Police officers in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau and neighbouring localities have attended a sex-offender workshop here that ends on September 25 to learn how to track down and identify tourists who exploit children.

The two-day workshop is the first offered by the Vung Tau city's Criminal Police Department and UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Gender issues related to child sexual exploitation were also discussed.

Zhuldyz Akisheva, country manager of UNODC's Vietnam office, said that battling child exploitation by tourists requires a coordinated domestic, regional and international response.

Travelling child sex offenders pose a significant law enforcement challenge, she added.

Offenders often travel away from their usual home location to prey on vulnerable children, she said, adding that they are often undetected.

One of the counter measures developed in the Mekong Sub-region is called Project Childhood, an initiative organised by UNODC, INTERPOL and World Vision.

The five-year project ending in 2014 is funded by the Government of Australia through the Australian Agency for International Development.

The project, which covers Vietnam , Thailand , Cambodia and Laos, supports strong law-enforcement responses to bringing travelling child sex offenders to justice.

Increased knowledge of law enforcement and regional and international cooperation helps governments to better equip themselves to identify and counter child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.

World Vision works with governments and communities to prevent children from becoming victims of sexual exploitation in tourism by raising awareness and building community resilience.

Public campaigns, training and telephone hotlines, used by governments, communities and tourism industries, all contribute to better awareness on the vulnerabilities of at-risk children.-VNA