Kathmandu, September 12
Sexual exploitation of minors by international tourists, especially men, has become a growing menace in Kathmandu Valley.
The Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police arrested an Austrian national for allegedly molesting Nepali minors and rescued a child from his clutches from a Thamel-based hotel on September 6. The suspected paedophile has been identified as Kendler Markus, 45, (passport number P7401901) of Osterreich, Mittersill, Austria.
On June 29, CIB arrested a German national, identified as Albert Fred Klinicke, on the charge of paedophilia from a hotel in Thamel and rescued a minor. The 63-year-old German (passport number C4K6M3578) had been visiting Nepal frequently.
Earlier on September 9, 2016, CIB arrested Kenneth Joseph Coombs (passport number 517817112) of Illinois, USA, from a Thamel-based hotel, and rescued five boys aged between 12 and 16 years. The 48-year-old American was accused of molesting scores of underage boys and having unnatural sex with them in Kathmandu.
Similarly, Ernest Fenwick MacIntosh, 71, a Canadian, was arrested from Lalitpur in 2015 for sexually assaulting a boy. He was a notorious international paedophile and is currently serving sentence in Nakhkhu Jail.
DIG Pushkar Karki, CIB director, said the supreme investigating body of Nepal Police was keeping constant vigil against foreign citizens who come to Nepal to molest minors under the cover of tourists. He warned that a section of international tourists were molesting Nepali children and making them victims of paedophilia.
“Child molestation is a very secret crime and it does not come to light unless the victims muster up courage to tell others, which is why most cases go unreported. Foreign paedophiles take advantage of a young mind and try to make it look consensual besides using fear to keep the victims silent. They are also capitalising on the innocence of Nepali children. Minors are soft targets since they cannot resist the perpetrators,” DIG Karki said, appealing to guardians to keep tab on their children’s activities.
Most of the suspects are found to be luring minors with money and delicacies and bringing them to Thamel hotels, where the paedophiles prey on them. According to Number 9(A) of Chapter 14 of Muluki Ain, a person who commits sodomy (any kind of unnatural sexual intercourse) with a minor shall be considered to have committed an offence of rape and the offender shall be liable to nine to 13 years of imprisonment.
The court will also make an order to provide appropriate compensation to such a minor from the offender considering the age and trauma suffered by the victim.
A version of this article appears in print on September 13, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.