The shame of sex tourism

By Thembisile Makgalemele Time of article published Jan 28, 2006

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The Zimmermann case is yet one more chapter in a litany of shame involving Swiss sex tourists taking advantage of poor children in third world countries.

India's Women in Media, a forum for female journalists, reported in 1997 that Umed, a child right's organisation received a complaint the previous year against a 52-year-old Swiss national, Ernie Jean Francois, who had bought a nine-year-old girl from Pune. The girl, it was reported, had been with him for almost a year.

In February 1997, BBC news reported that a judge and two policemen from Switzerland arrived in Sri Lanka as part of an investigation into a suspected Swiss paedophile. A senior police official said the suspect had a young Sri Lankan boy with him when he was arrested in Bern.

In October the same year, child care experts in Sri Lanka warned that child prostitution was being promoted to foreigners on the internet. There were up to 600 internet advertisements for Sri Lankan children, mainly boys, said an official.

In 1998, Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader reported that Viktor Baumann, a Swiss

national and Sri Lanka resident, had sexually molested nearly 250 Sri Lankan children, some as young as 12, during a 14-year period from 1984 to 1996.

Baumann was sentenced to four and half-years in jail in a Zurich court.

In 2004, the Indian Express and Women in Media, reported that from 1989, a Swiss couple, Wilhelm Marty (61) a general manager of a multinational Swiss pharmaceutical firm and wife Loshiar Lily Marty (58), a trained nurse, had travelled from Switzerland to Mumbai, and probably to the Philippines and Sri Lanka, trawling for children.

The couple was caught red-handed in 2000, with six victims; girls aged between eight and nine years in a room at a five-star hotel. Their modus-operandi, according to police, was simple: They would lure poor children, and then force them to indulge in pornographic acts as they filmed them.

They would then post the explicit footage on the web. The couple was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. However, they were freed after undergoing half their sentence, when the court allowed them to pay compensation to their victims' families.

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