Subject: Surge in child sex tours

Northern Territory News (Australia)

January 9, 2004 Friday

Surge in child sex tours


The Bali bombing and East Timor crisis of 1999 have led to a surge in the number of Territory pedophiles going there on sex tours, a child protection organisation says.

Bernadette McMenamin from Melbourne-based Child Wise said the Territory's two nearest neighbours were being singled out by pedophiles from here and interstate.

She said the Bali bombing and the razing of East Timor by the Indonesians in 1999 had caused the influx.

"Offenders are looking for vulnerability, looking for destabilisation and a crisis situation," Ms McMenamin said.

"They look for access and opportunity for children and they also look for places where they won't get caught."

Ms McMenamin's comments followed the arrest on Thursday of a Canberra-based school teacher in Karangasem, Bali.

Child Wise has recently launched a media campaign asking tourists to dob-in suspected pedophiles in Third World countries.

She said about 4000 Australian pedophiles made regular sex tours to South-East Asia. It was not clear how many were from the Territory.

"We're encouraging tourists if they come across reports of Australians involved in child prostitution to report it to the Federal Police," she said.

"Darwin is a transit point for many tourists into South-East Asia."

Ms McMenamin said Australian tourists involved in child sex tours faced jail terms of up to 17 years.

Only 16 prosecutions had been made in 10 years, she said.

But she said Thursday's arrest showed Indonesian police were clamping down on pedophiles in Bali.

"The Indonesian Government has acknowledged that child prostitution and child sex tourism is a major problem, particularly in Bali and Batam," she said.

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