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The need to stop sex tourism

Specialist international abuse claims lawyer Rebekah Read comments on the recent conviction of a man for abusing Kenyan girls

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Rebekah blogs about human rights in the UK and internationally. You can follow Rebekah on twitter on @RebekahRead
This week Keith Morris, a locksmith from Hull, was sentenced to 18 years and 6 months in prison by Leeds Crown Court having been convicted of numerous counts of rape and sexual assaults against Kenyan girls.

Morris groomed the children by bringing them clothing and household goods, taking them on trips and sometimes contributing towards medical bills and education costs.  As is typical in these cases, he then tried to manipulate and bribe them into helping him prove his innocence.  This led to charges of perverting the course of justice.

Our international abuse team at Leigh Day assist children, who have suffered abuse by British men, in claiming compensation to assist with the cost of therapeutic treatment and education.  

The team brought the landmark case against the British Airways pilot Simon Wood who committed suicide before facing trial for sexually abusing children in Kenya and Uganda.

In our work we see countless examples of British men, including charity workers and missionaries, often who have a history of abuse in the UK, travelling overseas to abuse some of the most vulnerable children in the world, in countries where they feel able to bribe their way out of any criminal charges.

There are too many British men who think they can exploit the dire need of children and families living in extreme poverty overseas by providing basic clothes and shoes and then carrying out horrendous acts of sexual abuse.  

Convictions like these are helping to turn the tide. With NCA tackling these international complex cases, men who think they can continue to carry out this abuse with impunity should think again.

We welcome the impressive work of NCA in bringing Morris to justice, and the work they have done previously in bringing men like Simon Harris who was convicted of sexually abusing street boys in Kenya and Mark Frost who was convicted of raping young boys in Thailand, to account. 

In both of these cases Leigh Day was able to assist the survivors in compensation claims once the criminal case had concluded.  Although the tide is turning, more needs to be done.  Courts should consider issuing travel bans when men are convicted of abuse in the UK and international organisations should have proper measures in place to ensure that they are not being used as a vehicle for abuse.

Should you want to discuss the issue of foreign abuse with one of our specialist team at Leigh Day, please contact Rebekah Read on 020 7650 1125. 

If anyone has information on Morris’s offending they should contact the NCA on 01925 663355.

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