Prevention of Tourism Related Paedophilia using the Goa Children’s Act Presented by Nishtha Desai Children’s Rights in Goa (CRG) Organised by Kerala State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights on 7 December 2013 at Bolgatty Palace, Kochi
Demographic Facts • Goa has a tourist population almost double of its total population of approx 14.6 lakh • Around 23 lakh domestic tourists & 4 lakh foreign tourists • Around 4 lakh people from other states come to Goa for employment, which includes a large population of children • Sex Ratio: 973Child Sex Ratio 942
Crimes against children • Possibilities of earning without learning • Parents welcome earnings of children • Children struggle to cope with school eventually dropping out Large tourist population + Inadequately regulated tourism industry + Large population of vulnerable children = Crimes against children by travelling sex offenders
The dreams that children have • Sachin wants to save money so that his elder sister can get married, as his parents do not have enough money • Chandu dreams of ‘Mr X’ dying and leaving him all his money – enabling him to support his family • Asha wants to lessen her mother’s worries and work after school, after tutions – from 6pm to midnight
Tried in UK for paedophilia in Goa Barry McCloud, 53 year-old Briton, Arrested on 20 May on trial in UK for offences against a young girl in S. Goa, between 2005-2007. Sentenced to life by UK Court in 2010. – Reduced to 7 years.
Response of tourists • “We cannot relax when we see children being abused.” • Tourists are often informants – giving information to CRG about suspected abuse cases • 1997 British tourist, petitions to John Major, collected 2,000 signatures from fellow tourists “to stop British tourists from using Goa for sex with little children” • 2000 A tourist friend of CRG collected 200 signatures in 2 weeks asking Goa CM to take action to stop sexual abuse of children
Participatory Process to Formulate Law • 2002 Secretary WCD, Rina Ray, initiates series of meetings in conjunction with NGOs at taluka, district and state level • Identification of problems of children • Reports collated • NGOs involved in drafting • Need for comprehensive law to deal with issues relating to children • Results in Goa Children’s Act, 2003
Travelling sex offenders & Child Protection: Issues of concern addressed by the GCA
Elderly couple December 2000: The Martis were found in a 5 star hotel in nude state with 2 street girls. Filmed children in pornographic acts. Convicted in March 2003. Jumped bail.
No mandatory reporting 1st conviction of foreign paedophile in India: Freddy Peats case • Photo studio processed child porn - 2305 photos, • Unregulated shelter homes • Delays in justice 1991 first arrested, let out on bail, Convicted only in 1996 after writ petition by child rights activist
Boy child issues Reports of boy victims of sexual abuse on the rise Section 377 “Unnatural” sexual offences “Accomplice” vs “Victim” Not viewed as victims of rape
Some important provisions • Broader definition of sexual assault • Boys also viewed as victims of sexual assault • Adults with unrelated children – permission required • Hotel owners/managers responsible for keeping premises safe • Zero rejection • Mandatory reporting by photo studios/digital labs/ hotels
Important provisions of GCA Adults with unrelated children • Any adult who wishes to stay with an unrelated child is required to take permission from the Director, Women and Child Development. • Failure to take permission from the director can attract a fine of upto Rs 1 lakh and imprisonment which may extend to three years. (8.4-9)
Hotel owners/managers liable • Hotels and other establishments that provide boarding lodging or any similar facility have the responsibility of ensuring the safety of children in their premises. • No child shall be allowed to enter any room of any hotel or establishment with an unrelated adult, with exceptions being made for 'reasonable areas' such as a teacher with students or children staying with friends. • The owner and the manager can be imprisoned for up to 3 years and fined one lakh rupees for violation of this section. (8.10a-e)
Child Friendly Tourism Code • The tourism department of the government shall collaborate with the travel and Tourism Trade of Goa to evolve a Child Friendly Tourism Code for Goa • (GCA: 8.22) • This will facilitate the detailing of 'good practices' to be adopted by all members of the tourism industry in the best interests of children.
Code adopted by TTAG • On 4 June 2006 members of the Travel and Tourism Association of Goa took a pledge to adopt a child friendly tourism code.
Cases under Children’s Court 1. Italian male Victim: 10 years, female 20.01.06: Acquitted by Children’s Court. 2. German male Victim: 14 yrs, female 2006: Acquitted by Children’s Court. 3. British male Victim: 9 yr-old girl Absconding 4. Australian male – recently chargesheeted Boys and girls
Steps taken by Tourism Dept & TTAG • Crimes against children in India have been taking place with unfailing regularity – Goa, Mumbai, Kerala, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and presentations have been made before the NHRC about the need for a national plan • TTAG adopted Code prescribed by the GCA • Tourism Dept issued brochures which included a message that sex with a child was a serious crime • Sponsored Audio Tourism Guide with child friendly messages
Code of Conduct for Safe and Honourable Tourism Introduced on 1st July 2010 by Union Ministry of Tourism • Information & training of personnel • Public awareness and guest notification • Regulated use of premises and official equipment • Ethical business practices and marketing
Tourism Policy & Protection of Child Rights • Make it obligatory for all establishments not to serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 18 years – Boards should be displayed communicating that proof of age may be asked for from their young patrons • That licences will be granted to shacks and other establishments subject to their agreement not to engage child labour and to making a commitment to protect children • Make it obligatory for establishments to display IEC material which has messages promoting zero tolerance of child abuse
…Tourism Policy • Make it obligatory for all establishments to conduct staff training programmes and for the Department to organise programmes for taxi drivers, motorcycle pilots and shack owners to promote the concept of zero tolerance to child abuse and to create awareness about mandatory reporting of child sexual abuse • That Village Child Committees in the tourism belt are made aware of the Policy and assist in the conducting of programmes for different sectors • That guidelines are in place for establishments to assist a child who appears vulnerable
…Tourism Policy • The Tourism Policy ultimately must reflect the State’s commitment to the protection of children and the prevention of abuse not in abstract phrases but in concrete steps that the tourism industry must take • Spelling out what commitment to the Code means • Monitoring mechanisms • Penalties for violation of Code
Collaborative efforts to combat Tourism Related Paedophilia…
Profitable to protect children • A minuscule fraction of tourists are actually sex offenders • The majority of tourists are distressed to see children who are abused • There are people who would not like to visit Goa as they have heard reports of child abuse • A Goa free of paedophiles will attract more tourists not less
Let’s work towards making all children safe and happy! Children's Rights in GoaH No.754/1 (11)2nd Floor, 'Christina Apartments',Alto-Porvorim,Bardez Goa - 403521INDIAWebsite: childrightsgoa.org : 2413341, 9822983336 Email: email@example.com