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Ecpat's Helen Veitch
"It is a very powerful advert"
 real 28k

The BBC's Jack Baine
"Campaigners identified two loopholes"
 real 28k

Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Advert targets abuse loophole

Campaigners want to protect more children from abuse
The story of real life child abuse victims will be told in a new cinema advert highlighting legal loopholes which allow some paedophiles to escape the sex offenders register.

At present paedophiles convicted abroad who later return to the UK do not have to register with the British police.

Six major charities are backing the commercial by the End Child Prostitution, Pornography and Trafficking group (Ecpat), which uses true examples of when known abusers have re-offended.

I want to channel the anger I feel about my children into something positive

Mother of two victims

Campaigners, supported by television presenter Esther Rantzen, hope to tighten the law to protect more children from convicted abusers.

Ecpat co-ordinator Helen Veitch said offenders convicted in the UK were still allowed to travel freely to take part in "sex tourism" in other countries.

She said: "We are campaigning to have the register amended as the sexual exploitation of children is not an issue limited by national boundaries."

Offenders return

The new Sex Offenders Act, introduced three years ago, enabled authorities in the UK to prosecute people who abused children overseas.

Esther Rantzen: Supporting advert launch on Thursday

It also set up the register which gave police extra powers to track the movements of sex offenders. But it did not allow for paedophiles convicted abroad to be added to the register.

The new advert, directed by award-winning filmmaker Tony Kaye, shows a mother allowing a travelling salesman into her home where he starts playing with her eight-year-old daughter.

Mother's anger

A voiceover explains that, as a former Lance Corporal in the Ordnance Corps stationed in Germany, he was found guilty in 1990 of raping a young girl.

After four years behind bars he was deported to the UK a free man where he abducted and indecently assaulted two young sisters, aged 10 and 12, on their way home from church.

The man was jailed in 1998 for life.

The mother of the two sisters joined Mrs Rantzen at the premiere of the trailer, which has a U certificate, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London on Thursday.

She said: "Before this tragedy happened to my family I read about stories of children being sexually abused by British men in countries like the Philippines and Brazil and they filled me with horror.

"I want to channel the anger I feel about my children into something positive.

"The Register of Sex Offenders needs changing now."

A Home Office spokeswoman said protecting children from sex offenders was a priority for the government which was aware of the issues raised by Ecpat.

She said the government planned to work with children's charities and agencies when the law is reviewed in the coming months.

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11 Jun 99 | Asia-Pacific
Vietnam on sex tourism alert
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