On July 30th 42-year-old Bas R. was arrested again in Cambodia. The Dutchman is suspected of abusing children. Together with partner organisation APLE (Action Pour Les Enfants), Terre des Hommes has previously helped to gather evidence to speed up his arrest and conviction.
Bas R. is a notorious child abuser. He was convicted of abusing a twelve year old boy in the Netherlands when he worked as sailing instructor in 2004. Despite a ban, he started working with minors as a sailing instructor again in 2005. After a visit from Dutch tv-reporter Peter R. de Vries in 2007 he disappeared. In 2009, R. reappeared in the Cambodian town of Siem Raep where he was running an orphanage. In 2011 he was again suspected of abusing children who live with him. However, he was not convicted because the children withdrew their statements. R. was acquitted due to lack of evidence. A second report of child abuse against him was also not pursued.
Help of Terre des Hommes
In 2013 Terre des Hommes and partner organization APLE start helping to collect evidence. In 2014 a Dutch lawyer brought criminal proceedings against R. in The Netherlands on behalf of two Cambodian boys. Recently, the Dutch and Cambodian authorities started to cooperate to bring the Dutchman to court. Bas R. was arrested again, also due to the tireless and committed work done by partnerorganisation APLE.
Scare of convicted child abusers
Terre des Hommes is truly hoping that this time Bas R. will be convicted. Not only for what Bas R. did, but also because it will be a strong message for convicted child abusers. Endorsing that they can no longer travel abroad and continue to commit crimes against children and go unpunished.
In a report published in 2007 Terre des hommes had already warned that sex offenders can too easily move to countries where the legal system is weak. Due to the massive poverty and a lack of protection, children are at risk to become victims of child sex tourists. Terre des Hommes is also concerned about the lack of interest from the police and judicial authorities in countries where child sex tourism occurs due to limited capacity and corruption.
Terre des Hommes advocates monitoring of the travel patterns of convicted sex offenders. If it appears that someone often travels to countries where child sex tourism flourishes, he or she may be subject to a travel restriction through the courts. Countries are then informed about the arrival of that person, so they can deny them access to the country.
Child sex tourism is a complex problem, which requires an integrated approach. Terre des Hommes provides shelter to victims, works on poverty reduction by offering vocational education, trains police officers, identified suspects, offers legal support to children and informs parents about the harmful effects of child sexual abuse.