Cruise ships have a sexual-assault problem, especially for young victims — Quartz
Cruise ships are frequently referred to as “floating cities,” with their passengers having access to everything from movie theaters to comedy clubs and on-board parades. And just like cities, cruise ships have crime. Kidnappings or homicides are rare, but vacationers at sea are at risk of some serious offenses: most notably sexual assault. According to US government data, sex crimes far outweigh any other major offense on board.
While there were no murders in all of 2016 or the first quarter of 2017 on cruise lines that embark and disembark in the US, there were 62 reported sexual assaults, out of 92 alleged crimes in total — nearly 70%. NBC News reports in a recent investigation that many of the victims are minors.
The problem of sexual assault on cruise lines is a long-running one. The industry and the government have been reporting some data on these crimes for years. Yet the American public has only had a more complete picture since 2016, after reporting standards were changed. These numbers are still likely smaller than in reality—sex crimes are generally under-reported, and what gets classified as an assault depends on the cruise line’s security officials. Experts point out that incidents are often miscategorized as lesser crimes.