Representatives from law enforcement agencies in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam gathered for a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on October 30 to look at ways of jointly combating child sex abuse stemming from the tourist industry.

Lt. Gen. Phan Van Vinh, head of the Crime Prevention General Department said that Vietnam is seeing a rise in the number of child sex offenders is also rising, especially those from abroad. Almost all their victims are poor and homeless children who live near tourist areas. However, the country still lacks an adequate legal system and experienced police and investigators to deal with this kind of crime.

According to the Criminal Statistics Bureau at Vietnam ’s Supreme People’s Procuracy, over 6,500 cases of child sex abuse involving around 6,800 defendants were brought to trial between 2007 and 2011.

Maj. Gen. Kosone Puawade from Thailand said that Thai police officers are frequently updated with the latest information on technology and investigation techniques. In addition, they also work closely with other sectors to collect information.

Brig Gen Yim Verak, Deputy Chief of Cambodia ’s Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Department said that their train stations and airports are adorned with warnings on child sex abuse.

Vietnam is committed to working closely with Interpol and overseas police agencies to investigate and verify cases related to this kind of crime, said Vinh.

He stressed on the need to fine tune the criminal legal system that concerns juveniles, especially children and carry out research in order to introduce measures to protect children from abusive behavior, especially those from highly vulnerable groups./.