Every parent whom takes a child on a cruise believes that the onboard environment will be safe and secure. But, as we have been reporting for years, cruise ships can be an extremely dangerous environment for children, and even teens. Many parents would be surprised to learn that among the most serious threats facing young people aboard cruise ships is sexual assault and rape.
For years, cruise lines were able to obscure the incidence of cruise ship sexual assault and rape due to a small and unfortunately worded passage in the 2010 Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act. But, recent changes to the way cruise companies report crimes have resulted in a significant jump in the number of sexual assaults reported aboard the vessels. In fact, sexual assaults and rapes are among the most frequently reported crimes aboard cruise ships.
The majority of cruise ship sexual assaults are perpetrated by crew members. But fellow passengers also engage in these heinous acts at a rate that would astonish most travelers.
For example, earlier this year the mother of a former Carnival passenger filed suit against Carnival Cruise Lines, alleging that her daughter was raped by a group of men aboard the Carnival Breeze cruise ship in 2015. The suit claims that the men initially attempted to enter a club aboard the ship, which was designated for passengers aged 15 to 17. The victim was inside the club at the time and saw when the men were refused entry.
According to court documents, after the victim left the club, she was spotted by the group of men in the hallway. They then assaulted her, took her into an elevator, and later forced into one of the men’s room. It was there that they allegedly sexually assaulted and raped her.
The victim’s mother sued Carnival, claiming that the company was negligent as it failed to recognize and neutralize the threat posed by the men. The suit noted that, despite numerous security cameras stationed in the ship, the company’s security apparatus did nothing to prevent the assault. The suit also alleges that carnival failed to provide "adequate security to protect minor passengers from pedophiles and other sorts of sexual attackers."