ECPAT UK welcomes the news that convicted child sex offender Ian Bower has been finally arrested by Derbyshire Constabulary officers and returned to prison custody after deportation by Cambodian authorities.

The case of Ian Bower had been labelled an "embarrassment to Britain" by children’s rights organisation ECPAT UK because he had been able to evade UK capture and extradition for eight years, despite later prison terms in Cambodia for further child sexual abuse offences.

Back in September 2007, ECPAT UK wrote to the Home Office warning of the “unacceptable risk to children” that Bower posed, informing the Government of his whereabouts. The letter stated: “It is quite frankly an embarrassment that at a time when the Cambodian authorities are becoming more effective at prosecuting sex offenders that it remains the fault of the British authorities to not have adequate systems in place to protect vulnerable children.”

First sentenced in the UK in September 2004 to 78 months for sexual offences against children and downloading indecent images of children, Bower fled bail to Cambodia in 2006.

While there, in 2007, he was arrested for sexual offences against minors – he was found to be teaching English to children. According to local NGO, Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), these charges were dropped when the children recanted their stories.

At the time, ECPAT UK called on the Home Office to improve extradition processes and to facilitate “fast and efficient exchange of intelligence on British sex offenders” abroad.

However, nothing was done to facilitate Bower’s return and he was arrested again in 2011 for committing indecent acts on five boys aged 11 to 16, while working as an English teacher in Cambodia.

Speaking to the Derby Telegraph on Saturday, Bharti Patel, CEO, ECPAT UK, said:

“It is clear from Ian Bower’s record of convictions for sexual offences against children in Britain dating back to 2004 that he is a high-risk sex offender.”

“As such, along with his return to prison custody, Bower should be now placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life and should be subject to a Foreign Travel Order banning him from travelling anywhere outside of the UK.

“Clearly, the failure of the British authorities to take action over an eight-year period has meant that Bower was able to travel freely to Cambodia to sexually abuse vulnerable children as young as 11 years old.

“This case further demonstrates the need for the Government to act immediately to restrict the travel of high-risk offenders through new prevention orders and introduce extradition treaties with countries like Cambodia to immediately remove British national offenders and ensure the protection of vulnerable children.”