Thursday, March 13, 2008
The 1999 child abuse scandal in Latvia
In 1999, in Latvia, there was a major child abuse scandal involving at least 2,000 children. (Special Broadcasting Service :: Dateline - presented by George Negus)
The TV programme Nedelas or This Week suggested politicians were involved in a child-abuse ring.
The programme interviewed six boys who claimed they'd had sex with senior politicians.
A special parliamentary commission was set up.
Members of the commission faced death threats.
The commission delivered a report to Parliament.
This report linked the following to the child-abuse case:
1. Latvia's Prime Minister, Andris Skele
2. The Justice Minister,Valdis Birkavs
3. The director of the State Revenue Service
4. A number of military and police officers.
A campaign was immediately begun to discredit the committee chairman.
Those named by the commission refused to resign.
Janis Gulbis, Director of the Child Protection Agency said, "Many families are in abject poverty. 86% of families with three or more children are under the poverty level. These children end up on the streets, and become street children - and for many of them, the main form of survival is prostitution, begging and extortion."