One evening, sitting by the fire in my cottage in Essex, England, I watched a documentary about the abuse visited on children by sex tourists and the work done by Fr. Shay Cullen in Manila.
I thought about what I had seen and did research. I found that there was infrastructure for European, Australian and American men, in particular, to visit The Philippines and take part in the worst depravity that could be visited on children. Boys as young as nine years old, buggered over and over again and paid USD1, were left in gutters to die. Young girls, some not much more than babies, were - and there is no other word that carries such violent shock - fucked almost to death through every available orifice, the size of the men literally tearing the girls' insides to make space for his pleasure. Some ended up on rubbish tips, dying and being eaten by rats.
Parents in rural Philippines sent their children to the city where they were abused and an industry grew up of photographing and filming abuse and selling this pornography. And this was pre-internet. Technology has changed nothing except to shorten and to a degree obfuscate the lines of communication and to ease the making of payments. And today, as 4G and 5G role out and as mobile phones record in high definition, the market has moved : no longer is it entirely based in the slums and cheap hotels of Manila and its suburbs but now any barn can be a studio for a couple of hours and rural parents can - and do - sell their children over and over again.
I'd dealt with nasty child abuse cases - in both criminal and family courts. Once a barrister had to pull me off a defendant after I had defended and secured a conviction on a much reduced charge only for the **** to tell me exactly how he had achieved what I and a team of medics had proved was impossible. I couldn't tell the police what I'd learned and in any case, there was autrefois acquit to deal with but I could still kick the shit out of him and would have but for wiser heads, that day, than mine. Today, almost 40 years later, the anger wells up inside me every time I remember him. I can remember the extraordinary work we put in, the battery of tests I researched in those pre-internet days and ordered, the doctors who I persuaded to give entirely honest evidence to prove his inability to perform. I can remember sitting in the hallway of my flat in London, my wife trying not to hear what my telephone calls were about. Even today, as I remember, I can still smell him. I can still visualise the cell beneath the court where I set about him. Even after this, when I started to dig into the systematic abuse of children, mainly in the Far East, I was still horrified.
It wasn't only sexual abuse: in India, I found that parents in remote areas sent their children to beg on city streets. Damaged beggars earn more so their legs and/or arms were broken and deformity set in.