French Humanitarian Aid Worker on Trial for Sexually Abusing 24 Boys

Translation: The crowd around Thamel at night, the backpacker haven in Kathmandu. Taken in Nepal, September 2018.
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A 52-year-old French humanitarian worker faces charges of sexually abusing 24 boys in several developing countries during his overseas work from 2013 to 2015.

French national Philippe Gérard is accused of sexually abusing 24 boys between the ages of nine and 15 from January 2013 to his arrest in October 2015. The abuses are believed to have taken place in Nepal, Cambodia, and India, where he took part in humanitarian work in local orphanages.

According to a report from the newspaper Le Parisien, Gérard had already been convicted of five sexual assaults on minors in 2005, years before he engaged in so-called “humanitarian missions” overseas.

Despite being on the sex offenders register and being prohibited from contact with minors, Gérard was involved in the NGO Philmy Voyageurs Solidaires. His mother had founded the charity in 2009, which offered schooling to children living on the streets of poor countries. The newspaper noting that the founder had never visited the locations herself, and her son’s details had been omitted from the organisation’s statutes.

Le Parisien reports that the 52-year-old is alleged to have slept naked with young boys, took showers with them, and touched them in a sexual manner. Investigators say that the children reported the same stories of sexual abuse at the hands of Gérard.

Following his arrest in October 2015, Gérard admitted that he had engaged in “sexual touching” but claimed he did not understand what he was doing was a crime, saying he found it difficult to understand “that children appearing radiant… could be victims”.

He also reportedly admitted to a psychologist that the humanitarian missions were a cover to clear his conscience while satisfying his sexual urges.

The sexual abuse of children by aid workers is a phenomenon that has gained prominence in the public eye in recent years. A 2018 report from the UK’s House of Commons international development committee found that sexual abuse was “endemic” across the international aid sector.

British MPs noted that the “globalised and often chaotic nature” of the humanitarian aid sector had made it attractive for those looking to exploit vulnerable people.

Just weeks before the release of the report, MPs were told the local and international aid workers working for Save the Children had raped children in 2008.

Corinna Csáky, a child development consultant who looked into the claims of abuse, stated that children in Haiti, South Sudan, and the Ivory Coast had reported being abused by NGO workers. Statements revealed charity employees sometimes gave the children they raped small amounts of money and paid minors to find other children for them to abuse.


Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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