101 East

Nepal’s Children at Risk

Investigating rising fears that Nepal has become a target for paedophiles acting under the cover of aid work.

Thousands of foreigners come to Nepal each year, offering to help children living in poverty.

Some provide money, others work for aid organisations or even set up charities.

But police say some come for more sinister purposes.

A rising number of foreigners have been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing children in recent months.

This 101 East investigation finds many of the accused worked for charitable organisations or were financially supporting poor children and their families.

“They’re misusing their power and they’re exploiting our children,” says Kabit Katawal, Deputy Superintendent of the Nepal Police.

One of those on trial is Peter Dalglish, a world-renowned aid worker who has spent the last two decades helping some of the world’s most vulnerable children, from Africa to Afghanistan and Asia.

In a rare interview from behind bars, Dalglish insists he is an innocent man caught up in a police crackdown.

While Nepal recently introduced tougher penalties for anyone convicted of child sex abuse, advocates say much more needs to be done to protect children.

“There is a Sanskrit saying: ‘Guests are like God’,” says Pinky Singh Rana, a human rights activist and board member of Saathi, a local organisation that counsels abuse victims and their families.

“So when foreigners befriend and build up very close relationships with the parents of some of these abused boys, then for them, it’s even harder to believe.”

On this episode, 101 East investigates how those meant to protect children can sometimes be their predators.