The TDH team of researchers first noticed the Austrian man in April 2016. The man was walking down the street with two young boys, between twelve and fourteen years old. Unfortunately, the team lost sight of the children and the suspect.
Standing guard outside a hotel
This year, the Austrian was spotted twice, first in February and a second time in August. The team followed him closely but did not observe any suspicious behaviour. At the beginning of this month, however, the man was seen when he entered a hotel with two boys. Since then, researchers spent many hours in the vicinity of the hotel to keep track of when the suspect entered the hotel, with whom, and for how long they stayed inside. The team even followed the Austrian man and the boys to the cinema and saw how he teased, touched and cuddled the children.
Gaining the children's trust
The morning of Wednesday, 6 September, the boys left the hotel without the Austrian. The researchers addressed the boys, kept them talking and managed to gain the children’s trust. The boys turned out to be fourteen and fifteen years old. They said that the Austrian man visited Nepal on a regular basis. He alternated his stay between the capital Kathmandu and a house he rented in the countryside. This is also where he met the children, who lived there with their families. He paid the boys to visit him in Kathmandu every time he visited Nepal. This time the suspect was to leave Nepal on Friday, 9 September.
Testimony and arrest
After the researchers had dropped the fifteen-year- old boy off at the bus station, they carefully changed the subject of the conversation with the fourteen-year- old boy to children’s rights and the risk of sexual abuse by adults. Slowly the boy realized that what he had endured had been sexual abuse and he confirmed that the Austrian man had already been abusing him for two to three years.
The team had no choice but to drop the boy off again at the hotel, to prevent the Austrian from growing suspicious and for the team to prepare the arrest together with the police. The matter was pressing, as the man was to leave the country two days later. The Nepalese Central Criminal Police worked closely together with the TDH team and acted quickly. This way the Nepalese police was able to catch the man red-handed and arrest him in his hotel room the same day.
Support and further investigation
TDH provided aid to the boy immediately. He was extremely traumatised, anxious and struggled with feelings of guilt. He also told the TDH relief worker that there might even be more than ten other victims, all boys between the ages of twelve and sixteen. They were all from the same region and belonged to a lower caste, the Dalit community. The Nepalese police are now busy investigating this case further. The trial will start in about two months time. The Austrian man is likely to face imprisonment for up to thirteen years.
Child sex tourism in Asia
Child sex tourism is a major problem in Asia. Many poor children are being abused by richer, often male perpetrators, who either pay child traffickers or groom children themselves by winning over their parents and financially supporting them. Terre des Hommes offers victims protection, intends to reduce poverty by offering vocational education, trains police officers, identifies suspects and offers legal support to children. We were able to save this Nepalese boy and the perpetrator was arrested. Now for the rest of them. Will you help us?