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Harris conviction: greater cross-country working needed to deter sex offenders

BASW has called for greater cross-country working to deter sex offenders following the conviction of a British man for sexual offences against children in Kenya.

Education charity worker Simon Harris has been convicted of eight charges of indecent and sexual assault on children and young people in Gilgil, Kenya and four of possessing indecent images of children.

The case is the first prosecution to use legislation which allows British citizens to be tried for sex offences committed abroad against children, if it is also an offence in that country.

Harris, a British citizen originally from Pudleston, near Leominster, Herefordshire, was originally exposed by a Channel 4 Unreported World documentary.

The programme sparked an investigation by West Mercia Police that led to Harris’ conviction in a British court. Harris will be sentenced in the New Year.

BASW Chief Executive Bridget Robb said: “This case sends a clear message that sex offenders will be dealt with by the British courts regardless of where offences take place. This case marks a significant shift in international efforts to stop offenders and punish them for their terrible crimes against children. It also shows solidarity for survivors of child sexual abuse across the world.

“We trust this tragic case leads to a concerted effort to improve cross-country working so that sex offenders can be identified and apprehended quickly. Sex offenders should not feel that they will get away with their crimes simply because they move to a different country with a specific intention to target vulnerable children”.