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Arrest of convicted paedophile working as teacher overseas

December 9, 2015

Project Karma identifies and supports arrest of convicted paedophile working as an international teacher in Thailand

Convicted paedophile, Peter Dundas Walbran, was today arrested by the Royal Thai Police after he was discovered by Project Karma working as an international teacher at the Narinukun public school in remote Ubon Ratchitani, a region in northeast Thailand near the Laos border.

Walbran was convicted in Lombok, Indonesia in 2012 of child sex offences which occurred between 1995 – 2004 with further alleged offences and victims up until 2010 in both Jakarta and Lombok. His youngest victim was 7 years-of-age and the abuse lasted 9 years. Other allegations involved students from an international school in Jakarta that he had been teaching in.

After serving a two and a half year sentence in Lombok prison, Walbran was released in April 2014 and deported to Australia. On arrival in Australia he failed to complete the mandatory registration documents served by police to place him on a child sex offender’s register. Walbran then obtained a New Zealand passport and moved to Thailand. He became a teacher at the Narinukun public school’s International Program in May 2015 which has around 70 students. The entire school has over 4000 students.

The investigation which led to the arrest of Walbran was led by Glen Hulley, Founder and CEO of Project Karma, a charity dedicated to assisting local police in South East Asian countries to investigate and arrest child sexual exploitation cases.

Hulley has spent the last three weeks in the remote region of Thailand after a tipoff from an informer. “This man presents a clear and credible risk to children,” Hulley says on his reasons for taking up the investigation. “No law enforcement agencies were aware of Walbran’s whereabouts and due to the serious risk that he poses to children exposed to him on a daily basis, Project Karma immediately launched an investigation when informed of his location. Hulley has been working with the Australian Federal Police and Royal Thai Police to gather evidence in order to arrest Walbran if offences were being committed or to expose him and have him removed from the school and deported if unable to identify any current victims.

Hulley, a former detective from Victoria, set up Project Karma earlier this year after he travelled to South East Asia on holiday a couple of years back and was appalled by the prevalence and availability of child sex workers and having since worked with a large NGO in the region tackling the issue last year.

Hulley’s experience encouraged him to set up Project Karma which aims to overcome a skills deficit in the investigation and arrest of criminals who are trading children for sex to foreign and local paedophiles.

Project Karma’s first investigation and intervention team is in the process of being established in the Philippines under its Sentinel Project, with plans to roll out sentinel teams to Indonesia, Cambodia and Thailand over the next three years. The model is structured to be easily replicated in multiple countries so as to empower local communities to create more sentinel teams in their own countries as areas of concern are identified. After the first three years, Hulley hopes to roll out sentinel teams into Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, Malaysia and Nepal.

Each sentinel team consists of investigators, a social worker, a lawyer and a coordinator. Networks are established with government and law enforcement agencies by signing Memorandum of Understanding agreements and networks with existing service providers in shelter, welfare, psychological counselling, trauma intervention and financial support for recused child victims.

Each team is trained in quality investigative techniques, intelligence gathering, administration and fundraising with a goal to achieve results and then replicate the process in other areas of the country that are identified as hotspots for the underage sex industry.

Since starting the project, Hulley has been extremely busy. “Sadly, there is an enormous need for the work that we are carrying out at Project Karma. We are receiving much more intelligence than we can currently act upon which is why we need to scale up quickly.

“There are some large NGOs doing similar work to that of Project Karma but they tend to go after high-profile international offenders. There are very few agencies focusing on local offenders or organised crime groups that supply the market.”

Project Karma operates entirely on charitable donations with each sentinel team costing around AU$100,000 per year to run. Each sentinel team will rescue approximately 100 child victims per year and aim to obtain arrests of around 30 offenders per year. “To rescue and rehabilitate a child from sexual slavery, systematic rape and prostitution costs, costs around AU$1000 per child,” Hulley says.

Nearly 2 million children are used in the commercial sex trade, where they routinely face sexual and physical violence. Comparatively the total number of children in New South Wales is 1.36 million. The Global industry in underage sex trafficking is worth $36.6bn annually.

· Globalisation and unregulated economic growth have resulted in growing economic disparities. This, in conjunction with the continued expansion of the use of the Internet,


· increased migration, exponential growth of tourism, natural disasters, conflicts and violence, have all contributed to put more children at risk of sexual exploitation than was previously the case. A recent report by a global network of groups against child sex slavery concludes is a “massive human rights violation that is currently going largely unnoticed around the world”.


The project needs to raise AU$2.7 million to set up and run sentinel teams in the first four targeted countries over the next three years.

If you could like to donate, please visit: www.projectkarma.org.au and complete the online pledge form.

ENDS

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