New Internationalist

Indian orphans sexually abused by western paedophile ring

goa.jpg [Related Image]
Goa was ‘discovered’ by hippies and backpackers in the 1960s and 1970s. under a Creative Commons Licence

Goa, about 40 years ago, was just Goa. Home to a laid-back people who spread all over the world because the Portuguese colonial masters did little to educate or create job opportunities for the local population.

To the average Indian, indeed to most coastal people, except for Caucasians, beaches were places where one sometimes swam – or walked, dressed casually perhaps, but fully clothed – to enjoy the sea breezes. Old people, women and children gingerly tested the waters dipping a cautious foot in first, then perhaps wading in knee deep. People fished a lot. And wonderful seafood cuisines evolved..

Local people did not lounge on the beach for leisure. They scurried indoors to avoid the sun. This is true of most indigenous coastal populations around the world. Caucasians, coming from colder climes, raised their faces for the sun’s benediction. Local Asians or Africans thought this was crazy and left the sun-worship to, as Kipling put it, ‘mad dogs and Englishmen (who) go out in the noon-day sun.’

Goa was ‘discovered’ and became a ‘happening’ hot-spot with the invasion of hippies and backpackers in the 1960s and 1970s. Goans, generally tolerant people, soon became fed up of drugs and undressed people. They protested, but tourists brought in big bucks. The drugs and sex soon became big business. Environmentalists decried the destruction of  beaches. Ordinary families were infuriated by foreigners fornicating in full view of children and shocked passers-by. Now Indian tourists come to gawk at the nearly naked women, satisfying god-knows-what fantasies they conceive from phone porn clips. There is a Russian mafia and an Israeli mafia. There are beaches where Indians are not welcome and locals  dare not cross those boundaries. White women and drugs from Russia and Eastern Europe are trafficked at super high prices for those who can afford them. The mafia does not interfere with you if you don’t interfere with it.

Trafficking and drugs are part of a frightening world far away from my life. But an article in a local daily left me disturbed and sleepless.

A convicted British paedophile is resisting extradition to India to face charges of being part of the paedophile ring that sexually abused and tortured children in a Goa orphanage between 1986 and 1992.

Kerala, Goa, and other tourist destinations are hot-spots for western paedophiles, offenders often  escaping back to their own countries with impunity.  

The Indian government has filed an appeal in Britain for the extradition of Raymond Varleyto face charges of sexual offences against children in Goa. His lawyers claim he will commit suicide if he is retruned to India and that he cannot stand trial as he suffers from memory loss and dementia.

Indian and British activists are horrified that Varley, who has previous convictions for abusing children, may avoid trial after he managed to get a neuro-psychologist,  chosen by himself, to testify that he suffers from dementia.

Christine Beddoe, former director of End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT) UK, says: ‘Whether Raymond Varley is faking dementia or not, I am really shocked and dismayed that the Crown Prosecution Service failed to obtain an independent psychiatric assessment.’  

She adds: ‘If the current application for appeal on the extradition is refused, he will be a free man and will no longer be subject to his current restrictive bail conditions which prevent him from going near schools and children’s play areas.’

In light of Prime Minister David Cameron’s recent vow to fight child abuse, paedophile activity and porn, I am shocked that there seems to be more protection for paedophiles than for children. Child rights organizations like End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking (ECPAT), Save the Children and others, band together to get justice for British and Indian children? I urge them to do so. And I appeal to readers to write letters to the PM and relevant organizations. If we call ourselves civilized, we must protect our children.

Comments on Indian orphans sexually abused by western paedophile ring

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

  1. #1 David Cohen 30 May 14

    Mari Marcel Thekaekara's poignant blog on the invasion of Goa from hippies to sex trafficking, pedophile outrages, the surrender to the Russian and Israeli Mafia plus the battling of extradition by a person escaping responsibility, brings to mind for me the constant ’false balances’ that our legal procedures in the name of liberty allow.

    It is one thing to protect against extradition when political liberties and dissent are at stake. In that instance the highest protection must go to the dissenter even if that person may have violated laws. For example, although I believe that Edward Snowden should have been willing to stand trial from his actions that he acknowledges he took--unlike others who protest and engage in forms of civil disobedience and on principle stood trial-- he should not be extradited. He made a choice that in my estimation diminishes, and even vitiates, his principle. (I know many people disagree with me but my historical perspective has a well earned place in the public discussion.)

    When it comes to overt abusive behavior, lasting harmful actions (think of the predatory priests and what they did to young children, mostly boys) and we are in a different setting. In a system of legal procedures that are well grounded and are fair, and in addition are democratically based (though that does not have to a pre-condition) the failure of governments to support extradition stands as a permanent escutcheon on their record. They have for all practical purposes aided and abetted child abuse. That should and must change!

    David Cohen
    Washington, DC
    May 30, 2014

  2. #2 Ludwig Pesch 30 May 14

    This blog raises such a serious issue, it must be read as a call for action: the idyllic and the horrifying are two sides of the same coin, be it in mass tourism and in looking after children anywhere in the world. Rarely they are in such close vicinity as in Goa where strangers meet with plenty of time and money to spend in often dubious ways.
    How to bring about real change? Several parties need to work together or else, as you have rightly mentioned, it entails serious risks for an individual. Good intentions won't do here as going by international reports, enormous profits are being made by practices too painful to even imagine.

    There are two Indian useful partner NGOs to consider in fighting the menace; i.e. preventing abuse before it happens by making the vulnerable aware of the dangers; and shaming those whose connivance has made it all possible:
    1. Equitable Tourism Options (EQUATIONS) which “is a research, campaign and advocacy organisation. We study the social, cultural, economic and environmental impact of tourism on local communities.“
    2. Video Volunteers: ’Our international community media organization equips women and men in underdeveloped areas with video journalism skills, enabling entire communities to expose underreported stories from their communities and take action to right the wrongs of poverty, injustice and inequality.’
    Fellow readers of this blog should consider sponsoring the training of video reporters among those concerned as no large amounts are even needed for them to change lives for the better.
    Keeping in mind that those involved in child abuse will ’not interfere with you if you don’t interfere’, and as described in an interview in the print edition of the NewIn (see last page), good training and protection of activists must be ensured before confronting powerful parties and people with high, often international connections!

    Both the above organisations have a wide reach and years of experience in tackling difficult issues in the face of profiteering at the expense of vulnerable groups.

    Any effective strategy for change will have to come from responsible Indian citizens. Otherwise it would be easy for criminals and corrupt officials to complain about slander, foreign interference, or even damage to Indian economic interests. The bureaucratic reflex to any new revelation is likely to go through the usual stages (denial, finding local scapegoats rather than punishing the real perpetuators of crimes).

    Being shocked at the human ’capacity’ to inflict suffering won't do. Some interventions are clearly needed while justice will hopefully take its course.

  3. #3 Bharti Patel, CEO ECPAT UK 02 Jun 14

    Thanks Mari for this excellent article on development of travelling sex offenders in Goa. I very much agree more needs to be done to hold governments responsible for the actions of their citizens against vulnerable children across the globe. To that end ECPAT UK is holding a seminar on Transnational Child Abuse – Justice and Support for Children - Who is responsible, on 4th June, in London. The seminar will discuss the failings in the UK’s national laws, policies and practices in protecting and supporting child victims of transnational abuse.

    We welcome the opportunity to share the recommendations on next steps from the seminar.

  4. #4 Tara 05 Jun 14

    This article is mostly about ONE specific peadophile, and as such the head line is sensationalist and misleading. Peadophilia is NOT only a western problem. There is plenty of child abuse happening in India by Indian, and this sort of skewed portrayal of peadophila as a western evil is nonsense.

  5. #5 mari 05 Jun 14

    Hi Tara

    Thanks for yr comment.
    I agree, the title gives a skewed picture. I haven't the slightest desire to imply that child abuse and paedophilia are the preserve of western pervert. We have loads of despicable perverts in India too.

    My main point is, the perpetrator should be extradited and brought to India to face prosecution.
    Its difficult to understand why anyone worries more about the rights of paedophiles than abused children or rushes to protect them and pervert justice. Even worse let the man go back to molesting innocent British kids if he's allowed out of the British prison system.

    Thanks for pointing out the misleading title.



  6. #6 Chandrika Sen Sharma 05 Jun 14

    Such a shame that beautiful Goa is ruined for families because the government is hesitant to throw out the ’tourists’ who are running rough shod over laws and regulations that should protect the locals and genuine tourists. Goa used to be exactly how you described it, Mari - beautiful, laid-back and a delightful treat when we were kids and used to love to go to places like Kanya Kumari and Goa to enjoy the sea. Shame also to the government of the UK, if they refuse to extradite Varley on grounds of dementia - I'm sure he was very much in command of his faculties when he committed his atrocities on the orphans.

  7. #7 Betty 06 Jun 14

    I'll be branded rabid and Right leaning, but I'm increasingly
    leaning towards rough justice, power back in the people's hands.
    An eye for an eye sort of thing. Physical castration for child abusers and rapists.


  8. #8 priya thomas 06 Jun 14

    this guy should commit suicide-people who don't see people-and children worse still- as human beings and violate them don't deserve to live as humans-and whoever pleads his case is guilty of a worse sin

  9. #9 Christine 06 Jun 14

    Hi Mari

    We saw something similar on tv the other day in Australia. Some 40 years ago, in an orphanage, young girls were treated in an appalling manner.. they were not only raped several times, they were mercilessly beaten too. And the men who are responsible are now in their 80s.. walking around free.. The law has only now caught up to them.

    The world has been blessed (and cursed, for some) by the internet and mobile phones that exposes and voice their opinion like never before. The affluent and the strong got away with everything in the old days – now they better think twice before even entertaining such a thought.. Someone is always watching… and recording them – and sooner or later it will be out on YouTube. The world has just begun scratching the surface. So look out for more crimes that has been swept under the carpet.. being brought out in the open. The poor and the underprivileged just did not have a voice then – but now, it’s a new world.. it’s going to be different.

    No one .. and I mean NO ONE gets away with ill-treating the poor and vulnerable.. . and I do believe they will get their reward in this world itself.

    I am all for exposing anyone who has held a child.. or anyone under some kind of oppression.. it is wrong.. wrong.. wrong. And no one should tolerate. Each of us should take an internal oath to speak up when we see anyone going through any kind of oppression. Be it between a husband and a wife.. or a father and a child. It is our moral duty to come to the aid of the oppressed person.


  10. #10 Niral 14 Jun 14

    ....even the law protects the criminal ... but what about the victim???

  11. #11 Bee 14 Jun 14

    Always put a photograph of the perpetrator to publicly shun them and also to make the public aware of what they look like.


  12. #12 Matt in London 14 Jun 14

    The main problem facing the world nowadays is the lack of accountability. The problem is not as much what this guy did or didn't do, rather than the fact that he'll never go on trial if he has his way. No accountability, no truth, same as with Jimmy Savile, Cyril Smith and many others.

    Now #11 - ’always put a photo of the perpetrator’. Er... no. Rebekah Brooks tried to do that, and it backfired spectacularly. Experience shows that pointing fingers is not a solution until the person has had a fair trial (which, admittedly, is the core of the problem in this particular case). A few years ago a man got set on fire by an angry crowd in Madagascar on suspicion of abusing and killing a child. The fact is, no one really knows what happened to the child. The other fact is: this man is now dead, and no one knows for sure whether he was guilty or innocent of what happened. Mob rule is great only as long as you're not the one having the finger pointed at.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

About the author

Mari Marcel Thekaekara a New Internationalist contributor

Mari is a writer based in Gudalur, in the Nilgiri hills of Tamil Nadu. She writes on human rights issues with a focus on dalits, adivasis, women, children, the environment, and poverty. Mari's book Endless Filth, published in 1999, on balmikis, is to be followed by a second book on campaigns within India to abolish manual scavenging work. She co-founded Accord in 1985 to work with Adivasi people. Mari has been a contributor to New Internationalist since 1991.

About the blog I travel around India a lot, covering dalit and adivasi issues. I often find myself really moved by stories that never make it to the mainstream media. My son Tarsh suggested I start blogging. And the New Internationalist collective are the nicest bunch of editors I’ve worked with. So here goes.

Read more by Mari Marcel Thekaekara

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Popular tags

All tags


auto-generated 'theme' category