By Hollie McKay
Published November 12, 2010
John Walsh and child rescuer Somaly Mam. (FOX/AMW)
In a special episode of “America’s Most Wanted” airing on FOX this Saturday, host John Walsh will take viewers to the front lines of the international battle against child predators in Cambodia, a nation frequented by pedophiles.
“We’re profiling American pedophiles who have fled to other countries. Westerners go over there primarily to have sex with small children, 6-8 year old boys and girls,” Walsh told Pop Tarts. “I took a small crew with me and went undercover with a British cop and infiltrated brothel nightclubs. It was really heartbreaking to see it.”
Walsh said that within two minutes of being in a Cambodian bar, they were approached by a madam offering them very young children, and believes audiences will be shocked at how easy and how prevalent it is that Westerners involve themselves in such acts.
“It is our garbage that goes to Cambodia and preys on these young children. It is our garbage from America, England, the West that goes to the East and preys upon their poverty,” he said. “People are going to be surprised about how easy it is to do, and how many Westerners fly there just to solicit and have sex with children.”
The episode also provides a rare exploration of a Cambodian prison, and an interview with two British men arrested for their illicit involvement with young children.
“They [the British prisoners] were very arrogant and blaming society for getting caught. There is also this concept that people can pay off the police or even the judges if they get caught,” Walsh explained.
But among the devastation, the veteran TV host was overcome by the strength of one woman in particular, Somaly Mam, a tireless advocate who has dedicated her life to rescuing Cambodia’s children from the sex trade. A sex-crime victim as a child, Mam operates a center for other victimized children, offering them hope for the future.
“Somaly Mam herself had been kidnapped and forced into sex trade when she was 14; now she goes and rescues the poor children one at a time, at great risk to herself. In fact her own 14-year-old daughter was kidnapped by pimps and brutally sexually assaulted, but this didn’t deter her,” Walsh continued. “She is still going in and trying to save these boys and girls from a life of prostitution.”
Walsh also believes it is in our nation’s best interest to assist in tracking down the American pedophiles profiled on the broadcast.
“The number one thing is awareness. These guys will go over there and come back and function as pediatricians, scout masters, school teachers. We need to tell our officials,” he added. “People may ask ‘why should what’s happening in Cambodia affect me?’ Well, the guys that go over there and molest Cambodian kids come back and molest American kids. I’ve been to Haiti, Katrina, Ground Zero and seen some rough things… but the trip to Cambodia was really, really life-changing.”