U.S. Pedophiles Nabbed in Cambodia Sex-Tourist Sting

By William Lajeunesse 

August 31, 2009 / foxnews.com 

LOS ANGELES —  EXCLUSIVE: Three Americans "tourists" are on their way home from Cambodia Monday after being arrested in an on-going federal sex tourism investigation.

The arrests are part of “Operation Twisted Traveler,” an effort by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to identify and prosecute sex tourists to Cambodia.

The suspects — whose names will be released by ICE officials at an L.A. news conference Monday — are allconvicted child sex offenders who served time in U.S. prisons. After their release investigators say they all headed to the most destitute neighborhoods in Cambodia, one of the poorest nations in Southeast Asia, where it is believed that they once again sexually assaulted young boys and girls.

FOX News was given exclusive access to the suspects and video of their arrest.

One of the men allegedly bought a 13-year-old Cambodian boy for $2 and a bag of rice, and raped him five times.

As one of the thousands of Western pedophiles, this 41-year-old California sex offender thought he could get away with the crime by escaping to Cambodia, the capital of the billion-dollar sex tourism trade in Southeast Asia.

But local police and U.S. investigators had the American under surveillance.

Now, he and two other California pedophiles are on aboard a jet landing Monday morning in Los Angeles from Tokyo.

Another of the men on board is a 74-year-old police call the ‘Pied Piper of Pedophiles.” He spent nine years in a California prison for molesting as many as 500 boys.

After his release from Atascadero State Hospital, where he refused treatment, records show he traveled to Southeast Asia at least eight times, where sources say he rode his motor scooter through the poorest neighborhoods of Cambodia's capital Phnom Penh, dropping a trail of U.S. dollar bills, to lure young boys back to his home where they were allegedly sexually assaulted.

The third man, a 59 year-old convicted of 18 counts of sexual intercourse with minors in 1995 in Menlo Park, was caught molesting a 10 year-old Vietnamese girl in an area called Kilo 11, a haven of child brothels 11 kilometers outside Phnom Penh.

“Cambodia in particular has been known for some time as a pedophile haven because there’s been a broken justice, no rule of law, and actually no laws on the books that would have been enforceable against these types of activities until recently,” said Jeff Blom, an investigator with International Justice Mission.

“We need to change the fear equation, make pedophiles fear going to jail.”

Cambodian police say other victims were believed to be given $5 or $10 after each sexual act and the children were photographed naked. Mothers of two of the abused boys lived on the street and sold their boys for $100 because, they said, “they needed the money.”

Investigators say all three sex offenders lived in or just outside the capital city of Phnom Penh while on their multiple trips to the Asian region in the last few years.

In the U.S. the men face charges under the Protect Act – a 2003 law that provides life terms for child sex offenders with prior convictions, a much longer sentence than offender would get abroad.

Investigators say the men are part of a thriving billion-dollar sex tourism business. After a crackdown in Thailand on child sex, the industry has moved primarily to Cambodia where pedophiles molest Vietnamese girls and Cambodian boys with little risk of being caught.

ICE hopes the arrest, done in conjunction with federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, Cambodian Police and two anti-child trafficking organizations, International Justice Mission and the human rights organization Action Por Les Enfants, will send a message that police are watching. Since 2003, ICE has arrested 70 international sex offenders under the Child Protect Act.

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Police protecting children?

It should be noted, the thriving child-sex industy has made a home in many orphanages around the world, as well.

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