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Press releases archive

 

Convicted sex offender Paul Bower arrested in Cambodia

21 November

ECPAT UK has learned that a British national and convicted sex offender, Ian Paul Bower, has been arrested and charged in relation to sexual offences with children in Cambodia.

Paul Bower was arrested on 13 November by the Phnom Penh anti-human trafficking and juvenile protection police and has since been charged with committing Indecent Acts against a minor under 15 years.

Bower is known to British and Cambodian police: he was convicted and sentenced in a Derbyshire court in September 2004 for offences against children and downloading child abuse images. However, despite being placed on the Sex Offenders Register, he fled on bail from a hostel in 2006 to Cambodia.

While there, in 2007, he was arrested for sexual offences against minors – he was found to be teaching children English. According to local NGO, Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), these charges were dropped when the children recanted their stories.

The current charge has been brought against him by Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s prosecutor Khiev Phalla, following a lengthy investigation by APLE. If convicted, according to the law on suppression of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, he could face imprisonment of one to three years.

Bower has been remanded to Prey Sar prison for a future court appearance.

In September 2007, ECPAT UK wrote to the Home Office warning of the “unacceptable risk to children” that Bower posed.

The letter stated: “It is quite frankly an embarrassment that at a time when the Cambodian authorities are becoming more effective at prosecuting sex offenders that it remains the fault of the British authorities to not have adequate systems in place to protect vulnerable children.”

At the time, ECPAT UK called on the Home Office to improve extradition processes and to facilitate “fast and efficient exchange of intelligence on British sex offenders” abroad.

A Home Office minister responded in October 2007 that the UK had no formal extradition treaty with Cambodia but said the relevant UK authorities had been “continuously and extensively involved” in the case of Paul Bower.

In the ECPAT UK report Off the Radar (Protecting Children from British Sex Offenders who Travel), published earlier this year, we reiterated this call, asking for the introduction of a cross-government strategy to deal effectively with the prosecution of sexual offences committed abroad, the protection of child victims and the prevention of such crimes.

In light of the new charge brought against Paul Bower, a British national and known sex offender, ECPAT UK urges the UK Government to urgently take heed of this report and its findings in order to protect children from sexual exploitation, both abroad and in the UK.

Press Contact
Colin Walker, Deputy Director, ECPAT UK
Or Chloe Setter, Information Officer, ECPAT UK
Tel:  020 7233 9887

Information for editors:
-    ECPAT UK (End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes) is a leading UK children’s rights organisation. ECPAT UK works with the highest levels of government, but also reaches out to practitioners and those working directly with children through research, training and capacity building
-    To read more about British Sex Offenders who Travel, read ECPAT UK’s February 2011 report, Off the Radar

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