Two years ago, Terre des Hommes Netherlands launched a special project to track down child sex tourists in Asian countries. In many of those countries, the police does not have enough resources to do so itself. Private detectives trained by a partner organisation of Terre des Hommes have therefore offered their assistance to the police. They take action when sexual abuse of minors is suspected and warn the police once they have material evidence. The project has been named Project WATCH: Working Actively Together for Children.
Caught in the act
The 66-year-old French national was caught in the act of abusing a 15-year-old boy. This took place in an alley in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu. The private detectives had been keeping a close watch on the man for a few months already. The victim has stated that the man had already tried to abuse him earlier. Previously, a Danish national had been arrested in Nepal after abusing 25 children. That man has since been sentenced to imprisonment for a term of 9 years.
30 arrests, 7 convictions
The detectives of Terre des Hommes are active in five Asian countries. These are the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and India, in addition to Nepal. They operate in eight locations known for attracting child sex tourists. The detectives' investigations have already yielded almost thirty arrests and seven convictions. All in all, 157 children were involved. They have been taken care of and are receiving assistance in building a new future.
Many cases involve western men who had already been convicted in their respective countries of origin and who migrate to Asia after completing their sentence. This was also the case for the convicted Danish national: he had been working in Nepal as a paediatrician for 7 years. Terre des Hommes wants an endorsement to be entered in these men's passports. 'In this manner, you can ensure that their past follows them and prevents them from again abusing defenceless children in developing countries,' says Hans Guijt of Terre des Hommes Netherlands.