Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.
In this issue
- This week: Child sex tourism
- Virtual Snacks
- Bizarre Searches
- Quotation and joke
Whilst we were in Cambodia recently our friend Adam gave us an amusing photo. It features a bus and emblazoned along its side, black upon bright yellow in large print, are the words “Child Sex Tourists”. It’s enough to make you do a double-take. At which point you see in much smaller print, and duller colours, the words “Don’t Turn Away. Turn Them In.” The sentiment is obviously well-intentioned – it’s just the delivery that kinda misses the spot.
In my experience charities and NGOs often have laudable sentiments but are sometimes clumsy (or downright stupid) in their methods of project delivery. But I’m sure we’ve covered this subject earlier in a newsletter which may predate our online archives. In other words, I can’t find it. (Maybe one of these days we’ll find time to complete the archives.)
But let’s get back to the subject. Funny photos aside, child sex tourism is obviously a very serious subject and one which many are working to raise awareness of. The child sex tourists bus was an ECPAT initiative, for example.
The campaign to “End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism”, (which was what ECPAT originally stood for – it’s now widened its remit to include child pornography and the trafficking of children for sexual purposes, worldwide) was set up in Bangkok in 1991. The network now consists of over 72 member groups in 65 countries.
ECPAT UK represents a coalition of nine leading UK organisations working for the protection of children’s rights. They are: Anti-Slavery International, Barnardo’s, Jubilee Campaign, NSPCC, Save the Children UK, The Body Shop Foundation, The Children’s Society, UNICEF UK and World Vision UK.
The true extent of the problem is impossible to establish, precisely because it’s such a shady and secretive activity – crimes against children are perhaps the most reviled of all crimes. But there’s plenty of evidence that it’s a worldwide problem. A recent ECPAT study revealed that as many as 80 children had been trafficked into the UK in the last three years for sexual purposes, 22 of them aged under 16, and that 48 of them had gone missing from Social Services care.
Child sex crime has become much bigger news in recent years. In part this has been the result of two notorious celebrity cases: Jonathan King and Gary Glitter – in Glitter’s case, repeatedly since 1997. Following his UK conviction and imprisonment, he travelled first to Cuba, then to Cambodia (from where he was deported after his offence became known to the authorities), and finally to Vietnam, where he was imprisoned for new offences.
Whilst the case has done much to raise the profile of the problem, there is also the backlash in that some benevolent tourists may be put off going to areas notorious for human trafficking. We personally know of one unattached male who said he would be afraid to go to Cambodia on his own (ie without a wife or girlfriend) because of the almost rabid suspicion and assumption that all single males must be sex tourists. We didn’t find any evidence to support this view whilst in Cambodia but there again we’re not single males.
Another pitfall of the heightened profile is the press response. The “News of the World’s” name-and-shame campaign against child sex offenders following the killing of Sarah Payne in 2000 led to vigilante mob attacks on many innocent people, including at least one paediatrician, and was condemned as grossly irresponsible by the police. And prurient newspaper stories about paedophiles abroad can get it wrong too – we know of at least one case where a British father was photographed getting onto a bus in Thailand with his half-Thai child, and misrepresented in a UK tabloid as a child sex tourist.
So what can be done to stop child sex crime? There’s not much that concerned individuals can do to act directly, except report suspected cases – it’s very much a problem for the police and governments. ECPAT’s hope is that the public will keep up pressure on the authorities to ensure that enough resources are allocated to preventing the crimes, bringing criminals to justice, and helping the victims. But with police staffing levels and funding as short as they are – even in developed countries such as the UK, let alone impoverished ones in the developing world – is there any real prospect of success?
Do you have anything to say about this topic? Or do you have some suggestions for other issues we might discuss in our weekly email? Why not comment and tell us?
Just a few suggestions if you have a little time to spare:
ECPAT UK has an interesting and informative site with links to resources and details of how you can help.
Whilst searching for an appropriate quotation for this week, I stumbled upon this piece of Bush buffoonery. If you’re not already totally sick of his idiocy this article may give you a laugh:
The Register: Bush sees clean Cuban hookers
Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:
- does anyone live in greenland
- anti masturbation sexual armour
- how to cook red thai curry in an indian way
- sample of writing love letters
- 78 rpm daily mail
- fast baked french toast
- budget excess luggage mascot
- how mustard seed help catch worms
- spindly tomatoes
- how-to self haircut mirrors
Till next time…
British Expat Magazine
“In America sex is an obsession, in other parts of the world it is a fact.”
Marlene Dietrich (1901-1992)
(We usually have a joke related to the editorial subject-matter, but it doesn’t seem appropriate this week, so here’s a joke about Jesus and a Scouser instead.)
An Australian, an Irishman and a Scouser are in a bar.
They’re staring at another man sitting on his own at a table in the corner. He’s so familiar, and not recognising him is driving them mad.
They stare and stare, until suddenly the Irishman twigs: “My God, it’s Jesus!” Sure enough, it is Jesus, nursing a pint.
Thrilled, they send him over a pint of Guinness, a pint of Fosters and a pint of bitter. Jesus accepts the drinks, smiles over at the three men, and drinks the pints slowly, one after another. After he’s finished the drinks, Jesus approaches the trio.
He reaches for the hand of the Irishman and shakes it, thanking him for the Guinness. When he lets go, the Irishman gives a cry of amazement: “My God! The arthritis I’ve had for 30 years is gone. It’s a miracle!”
Jesus then shakes the Aussie’s hand, thanking him for the lager. As he lets go, the man’s eyes widen in shock. “Strewth mate, the bad back I’ve had all my life is completely gone! It’s a miracle.”
Jesus then approaches the Scouser who knocks over a chair and a table in trying to get away from the Son of God. “What’s wrong?” says Jesus.
The Scouser shouts, “F*** off, I’m on disability benefit!”