Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Lecture: Of Evil Beneovelence - Sabotaging the Journey of the the Travelling Child Sex Offender

November 19, 2014 at  6.30 pm at the Freemasons Hall Auditorium, C-in-C Road, Egmore, Chennai

As part of its Technical Expert in Residence program , 
  Tulir - Centre for the Prevention and Healing of Child Sexual Abuse 
is pleased to be hosting Ms. Christine Beddoe, former Director
 of ECPAT – UK  for  a fortnight in November 2014.
The timeliness of   Ms. Beddoes’s visit cannot be further emphasized; 
A recent order of the Madras High Court has impleaded the Secretary,
 of WCD, Govt of India
 in a case of sexual abuse by a foreign national.  

There is an underlying sense of urgency as well. 
 In the past month alone, the UK courts
 have rejected an appeal by India for one of their citizens 
(an associate of the notorious Freddy Peats) who has been charged with 
abusing children in Goa about twenty years ago. 
In fact this was the first case which brought attention to TSCO’s in India. 
Additionally, a former   British Airways pilot has been convicted of 
facilitating abuse of children in India – Bangalore and Chennai in particular.
The issue of TSCO’s is truly global with   individuals traveling from country 
to country,
seeking to keep offending while evading the law.(The biggest societal blind 
with regard to TSCO’s is their compulsiveness and repetitiveness)
However contrary to popular belief that the sexual exploitation of children is 
tourism related, 
obtaining a tourist visa/traveling on a tourist visa is as much as where the 
tourism angle ends. 
There is mounting  evidence, both anecdotal as well as from NGO’s and  
police forces to 
strongly suggest that  the modus operandi of  TCSO’s  is to  seek out  
 volunteer jobs 
as it offers them the perfect  guise without arousing any suspicions
 but instead being 
held in great reverence. This also gives them ample opportunity to
 focus on their primary
objective –which is sexual abuse of the children, usually the very same children under
their care and responsibility. 
Needless to state there is no dearth of vulnerable children, in India   to
 groom and exploit.
Mitigating the overall threat from TCSO offending, however,
 remains particularly problematic.
The inevitable socio-cultural and  legal  barriers hamper  - a diffidence
 about understanding 
the complexities of  sexual violence; weak administrative systems of  
 child protection; 
lack of training among professionals with   investigating   
and prosecuting sexual crime 
against children  not considered a specialized area; compounded 
by archaic procedures
and processes, which are counterproductive to the prosecution 
of transnational crime,  still prevailing.
This specific form of sexual violence against children is eminently containable. 
The over-riding need is to become as proactive as possible
 - to prevent TCSO’s from
offending in the first place rather than just react to them 
after they have offended.
 For effective redress as well, this would include besides awareness, 
plugging the gaps and loopholes in policy and legislation and
 most importantly developing a coordinated national response involving 
various Ministries - External and Home Affairs, 
Women and Child Development/Social
 Justice/Welfare and the sectors they govern.

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