It was a normal day in the life of 13-year-old Jeremiah as he was leaving the schoolyard in Angeles City. He saw his classmates running to get candies and chocolates being handed out by an overweight, cheerful, balding Caucasian man. He sat outside his house, which was close to the school, handing out candies and the children flocked to get them. He invited some of the boys to inside his house and upstairs, where more candies and a television show await. He quickly made friends with them.
In the following days, he did the same thing, until the boys felt comfortable in his house. Then he showed them videos of men and boys having sex. Jeremiah was embarrassed but Douglas Slade took him to his lap and the abuse happened. It was just one of several incidents of sexual abuse. Jeremiah became different. He was morose and depressed, psychologically damaged by the sexual abuse.
Jeremiah told his parents. They immediately filed charges against Douglas Slade and then the other boys came forward to say Slade had done similar acts of abuse to them. They filed charges in court.
The years passed, but none of the cases against the wealthy Slade prospered. There were rumors of corruption and bribery at all levels in the prosecution and the judiciary but inexplicably, despite the direct testimony of the victims and other witnesses, the judge dismissed the cases. In an interview with ITV, an undercover camera taped Slade admitting that his lawyer made payments to have the cases dismissed.
There is a thriving dark business in courtrooms to allow foreign child sex abusers or wealthy Filipinos go free for a price to abuse more children. That’s what Slade did: he felt protected and abused children again. What is also just as shocking is the level of corruption and absence of moral values among these judges who should protect children and bring their abusers to justice.
To be abused by people you trust is a terrible experience. Majority of cases of sexual abuse of children happens in the family. Thousands of children are sexually abused every day, one in every three girls and one in every six boys. That is a terrible statistic and a condemnation of human society. Only a fraction of the victims can ever tell the abuse happened.
Slade had been accused of child sexual abuse in the UK. He travelled to the Philippines where he set up a business and a house where he abused children and he got away with it because of corrupt officials. As a child abuse suspect, he should have been banned from leaving the UK. But no court order was handed down to stop him from fleeing.
After years of lobbying by Preda Foundation and good police work in the UK, Slade was extradited back to the UK and was put on trial for the child abuse he committed there. He was convicted and sentenced to 24 years in jail. The boys he abused in the Philippines received no justice and no recompense. Preda, with a pro-bono lawyer, sued Slade in the UK for compensation for the injuries they have suffered. That case is ongoing in London.
Pedophiles like Slade and many thousands of others from Australia convicted of child abuse will be banned from traveling abroad, thanks to a new law that will soon take effect. The United States is considering new legislation to ban citizens from traveling to North Korea. Also, many nations have passed laws that ban suspected neophyte jihadists from travelling to Syria to join a jihad.
They are only suspects, not convicted of any crime, so it is right and good to have a law to ban convicted pedophiles and sex offenders from travelling beyond the reach of police monitoring and surveillance service in their own countries.
Prevention is so much better than cure. There was a time in the Philippines when a child had to be abused first before any action can be taken. So if a child sex abuser took a child to a hotel room, the police would not go to rescue the child because there was no evidence of abuse. They would need an arrest warrant.
We lobbied for many years and had the child protection law, known as Republic Act 7610, passed. Under Section 6 of the law, it is a blatant crime for a non-relative of a child to be alone with him or her in a secluded area. That gives the police and social workers the right to move in to the hotel room or any secluded place and rescue the child and make an arrest.
Lobbying and campaigning in your community and with political leaders for the cancellation of the passports of pedophiles is one great campaign that will save thousands of children from abuse in the days and years to come. Let’s get to work and do it!