July 23, 2017

Portugal to Revamp Divorce Laws

The laws have been untouched for more than 50 years

Portugal is set to make changes to the country’s divorce laws including lessening the amount of time couples are required to wait in order to remarry.

According to The Portugal News, the current law requires males to wait 180 days after termination of the marriage to remarry whereas women are required to wait 300 days.

The tenth month delay was introduced as the law states that a women’s husband at the time of conception is automatically the father of a child.

Portugal is one of the few countries that require couples to wait before remarrying. Thailand divorce law does not mandate a waiting period for remarriage. Couples can remarry immediately after getting divorced.

Read more here

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Talking Trump and TPP with Marc Faber

Interview with financial whiz Marc Faber

Marc Faber, Editor of the Gloom Boom and Doom report talks to Thailawforum’s Georgina Donn to discuss Trump’s recent win and its impact on the economies of the world.

Watch the video below

This video was sponsored by international law firm in Thailand, Chaninat & Leeds, with a team of Western and Thai lawyers 

Khaosan Road Interview: Is Tourist Pricing Fair?

Backpackers in Thailand’s notorious Khaosan Road speak about whether it’s fair for foreign tourists to pay a lot more than local ones

The recent headline involving the Krabi national park’s refusal to reduce the entrance fees for foreign tourists which is 400 baht compared to locals who only have to pay 40 Baht, despite pressure from boat operators has resulted in the latter staging a blockade.

Tourist pricing is a very real phenomenon in many tourist destinations, not only in Thailand but all over the world.

Thailawforum took this opportunity to walk the streets of Khaosan Road to ask tourists their opinion on tourist pricing.

Watch the video below

This video was sponsored by Thailand law firm Chaninat & Leeds with a team of Western and Thai lawyers that specialize in international and Thai divorce law

Cross Recognition of Thai- American Parentage

An Illinois court ruled in favor of a Thai woman recognising an American as her child’s father

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An Illinois Court has ordered a man to pay child support in Thailand to triplets he had fathered through assisted conception methods.

Justice Lampkin of the Circuit Court of Cook County ruled in accordance with a judgment order from Thailand recognizing Harlow to be the biological father of triplets conceived by gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and imposed child support obligations on him.

The mother, Wipaporn T. petitioned the Circuit Court of Cook County to recognize and enroll the Thai judgment under the principles of comity.

Harlow tried to get the petition dismissed under  claims that it contradicted an Illinois Parentage law that does not recognize sperm donors as fathers. However, Harlow had signed the consent form for the transfer under “husband”. Wipaporn also submitted photographs showing Harlow and herself participating in a traditional Thai marriage.

The Illinois court ruled that since Harlow had acted like the father prior to conception and had “plans to claim the three boys as dependents, take tax deductions for his support payments to them and enable them to access their rights of U.S. citizenship,” he must support the three children.

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Marijuana as a Cure for Cancer (Video Interview)

Talking to author of “Marijuana is Medicine that Cures Cancer” Dr. Somyot Kittimunkong

From ThaiLawForum

Marijuana has long been used by cancer patients to help alleviate the painful side effects of chemotherapy. However it has remained a controversial drug due its hallucinogenic properties.

Doctors and scientists around the world are now slowly recognizing the potential use of marijuana in the treatment of cancer with some countries decriminalizing its use for medical purposes and even for recreational ones. In Thailand, marijuana is still illegal and possession of marijuana in Thailand(http://www.chaninatandleeds.com/thailand-drug-offenses.html) is a punishable offence by law. However, many are advocating for its legalization.

Thailawforum talks to Dr. Somyot Kittimunkong, author of “Marijuana is Medicine that Cures Cancer” to get a better insight into how marijuana can be used with regards to cancer and its possible legalization in Thailand.

Egypt’s Proposed Child Custody Law Sparks Outrage

The law proposes that remarried women should lose custody of their children

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A proposed child custody law has garnered widespread criticism from women’s rights activists in Egypt reports Al-Monitor.

The proposed law was submitted by female parliament member Soheir El-Hadi along with 60 other MPs as an amendment to Egypt’s Personal Status Law 25 of 1929.

As the current law stands, if a divorced mother possessing custody of her children decides to remarry, custody will shift towards her mother, mother-in-law or sister. The new law proposes that in such an instance, the mother will effectively lose custody of her children and the custody will then be given to the wife of the father if he happens to be remarried, or to his relative, if he is still single.

Thailand family attorneys practice Thai child custody law and assist in custody battles between international and domestic couples in Thailand 

The proposal has left women’s rights activists fuming.  Dina Hussein, a senior member of the National Council for Women (NCW), told Al-Monitor, “This illogical draft law must be withdrawn and canceled out in order not to be resubmitted.”

Although she agreed that the current law needs to be updated, Hussein argued that the law “suffocates” mothers and restricts women from remarrying.

The law has also received backlash on social media with topics #Against New Child Custody Law and #Over Our Dead Bodies trending on twitter.

Read more here

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Pizzagate 3: Child Brides and Child Abuse

Ongoing atrocities in India and the Middle East

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Note: The growing theory of Pizzagate, regardless of whether it’s true or not, has highlighted the issue of rampant pedophilia and child sexual abuse as one that needs to be addressed. This article focuses on child sexual abuse in India and the Middle East.

Reports surfaced in the Jeddah city of Saudi Arabia of a video that showed an 85 year old man marrying a 15 year old girl. The video had sparked outrage in the Twitter community with many condemning the act and demanding that the man be punished. It was later clarified by the groom’s son that the man was 75 years old and his bride was 37, not 15.

In this instance, a child may not have been involved. However, child marriages are a common practice among Hindus and Muslims. Girls as young as 5 are forced to marry men considerably older than them.

India has the highest number of child marriages in the world.  Estimates indicate that 47% of girls in India are married before their 18th birthday. In April, a video of a 5 year old girl wailing as she held the hand of her teenage groom went viral and sent shockwaves around the world. Mass wedding ceremonies are held each year where most the girls are between 12 to 18 years of age.

This has been a long standing tradition in India and despite the government’s efforts to monetarily incentivize parents by offering a certain cash reward for girls that are unmarried at 18, child marriages still occur because the problem is a deep rooted one that involves not only economic issues but social and cultural beliefs as well.

According to a report by Girls Not Brides, the reason for the high number of child brides is because “girls are seen as an economic burden and marriage transfers the responsibility to her new husband. Poverty and marriage expenses such as dowry may lead a family to marry off their daughter at a young age to reduce these costs.”

The Syrian crisis has seen the steady rise of child marriages among Syrian refugees. BBC reports, “Almost one third (32%) of refugee marriages in Jordan involve a girl under 18, according to the latest figures from Unicef. This refers to registered marriages, so the actual figure may be much higher. The rate of child marriage in Syria before the war was 13%.”

Michele Servadei, Deputy Jordan representative for Unicef said “The vast majority of these cases are child abuse, even if the parents are giving their permission.”

It has also been reported that men from the Gulf States who, while pretending to be donors, are shopping for child brides among the refugees. “They prey on refugee families, living in rented accommodation, who are struggling to get by,” according to BBC.

“These guys from the Gulf know there are families in need here,” said Amal, a refugee, and mother of four. “They offer money to the family and the first thing they ask is ‘do you have girls?’ They like the young ones, around 14 and 15.”

Rich men from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E have been travelling to Egypt “to purchase women and girls for temporary marriages, facilitated by parents and guardians.” According to AWD News, “Girls as young as 10 have been sold in this manner and later found in the streets of the men’s home countries with no way to return to their families and no one willing to take them in — except for traffickers. These children are throwaway kids, abused, used and discarded when the men are done with them.”

Saudi men were also exposed by Wikileaks of trafficking Mauritanian girls aged 5 to 12 for the purposes of marriage. The traffickers are able to obtain these girls by approaching “poor and ignorant Mauritanian families about marrying their daughters to wealthy Saudi men. Hefty bride prices amounting to 5-6 million ouguiya (approximately $20,000) and promises of better opportunities for the girls lure the families into accepting.”

Aminetou Mint El Moctar, President of the Association of Women Heads of Household launched a campaign against child trafficking in Mauritius. She said that most of the child brides become sex slaves and that pre-pubescent girls are highly prized by Saudi men but, once they reach puberty or become pregnant, they are of no further interest to their husbands.

Experienced western divorce attorneys in Thailand are well versed in both domestic Thai and international divorce law

The problem is added by the Mauritanian government which doesn’t recognize trafficking as a problem. According to Wikileaks, when asked about the trafficking of children to Saudi Arabia, a government representative in the Ministry of Justice stated trafficking of Mauritanian women did not exist and trafficking to Saudi Arabia was not possible because there was a government law that required women to travel with a male family member.

Although child marriages expose the sorry plight of girls in the east, many young boys also face extreme sexual abuse. In the documentary “Dancing Boys of Afghanistan”, an ancient custom called “bacha bazi” (boy for play), was exposed in which rich men buy young pre-pubescent boys from poor families to keep as sex slaves. According to the Guardian, “The boys are dressed in women’s clothes and made to dance and sing at parties, before being carted away by the men for sex.” Owning boys was and in some parts still is a status symbol in many Muslim countries.

Many have pointed out the moral hypocrisy of this system. Shaista Gohir, writer for the Guardian said, “The moral hypocrisy is outrageous in a country where homosexuality is not only strictly forbidden but savagely punished, even between two consenting adults. However, men who sodomise young boys are not considered homosexuals or pedophiles.” When Islamic scholars are posed with a question of why pedophilia is allowed to exist in the guise of marriage, most argue that Islam allows for child marriages because according to religious texts, Prophet Mohammed himself took a six year old girl as his bride.

Many Middle eastern countries and India have seen strong economic and developmental progress, but socially they have stuck to old and inflexible ideologies that allow for children to be raped and abused and afford their women little to no rights.

Read

Pizzagate 2: Child Sex Abuse in Asia

A report on the Asian pedophile network

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On Sunday it was reported that up to 400 gigabytes of child pornography was found on the computer of a 19 year old boy in China. The boy, who has been named only as Sun, has led the police to discovering a vast online pedophile network which garnered as many as 20,000 hits and 7000 replies.

Sun posted videos of child sexual abuse on an overseas server and in exchange, received videos of foreign children which he shared with Chinese pedophiles. The children in the videos have been identified as being from rural villages and camps of migrant workers from 25 Chinese provinces.

Following an earlier post on the trending pizzagate theory and how it has highlighted the reality of Southeast Asia becoming a hub for western pedophiles, we delve into the Asian pedophile network and how child sexual abuse begins for most children in Southeast Asia.

In a report by Asia Pacific Research on Pedophilia and Sex Slavery in Cambodia, it is stated that child sexual abuse in these countries is not driven by child sex tourists or the booming sex industry but by poverty. “Child prostitution is powered by a government that overlooks it, poor and desperate families, and a consistent clientele. Although there has been progress in the realms of anti-trafficking bills, Cambodian authorities still do not pay much attention to the issue,” states the report.

Unfortunately this is true for most Southeast Asian countries. According to a report by UNICEF, child sexual abuse ranges from 11-22% for girls and 3-16.5% for boys across East Asia Pacific. In low income countries such as Myanmar and Cambodia, males were more likely to get abused whereas in middle to higher income countries like Indonesia and Japan respectively; girls were more likely to be sexually abused. It is also reported that in most child sexual abuse cases, the perpetrator is known to the child (relatives, neighbors, step parents, highly trusted people).

Cambodia is home to one of the biggest child sex trade industries in the world. Famous for selling virgins, hoards of Western and Asian men including Cambodians, Chinese Koreans and Japanese pay anywhere between $1200 to $2500 for one week with a virgin. The price is dependent on the age and beauty of the virgin being sold.

Cambodia is not the only country that places a monetary value on virginity. There is a general belief among many Asian men that sleeping with a virgin is purifying and can rid them of diseases.

There is a huge societal pressure for girls to remain “pure” before their wedding days. The pressure has become so much of an obsession that it is reported women in China undergo hymen reconstructive surgery so they can appear as virgins on their wedding nights.

In a society where women are seen more or less like a commodity to their parents and a sexual object to men, it is not surprising that children will be prone towards exploitation.

Children living on the streets separated from adults as well as unseparated children have been reported to face some of the highest incidence of sexual abuse and exploitation in South Asia.

Leading divorce attorneys in Thailand can assist in divorce registration and can consult in other divorce related issues such as child custody as well as division of marital property

Thousands of child sexual abuse cases go unpunished in South Asia largely due to an incompetent justice system, to a lack of knowledge regarding child abuse and child rights and misplaced shame.

In May 2016, a Malaysian man was able to skip a jail sentence for raping a 14 year old girl simply by marrying her. This exposes the child to a lifetime of rape and abuse.  Another case sees a 40 year old man marrying his 13 year old victim which drew national outrage and sparked debates about child rights and the criminal justice system. However, little has been done by the government to prevent instances like this from taking place.

Children born to sex workers and growing up in brothels are subject to environments predicated on sexual exploitation. Most of these children also fall victim to sexual abuse by the clients, guards, police and other brothels.

Studies conducted by Pro Con Organization on the percentage of men who solicited sex at least once in their lives, Cambodia was on top of the list with a staggering 80% of men admitting to using the services of a prostitute, followed by Thailand with 75% and Italy with 45%. Both Cambodia and Thailand are notorious for underage sex workers. It is estimatedthat in Thailand alone, 60,000 children involved in prostitution are under the age of 18.

The Children’s Rights Protection Center in Thailand states that 40 percent of those involved in prostitution in Thailand are below 18 years of age.

Thailand passed an Anti‐Trafficking in Persons Act in 2008 in order to accommodate international Trafficking protocols with Thai law, however the protocol is yet to be ratified and although Thai laws against child abuse are fairly comprehensive, child prostitution still exist in a large scale with little intervention from law enforcement. Furthermore, the 1996  Prevention and Suppression of Prostitution Act does not expressly state that prostitutes below the age of 18 will not be treated as offenders.

The idea that pedophilia and abuse of children is being allowed to run rampant in civilized societies is as preposterous as it is a reality. The government is partly to blame for the unregulated sex trade and the weak laws that enable pedophiles and rapists to get away with heinous crimes against children.

It is a misconceived notion that most child exploitation occurs at the hands of Western pedophiles. The fact is that majority of child sex offenders are locals.

Although Western pedophiles contribute to the large child sex trade, one cannot solely put the blame on them for the ongoing abuse. As quoted from a report by Asia Pacific Research, “A few foreign pedophiles do not sustain an industry; it needs a large domestic client base, corrupt and ineffective law enforcement, and an ample supply of parents desperate enough to sell their children.”

Read Pizzagate and the Western Pedophiles Lurking in Southeast Asia

Pizzagate and the Western Pedophiles Lurking in Southeast Asia

What we should take from the alleged story taking over the internet

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There has been a major shift in attention from the U.S election and all the controversies that it brought with it to something inherently more disturbing- the discovery of what could perhaps be the most prolific child sex abuse scandal among the Democratic Party leaders.

The Pizzagate theory has taken the internet by storm and has left behind a trail of unanswered questions and searing coincidences. The alleged claims of child sexual abuse and other depravities that the upper echelon of politics are said to have taken part in has resulted in an undeclared war between conspiracy theorists and the major media websites along with those that claim pizzagate is an attempt by right wing fanatics to destabilize the Democratic Party.

Although it can neither be confirmed nor denied, pizzagate has inadvertently shone a light on a topic of conversation that needs to be had and a growing unhealthy situation that needs to be dealt with.

Rumors of child sexual abuse among high standing members of society have not only rocked the U.S. but also the U.K. In 2014, 1400 suspects, among whom were British celebrities, members of parliament and institutions were being investigated by the police for suspected involvement in a major child sex abuse investigation. Going back as far as 1984, reports show that a large pedophile network consisting of top politicians surfaced but went unchecked with judges, law enforcement and even M15 agents blocking investigations.

If, in countries that are said to be the most developed in the world with top notch security and law enforcement, instances of child sex abuse go unchecked and pedophiles can roam free and hold positions of power, what then goes on in poorer and developing countries?

Pedophilia is rampant in Southeast Asian countries. The booming tourism industry has opened a gateway for pedophiles to roam lesser developed nations such as Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Child sex trade remains mostly unregulated in rural areas which have become a hub for pedophiles and sex offenders.

More often than not, registered sex offenders from western countries travel to Southeast Asia and prey on children hailing from poor backgrounds with little or no education. A study conducted by an Australian government funded initiative called Project Childhood on child sex abuse in Thailand, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia found that both adults and children in these countries “had limited understanding of child abuse and child rights.” They “understood child sexual abuse simply as the penetrative rape of girls.”

The report also stated that “many adults and children appeared to lack a sufficient understanding of child sexual abuse and practical ways to identify, prevent or respond to it.”

Hence these individuals become high risk targets for traveling pedophiles. With the number of tourists that shuffle to and from Southeast Asia, it is unsurprising that a small percentage of those tourists are child sex offenders.

One such offender was Bryan Wright, a U.S citizen from Rhode Island who reportedly fled to Thailand in 1995 after being suspected of sexually assaulting a minor in his hometown. He set up an Immigration Law firm in Pattaya and claimed to have gotten fiancée visas set up for high ranking U.S military men, police and lawyers. In 2014, he was found guilty of raping a 12 year girl in Thailand. He posted bail at ฿400,000 and law enforcement has not been able to track him down.

Perhaps a more shocking example is one revolving around former musician Gary Glitter who had been arrested in London for possession of child pornography and was charged with having sex with an underage girl. However, since the police had insufficient evidence he was never taken to court. After having served four months in jail, the disgraced rocker set his sights on Southeast Asia. He settled in Cambodia but after new allegations of child abuse he found his way to Vietnam. Glitter was eventually charged with the rape of two girls, aged 10 and 11 at Ho Chi Minh and sentenced to a mere 3 years in jail.

What seems to be the common theme in both stories is the attraction of Southeast Asia for sex offenders and pedophiles. Has Southeast Asia become a haven for these individuals?

Richard Huckle, a 30 year old British man who posed as an English teacher in a poor Malaysian community was recently handed 22 life sentences in a London court after he pleaded guilty to 71 child abuse offenses in Southeast Asia. He is believed to have raped up to 200 young victims in Malaysia and Cambodia, the youngest of whom was only 6 months old. He recorded his behavior online and wrote a guide for other pedophiles called “Pedophiles & Poverty: Child Lover Guide”. According to a report, Huckle claimed that the poor people trusted him because he was a white Englishman.

The number of western men arrested in Southeast Asia for child sexual abuse has become too many to count. The children that each of them exploited are in numbers that should not be allowed to exist.

However, the fact is that child exploitation does happen and much like the exposed U.K pedophile ring or the alleged Pizzagate pedophile network in the U.S, child sex abuse is profound and it portrays a sad reality of life: the rich and powerful preying on the weak and poor and oftentimes getting away with it.  This reality needs to change.

Next Read:  Pizzagate 2: Child Sex Abuse in Asia

Ontario Passes Equal Parenting Law

This marks another win for fathers and LGBT families around the world

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Ontario just passed a legislation that gives equal parenting rights to all parents regardless of whether they come from an LGBTQ family, are straight, whether their children were conceived naturally or artificially.

According to the press release, the law will come into effect on January 1st 2017. The All Families Are Equal Act will

Provide greater clarity and certainty for parents who use assisted reproduction to conceive a child

Provide a streamlined process for the legal recognition of parents who use a surrogate, together with requirements meant to protect the rights of all parties through independent legal advice and confirmation of the surrogate’s consent both before conception and after birth

Reduce the need for parents who use assisted reproduction to have to go to court to have their parental status recognized in law

The global parenting scene is gradually becoming more open to unconventional parenting and breaking the mold from the previously though notion that only opposite sex parents can have legal rights over a child.

Some countries, however, are still lagging behind on equal rights for LGBT individuals. For instance, child custody laws in Thailand do not apply to same sex couples, because under Thai law, same-sex marriages are still not recognized.

Read more here

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