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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Virtual Global-PAC keeps feet on ground in Sihanoukville

Virtual Global-PAC keeps feet on ground in Sihanoukville

Virtual Global-PAC keeps feet on ground in Sihanoukville

The anti-pedophile organization Global-PAC, which calls itself a "virtual NGO"

is exactly that in Cambodia: virtual.

Global-PAC (Protect All Children) is still active in the Sihanoukville area, and

claims to be still working with the Cambodian anti-trafficking police, but has not

yet applied for registration as an NGO.

Global-PAC's director, Jack Sanders, said he was willing to wait until there was

a minister in charge to write to about registering as an NGO. He said this was a

result of Christian Guth, international adviser to the Anti-Trafficking and Child

Protection Police, calling GPAC "amateurs" and saying they had not followed

usual protocol in dealing directly with senior police officers who were "unwise"

to accept gifts from Sanders and his deputy Gerald Thorns, who are both New Zealanders.

Guth said the police would not be having any more involvement with Global-PAC.

Cambodia does not have a law covering NGOs, but according to the human rights NGO

Licadho, authorization to register must be obtained from both the Ministry of Foreign

Affairs and Ministry of the Interior to set up a local NGO.

Director Naly Pilorge said various approvals must then be obtained from local level

authorities (province, commune, district). Some NGOs also signed Memorandums of Agreement

with various ministries to ensure co-operation but this was not an obligation. There

was also an NGO code of ethics, initiated by Star Kampuchea, and signed by various

NGOs, but no mechanisms to enforce it.

"People should take time to find out about profile, activities, setup of an

NGO before providing funding. Most NGOs have a board of directors, management committee,

reports on activities and results, and history of other donors or grants," Pilorge

said.

The Post put some emailed questions to Sanders who replied through a Ted Underhill,

describing himself as the South American co-ordinator for Global-PAC. He said (June

2) Sanders was on vacation in Haiti and Thorns was tracking pedophiles in Sihanoukville.

Here are the edited replies:

Q: Have you applied to register Global-PAC as an NGO in Cambodia?

"Guth neglected to mention that there is no minister and no government. We are

willing to wait. We have a copy of the official requirements that the government

needs to approve an NGO which includes having to rent an office. We prefer to co-operate

with local churches and don't have offices or cars so that the money we spend is

of more direct benefit to the victims rather than luxuries for ourselves."

Q: What is Gerald Thorns doing in Sihanoukville (where several people reported seeing

him last week)?

"Gerald is tracking pedophiles. There are plenty [of them] and they seem to

have a free hand. Someone should keep an eye on them; they are not being monitored

by anyone else."

He referred to a statement in our last article (Post, May 21) that Starfish (a Sihanoukville

community NGO) had never heard of Global-PAC: "Will Capell from Starfish met

with Gerald months ago, they do know us and we can't understand why various NGO groups

don't like the way we operate to the point of making false claims in the media about

us.

"There is something wrong with what these NGO groups claim to be doing. For

sure there are homosexual and heterosexual child molesters working in NGO groups,

schools and hospitals in Cambodia."

Q: Are you still working with the anti-trafficking police?

"We have an ongoing relationship with them despite the best efforts of other

publications in Cambodia who have deliberately tried to interfere with the trust

we have built. An article inferring that GPAC members were wanted by police was intended

to destroy our credibility but it did not work because it is a proven falsehood.

It left us wondering why they would use such tactics."

Q: Are you proceeding with plans [in Sihanoukville] for a safe child victim interview

room, guesthouse training and posters, and helping train police?

"Yes but we have been delayed due to adverse publicity about us which has been

of direct benefit to the pedophiles. The interview room has video equipment and children's

toys, and arrangements being made for air conditioning."

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