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Sex charge runaways – a scandal

Sex charge runaways – a scandal

This morning the Christchurch Press revealed that six New Zealanders facing charges of possessing pornography have skipped the country over the last ten years. ECPAT New Zealand is concerned that these men pose a serious risk to children at home and abroad.

“There is strong evidence linking viewing child pornography to physical sexual abuse. It’s horrifying to think these men are able to travel and continue to exploit children. They know because of the lack of enforcement of law they can get away with it“, said Jane Foster, National Director of ECPAT.

Former school teacher, Shane Rahui who fled the country in 2004 has been reported as seeking work in Asia kindergartens. The recent publicity surrounding the arrest of Mark Karr in relation to the JonBenet Ramsey case revealed that child sex offenders seek out such opportunities.

Over the past year 18 Australians have been convicted of sex crimes against children, mainly in South East Asia. Many of those were teachers. Like Australia, Canada, the USA and UK - New Zealand can prosecute nationals who commit sex crimes against children overseas. Since 1996 when the law passed there have been no prosecutions.

ECPAT New Zealand is urging the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to highlight the issue on their new travel advisory website (www.safetravel.com) and link it to www.reportchildsex.com - ECPAT’s own reporting website.

Jane Foster said “Let’s make sure the law is used to deal with these criminals at home and abroad. Every child has the right to freedom from sexual exploitation and abuse.”

ENDS

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