going to short-haul destinations such as Romania, where children were more readily available because of poverty, weak laws and the presence of local people working as go-betweens to facilitate child sex.
Markus Roth, a videographer, allegedly offered free karate classes and excursions for Romanian children, making and selling to a Toronto-based website dozens of films featuring boys as young as 8 posed naked in ways that a Romanian court ruled in 2010 were “explicit,” “obscene” and amounted to child pornography. More than 100 of the Canadian customers, and another 225 around the world, were swept up in the Project Spade investigation.
There are an estimated 1,500-3,000 street children in Romania. They hail from all parts of Romania but typically form poor, rural villages. Attracted by the comparative economic opportunity of cities and larger towns, runaways tend to migrate to urban centers, particularly the capital, Bucharest. During the summer months, Romania’s costal cities see an influx of street children who are drawn to the seasonal tourists and warm weather. Street children survive in large groups of other children like them, usually ranging in age from 14-18, although some children are much younger. Although groups of street children are usually comprised of both boys and girls, girls are typically fewer.
Adults are sometimes able to obtain sex from these street children by giving them such gifts as a meal, a hot shower, or a new pair of shoes. Foreigner sex tourists can persuade street children to have or maintain sexual relations by showering them with gifts, attention, and promises of international vacations. Emotional deprivation is a driving "pull" factor for youth who become involved in these relationships. Children from families or backgrounds lacking healthy affection and love are susceptible to influence by those who will, perhaps for the first time in a child's life, give them affection, praise, and attention.