The British government is failing to prevent child sex tourism, says a new report by charity ECPAT UK.
ECPAT UK director Christine Beddoe said the Return to Sender report reveals in the last 10 years Britain has prosecuted only five sex offenders for child sex abuse since 1997 while the US has prosecuted 65 and Australia 25 in the same period.
Furthermore she claimed British authorities have not convicted anyone of child sex offences since 2005, have failed to introduce a public reporting hotline and have turned a blind eye to the “dozens” of British sex offenders working and travelling abroad.
She said this is despite evidence of the crimes continuing – in Thailand alone in the last two years 15 British nationals have been charged with the sexual abuse of children while others have been prosecuted in India, Ghana, Vietnam, Cambodia and Albania.
Instead, Beddoe called upon the government to start working with overseas governments and arrange to immediately bring offenders back to the UK after sentencing, place them upon the sex offenders register then risk assess them and treat them accordingly.
In some cases she has urged the government to restrict future foreign travel of the worst-case offenders.
Beddoe said: “The government must take immediate steps to develop bi-lateral cooperation agreements and joint investigations with other countries to return sex offenders to the UK and give clear guidance on when travel bans should be used to protect the world’s most vulnerable children.”