[Stop-traffic] NEWS/ASIA-PACIFIC: 'Sex tourist' on trial

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Subject: [Stop-traffic] NEWS/ASIA-PACIFIC: 'Sex tourist' on trial
From: Martina Melis (martina.melis@undcp.un.or.th)
Date: Mon Nov 20 2000 - 09:17:21 EST

                  Thursday, 19 October, 2000, 19:31 GMT 20:31 UK
'Sex tourist' on trial

Child prostitutes are commonplace in Thailand

In a landmark court case, a Frenchman who allegedly raped an
11-year-old girl while on holiday in Thailand, has gone on trial in

This is a trial that should give paedophiles cause for fear

                  Jacques Hintzy, UNICEF France

The case, which activists hope will deal a serious blow to the sex
tourism industry, involves a girl now aged 17.

She appeared in court on Thursday to give evidence against her
alleged attacker.

The court heard that Paris tube worker Amnon Chemouil, 48, was caught
because his travelling companion, Viktor Michel, made a videotape of
the sexual encounter in the Thai resort of Pattaya in 1994.

Paedophile ring

UNICEF estimates that 400,000 children are sex workers in Thailand

Mr Michel, from Switzerland, identified Mr Chemouil when police,
investigating a paedophile ring, raided his home and found the
pornographic recording.

Jacques Hintzy, president of the French branch of UNICEF, said before
the case: "This is a trial that should give paedophiles cause for
fear, and convince them there is no impunity."

Child sex workers

UNICEF says that in south east Asia more than a million children are
subjected to sexual exploitation, and that because of the AIDS
epidemic, the gangs that control the prostitution rackets seek out
increasingly young girls.

Mr Hintzy said: "Pressure must be brought on public opinion to stop
these outrages continuing. Millions of people are having their
childhoods stolen and being treated like merchandise."

Prosecution lawyers asked that the videotape be shown in secret to
prove that Mr Chemouil forced the girl to give him oral sex, which in
French law would constitute rape.

Mr Chemouil, who admits having paid to have sex with the girl, faces
a maximum 20 years in jail.

AIDS has led to younger children being recruited as sex workers

"My client recognises the facts but he does not want this to be the
trial of the tens of millions of sex tourists who go to Thailand
every year," his lawyer Francois Rozenbaum said.

Landmark trial

Mr Chemouil, is the first person to stand trial before a French jury
under a law passed in 1994 that allows suspects in sex tourism cases
involving minors abroad to be prosecuted in France.

His case is also the first of its type in France at which child
protection groups like UNICEF have been able to play a role as civil
plaintiffs alongside the public prosecution.

France is one of several countries that adopted laws in 1994 making
possible the prosecution of sexual crimes on minors committed abroad,
but because of lack of evidence bringing charges has proved difficult.

French police have launched 20 investigations, but only two trials
have ended in convictions for sexual assault.

According to UNICEF, Germany has the strongest record in fighting sex
tourism with 37 investigations, of which six ended in convictions.

           Search BBC News Online

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