Tuesday, July 16, 2002

Cambodia jails Italian for child sex

There is a growing problem with sex tourism in Asia
There is a growing problem with sex tourism in Asia

An Italian man has been jailed for 10 years in Cambodia for sexually abusing four boys.

Alain Filippo Berruti was found guilty of debauchery and of exploiting the Cambodian children, who were aged between 11 and 14.

He was arrested in 2001 when police found him with the boys on the banks of the Tonle Sap river in the capital Phnom Penh.

The case highlighted Cambodia's growing problem with sex tourism: thousands of sex tourists head to the country each year, many of them looking for children.

Most of the tourists come from Europe and the US.

These boys are street boys and they are prostitutes
— Alain Filippo Berruti

Berruti, a 30-year-old electrician from Milan, admitted having sex with the boys but said it was consensual because he had paid them $3 each.

"I admit to having sexual experiences with them but not deep sex like they charged me with," Berutti said, adding that the boys had approached him.

Berruti said he would appeal against the verdict.

The court also fined him $1,000 to be paid to the families of the four boys.

Judge Nop Sophon said Cambodia "cannot accept these kinds of crimes".

The sentence is believed to be the most severe handed down in a Cambodian paedophile case.

Two other Westerners have been convicted of the charge in Cambodia.

An Englishman served less than a year in prison in 1995.

Another Englishman is serving a three-year sentence after being caught videotaping young girls.

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Created: April 12, 2003
Last modified: April 13, 2003
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