Their latest holiday destination

Tim McGirk tells a horror story from India, the country now favoured by sex tourists

They called him "Father Freddy", although whether he is really a priest remains in dispute. Freddy Peat, 71, is an Anglo-German who acted as a social worker with the Catholic church in the Indian beach resort of Goa.

Father Freddy was recently sentenced to life imprisonment in India for sodomy, procuring children for prostitution and selling obscene photographs of minors being sexually assaulted. He was linked to an "orphanage" where more than 150 boys and girls were sadistically abused and tortured, mostly by foreigners.

The case highlights a change in patterns of paedophile sex tourism, a phenomenon causing increasing concern both in the West and in Asia. India is rapidly replacing Thailand and the Philippines as the most popular paedophile sex destination and the organised abuse of Indian children is soaring.

Stringent new laws, along with the spread of Aids, are discouraging sex tourists away from Thailand and the Philippines. While India has many laws protecting minors, they are rarely enforced.

Activists claim that the number of child prostitutes in India has risen from an estimated 50,000 in 1991 to more than 250,000 today. Many of them were kidnapped from poor families and are locked in brothels in Bombay and Calcutta, while others are lured into the sex trade in Goa, Kovallam beach in Kerala state and Orissa's beach of Puri.

In Britain, campaigners want new laws passed so that paedophiles can be prosecuted for sex crimes committed abroad. Sweden, Germany and Canada have recently brought in similar legislation. Already a Bill has passed the Commons which will penalise organisers of paedophile "sex tours" abroad. But with so many desperate Asian children living in poverty, they will continue to be easy prey for paedophiles, activists say.

The Father Freddy story shows just what horrors this implies. A gaunt and white-bearded Goa resident, Peat was arrested after police raided his flat near Margao and found 2,305 obscene photographs. Sheila Barse, a Bombay child-rights activist, said many are seared in her memory.

The worst, she said, was of a two-and-a-half-year-old girl held by her hands and legs, "like a hammock". Ms Barse explained: "Another partially visible man holds her legs while his huge organ stabs and twists into her. The baby's mouth is stretched in an explosive expression of unbearable pain and shock. Her face is rumpled and you can tell she's screaming. The effect on me of that photo is traumatic enough, but think of what it was like for her - the baby."

Ms Barse and police believe that Peat may have been selling the hard- core photographs through paedophile networks abroad. "Along the beaches in Goa you find an endless stream of sexual prowlers, but Peat was different. He was part of an organised ring," she said.

Interpol is investigating links between Peat's orphanages and several paedophile groups identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the US, such as the Paedophile Information Network Exchange in London, the Paedo Alert Network (Pan) in Holland, the Lewis Carroll Collectors' Guild, the Childhood Sensuality Circle and the North American Man-Boy Lovers' Association.

In raids on Mr Peat's flat, police also found syringes, pain-killers and anti-spasmodic drugs which they believe were injected into the young boys in the attempts to give them erections. Another photograph from Mr Peat's collection shows a six-year-old boy blindfolded and strapped to the wall. Drugs are being pumped into his testes with a rubber tube attached to a needle.

Interpol is seeking two British men, Raymond Varley and AP Rebello, for questioning in connection with the Peat case. Both are thought to have left India. A third Westerner, Owen McBride, said to be either a Briton or a New Zealander, is also being sought.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
Sport
football
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us