The Project WATCH team tracked, photographed and surveilled the man for months in Pokhara, a popular tourist destination in Nepal. He was offering the children food and buying them presents so he could get close to them.
Project WATCH’s detectives were convinced of the suspect’s intentions, but gathering evidence was hard to do. Even close collaboration with the Pokhara police provided insufficient evidence to arrest the man. When the team contacted German authorities, it became clear the subject had been condemned for sexual abuse of children and child pornography. The file built by the WATCH team was passed on together with the German information to the Nepalese police. The case was now strong enough to take action.
Caught in the act
Police raided the suspect’s hotel room, where he was found in the company of a 15-year old boy. He was arrested and is suspected of sexually abusing the boy, but more children might have been involved. The team of Project WATCH is currently taking care of the boy.
Child abusers free to go wherever they want
Project leader Hans Guyt thinks it’s incomprehensible the German suspect could board a plane without any problems at all: “Once again, we are talking about a person who has been condemned in his own country for sexually abusing children. Absolutely nothing is being done when someone like this boards a plane to go to a developing country. This allows men like this German suspect to go and commit hideous crimes without any punishment or consequences.”
Last year, investigations by Project WATCH led to the arrest of two French child sex tourists in Nepal and an Australian child abuser in Bali.
Project WATCH approach
With the aid of its Cambodian partner organisation APLE, Terre des Hommes trains local detectives in Indonesia, the Philippines, India and Nepal who track child sex tourists, gather evidence and collaborate with local police. WATCH teams consist of detectives, lawyers and social workers. They build a case against child abuse suspects, help victims to come forward and provide legal assistance, protections and support. Project WATCH is being financed by the Dutch nationale Postcode Loterij.