Media reports on paedophilia in Goa
Preetu Nair on a blog, 9 Feb, 2007
I am a journalist working in Goa and would like to bring to your attention two stories which appeared
recently one the BBC report which goes like this: "Goa - new paedophile's paradise?"
and another story which appeared in Times of India , Mumbai edition issue dated 30
November 2006: "Paedophilic activities in Goa"
I would like to bring to your kind attention the sensational statements made by BBC.
"BBC Radio: World Service: 5 Jan: 9.05-9.30am GMT (repeated 12:05 and 20:05 on 5 Jan; 00:05 on 6 Jan.).
Child sex tourism is on the rise in India, but the authorities are in denial about the problem. Allan
Urry travels to the Indian state of Goa to investigate the state-run orphanages where boys as young as 10 are
made available to foreign tourists for sex. Allan says: "Once a hippy heaven, Goa is now a paedophile
paradise where, even if child sex abusers are caught, they can buy their way out of trouble."
Listen live online. I listened to the whole interview and was quite suprised and startled to know that BBC is not
mentioning any line to support the the sensational statement being made
"Allan Urry travels to the Indian state of Goa to investigate the state-run orphanages
where boys as young as 10 are made available to foreign tourists for sex."
two main persons (read NGOs) quoted in the story - Nishtha Desai of Children's Rights Goa and
Arun Pandey of Arz are saying that they have been misquoted.
When Arun Pandey said, "Traffickers in Bombay contact the local traffickers and ask them how many girls they
want, and then they traffic the girls by buses. The local traffickers receive these girls from the bus
stop and then they supply them to the hotels and lodges... it's a very organised network," to
Allan, he was actually referring to trafficking of persons for commercial sex work and not child sexual abuse.
This has been clarified by Arun himself.
I wrote to the BBC reporter asking for a clarification and also wrote to the Producer of the
programme but no reply. I think you will agree with me how the image of Goa is sullied by making sensational
another disturbing report in the "Times of India" issue dated 30 November 2006,
in which Terre Des Hommes (TDH) child protection officer Ms. Christa Dammermann and Ingrid Mendonca, deputy regional
co-ordinator TDH spoke to the media about "paedophilic activities in Goa" at
("Paedophilia slur on Indian tourists , Offenders In Goa Not Always Foreigners: NGO Times News Network" appeared
in Times of India, Mumbai edition, November 30,2006,page 6 (Nation Page)
There are some very disturbing points she has made to the reporters that needs immediate attention,
especially since I work in Goa. The remarks show how ignorant the speaker is about the scenario in Goa.
Let me make it clear at the onset that my intention is not to criticize but only to help people genuine in
their task. After all, Terre Des Hommes (TDH) is a respectable and
serious funding agency which supports NGO's working on the issues of children and I am a
journalist who has been reporting on these issues since last three years.
I must admit that I was shocked to read such irresponsible quotes from individuals representing a
reputed and committed organisation like TDH.
What exactly is my objection?
Christa Dammermann, who was in Pune to attend the national project partners meeting at YMCA on
children's rights said,
"I was taken aback to discover that Indian tourists were indulging in child
sexual abuse in Goa. We also found that 60% of the cases involved perpetrators who were not even 18 years
of age. She said that this dispelled the notion that only foreigners who came to Goa indulged in such
Is there any data to prove this claim? How can Ms. Dammerman reach such a conclusion? In three years of
my career as journalist I have not come across a case wherein a domestic tourist has been arrested for
paedophilia. On the contrary three foreigners were arrested for pedophilic activities by the police but
were later acquitted by the Children's Court in Goa for lack of evidence.
It is also pertinent to note here that majority of cases in the Children's Court are about child sexual
abuse and 80 percent of them is not committed by foreigners or domestic tourists, but by migrant
labourers or known persons.
No one denies the fact that paedophilia is a problem in Goa, but the extent and magnitude of the problem is
not really known because there is no study in this regard and these kinds of statements add to existing
It is sad that without any concrete data to support the claim, TDH's representative is making such
Ingrid Mendonca, deputy regional co-ordinator TDH said that during their recent visit to Goa they found that
Indian tourists were seeking minors when they visited red light areas there.
There can't be anything more ridiculous than this. Anyone who has visited and studied Goa knows that
Baina, the unofficial red light area of Goa, was demolished in 2004. I don't deny the fact that
prostitution still exists in Baina, but to say that Indian tourists seek minors when they visit the area
is too much of an exaggeration. Besides, if that was the case then why was not a single customer seeking
minors not arrested. NGO Anyay Rahit Zindagi (ARZ) is working in the area and must admit that they have done
a commendable job in the area. However, they are also completely ignorant of such a trend.
I received finally a response from Christa Dammermann
"Regarding your remarks related to the article in Times of India I have spoken about offences of sexual
exploitation of children in Germany, where we found 30 to 60% of perpetrators in cases reported to counseling
centres here are less than 18 years of age."
I do not know what to make of this statement. Well this is the scenario I just wanted to put before this you
whether there is any mechanisms to control this typeof approach individuals and organisations who make
sensational statements and then leave the issue to die a natural death.