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Kiwi in Philippines child sex raid no surprise

Media Release 29 October 2012

Kiwi in Philippines child sex raid no surprise

The pending arrest of a New Zealander in the Philippines, on child rape allegations, comes as no surprise to child advocacy group Stop Demand Foundation.

David William Wakefield, 50, formerly of Timaru but currently working in Mozambique, had his hotel room raided by local police last Thursday as he was about to leave the country.

Wakefield, who has previous child sex convictions and was on a “watch list”, has been accused of raping two girls, aged 12 and 13, in Davao City last Monday. Child trafficking charges against Wakefield are also pending.

Stop Demand’s founder, Denise Ritchie, says that the Philippines has long been a haven for child sex tourists including those from New Zealand. She points to the 2012 US Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report on the Philippines which states:

“Child sex tourism remained a serious problem in the Philippines with sex tourists coming from Northeast Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America to engage in the commercial sexual exploitation of children.”

It is alleged that “recruiters” found the two girls at a local market and, on the promise of some money, took them to Wakefield’s hotel where they were raped. It is understood that police found photographs of the girls on Wakefield’s mobile phone.

Local records show that Wakefield had visited the Philippines three times previously and had been under police surveillance.

Denise Ritchie says, “The Philippines has recently stepped up its efforts to crack down on child sex tourism and trafficking, notwithstanding renowned problems with complicity and corruption. This case shows excellent collaboration between agencies involved in border patrol, law enforcement and local child welfare.”

Stop Demand is hopeful that a prosecution will ensue, if the evidence is strong. The 2012 TIP report was less than glowing as regards prosecutions in the Philippines, stating that “Although the government acknowledges the problem of child sex tourism, it did not prosecute or convict any foreign pedophiles [in the previous year], instead deporting suspects without pursuing criminal charges.”

In April 2008 Wakefield was extradited from New Zealand to Australia to face child sex abuse charges, for which he was found guilty. It is understood that upon his release from prison, Wakefield returned to New Zealand before recently moving to Mozambique.


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