Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Canadian gets 11 years for sex with children

Canadian gets 11 years for sex with children

Canadian gets 11 years for sex with children

A JUDGE has slapped a Canadian sex tourist with an 11-year prison sentence for having sex and producing pornography with girls in Cambodia and Colombia as young as 8, media reports said.

Kenneth Klassen, a 59-year-old father of three and an art dealer in the western city of Vancouver, pleaded guilty to charges related to having sex with underage girls, and of one count of importing his own DVDs of the acts.

According to the Montreal Gazette, Klassen came under suspicion when a package containing child pornography that he had sent to himself from the Philippines was intercepted by customs officials at Vancouver International Airport. He was arrested in September 2004 when he attempted to pick up the package.

Klassen had argued in court that Canadian laws against sex tourism did not apply to him, because the acts had taken place in other countries.
Justice Austin Cullen of the British Columbia Supreme Court dismissed the argument and in the sentencing hearing called Klassen’s behaviour “intensive, intrusive and degrading”, local media reported.

Rosalind Prober, president of the Canada-based anti-human trafficking organization Beyond Borders, applauded the jail term, which she said had sent “a message to Canadians and people around the world that child sex tourism harms children”.

But she said the fact that the final sentence came six years after police first discovered the package underscored the difficulty in stopping sex tourists. Most countries have passed laws against sex tourism, she noted, but most cases are difficult to prosecute because they take many years and countless hours of police time.

“To get someone convicted of this crime is an enormous burden,” Prober said. Only a handful of people have been convicted since Canada amended its laws in 1997 to make sex tourism a crime.

Samleang Seila, director of the local child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said yesterday that the “harsh” sentence should act as a deterrent to sex tourists who target children.

“Sentencing in foreign countries is still very rare,” he said. “The sentence under their child trafficking laws should now be the model sentence for other cases.”

“It is a harsh sentence, and should set an example,” he added.

Local media reported that, prior to being sentenced, Klassen told the court: “I’m sorry for what I’ve done with all my heart.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the