A four-time Nobel Peace Prize nominee has called on developed countries to ban pedophiles and suspected sex offenders from foreign travel in the same way as suspected terrorists.
Father Shay Cullen, an Irish missionary who has been rescuing street children in the Philippines since 1974, said hundreds of thousands of sex tourists travel to the country from Australia, Britain, Ireland and the US.
The Columban priest missed out on the Nobel prize last week, but praised the decision to award it to a Melbourne-born advocacy group that pushed to establish the first treaty to ban nuclear weapons.
Father Cullen said in the Philippines “the whole moral fabric of society and protection of human rights and the dignity of women and children is breaking down”.
“One thing right now I would say to any government is to pass a law that would ban all convicted sex offenders from travelling abroad. That would be a very good thing they could do.”
“Why not? The international and Irish sex tourists, why are they coming here raping our children?”
Father Cullen said his team had rescued a 12-year-old girl who was pregnant after being raped by a neighbour. On Thursday, a five-year-old girl was also rescued after being raped by her father.
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Based in Olongapo city, the missionary also rescues children detained illegally in jails and victims of human trafficking.
Speaking from the Preda Foundation offices, he described life in the Philippines.
“It’s dire. It’s very sad. We have thousands, hundreds of thousands of sex tourists coming here to abuse women and children,” Father Cullen said.
“The abuse of children at this extent is terrible – incest is growing here because of the sex tourism.”