Australian Jailed for Child Sex Tourism Offences Committed in Viet Nam
Hanoi, 24th March 2005 -- An Australian man was sentenced to 18 month Jail for Child Abuse Offences committed in Da Nang, Central Province Vietnam. Gregory Roy Cook was prosecuted under Australian Child Sex Tourism Legislation for offenses committed against a Vietnamese girl in a hotel swimming pool in 2003 (www.news.com.au)
Cook, who is one of 17 Australians who have been prosecuted since 1994 under Australia’s extra-territorial legislation, was arrested by Australian Federal Police last July and was sentenced in a Sydney Court today by Judge Norman Delaney to 18 months' jail. This is the first ever prosecution, in Australia, of a Child Sex Offender for an offense committed in Viet Nam. Extra-territorial legislation allows governments to prosecute their citizens for crimes they committed overseas, in this case - Child Sex Tourism offenses.
Ms. Le Hong Loan, Chief of Child Protection of UNICEF Viet Nam has expressed her opinion about the case: “This is a good result. We know Child Sex Tourism is spreading to new destinations globally and this sentence sends a clear message that child sex offenders are not welcome here”.
“This arrest is significant in raising awareness of the public and government agencies as Child Sex Tourism is quite underground in Viet Nam. This illustrates a greater commitment by Australian, International and Vietnamese Authorities to work together to arrest Child Sex Offenders”, Ms Loan added.
UNICEF Viet Nam will be releasing a new report on the Commercial Sexual exploitation of Children in Viet Nam which will bring focus to this devastating problem. This document will support the advocacy work of UNICEF for a National Plan of Action on CSEC which it is hoped will soon be developed and approved by the Government.
It is estimated that thousands of Vietnamese children are involved in the sex industry including those trafficked to Cambodia, China and other locations globally – many of whom come from very vulnerable backgrounds. UNICEF is committed to assisting the government of Viet Nam in creating an environment of protection and care for these children. UNICEF is also working to assist the government on strengthening the child abuse reporting systems and services for victims of exploitation.
Ms Loan said: ‘This successful prosecution represents the importance of increased awareness and the need for social services amongst the vulnerable communities in Viet Nam where children are starting to speak up against their abusers. We must continue to be vigilant and do much more if we are to see a dent in this devastating and resilient problem.”
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Ms. Le Hong Loan, Child Protection Section, UNICEF Viet Nam