Pedophile Perch Takes a Powder?

In Granada in 2005, there was a local bar nicknamed Pedophile Perch. The porch overlooked a main street, and everyone knew that this was the place where the foreign pedophiles hung out. Since then, many things have changed in Nicaragua. Pedophile Perch still exists, a little less obtrusive, and now, on a side street, but most expats know where it is located. Yet, with the arrest and deportation last month of Eric Toth, a former 3rd grade teacher in a private school in Washington D.C., my hopes are that Pedophile Perch will take a powder.
Eric Justin Toth Caught in Nicaragua

I’m proud of Nicaragua for taking a stand against foreign sex predators. Eric Toth was on the FBI’s Top Ten Most Wanted list for two years, before a tourist recognized him in Esteli, Nicaragua. What I’m not so proud of are the comments of some expats and foreign tourists defending sex trafficking and blaming the locals for their circumstances.

In 2005, I wrote a post to a Nicaragua expat forum (big mistake!) about an incident that occurred between an underage Nicaraguan boy and an older gringo man. Instead of creating an awareness of the increasing problems in Nicaragua with foreign sex predators, the discussion ( if you can even call it a discussion) led to pointless posts with statistics thrown around like fast balls. The gist of the garbage slung on the forum was blaming the locals for their cultural silence, their need to prostitute themselves for their families, and personal attacks on me for broaching the topic of foreign sexual predators.
Here are a few jewels from this sparkling conversation:

“In the last few months one takes note of how many more “little boys” have arrived from Managua to make their business…but, generally, these “little boys” are not underage..but it happens…but christ, it happens in the White House every day…gypsy toes…wanna go work the coffee fields at 3 dollars a day..try it. You wouldn’t last one wouldn’t last one week. I shan’t continue…my monthly supply of Guinness came yesterday….”

“I think that you are talking bullshit”

“Get a “frigging” life.”

 ” I’ve been in Nicaragua for 15 years and I don’t want to hear this thing here about child abuse on the “Atlantic Coast”. This thing does not happen here.”

“My wife and I feed hungry children every day. Please keep your stupid opinions to yourself; because you do not know what you are talking about when you post.”

“***** says that “Gypsy Toes” & ***** are probably Catholic and support their pediphile priests and bishops.”

Tim Rogers, of the Nicaragua Dispatch wrote an excellent three-part series on Sex Trafficking in Nicaragua.

1. New Beginnings: chronicle of a serial rapist.

2. Sex predators find easy prey in Nicaragua

3. Nicaragua’s culture of silence

Yet, reading some of the comments posted to his articles, made me wonder why some expats and foreign tourists still continue to defend this horrendous act? Is it denial?

“Adult prostitution is legal here and the women here are definitely not being trafficked although as the article says the ones that work here come here from other cities, and I suspect the girls from here go to other cities when they want to work in the sex trade. I have seen one underaged girl trying to work here and she had no takers.”

“As far as trafficking the women arrive here on buses and play on the beaches and do as they please and go home on the buses when they are want to. They have no handlers and do not even seem professional with few exceptions. They tend to be mothers with children to feed.”

“There is a double standard with the age of consent between the Nica men and us foreigners. Its also true that the Nica guys pay them very little or nothing at all. Its a national sport here and they call it “chavaliando”. Also girls from other cities do flock to SJDS, seeking the Euro/ Yankee dollar and of-course not to be judged in their home towns. Im sure there are some crimes committed involving under aged girls and trafficking but for the most part its locals committing them.”

Denial… a psychological defense mechanism that enables us to lie to ourselves. It’s a normal way of protecting our fragile egos. Yet, when denying reality facilitates the continuation of a harmful situation (i.e. pedophilia, sexual tourism, sex trafficking), it affects our choices and prohibits us from finding solutions.

The comments posted above are good red flags for denial. They send a message that condones these horrendous acts and fools us into believing that sexual predators, prostitution, and pedophilia are accepted norms in Nicaragua. Don’t be fooled into believing that these commentators have control over the situation and we are helpless to affect a change.

We have to change! We have to confront the harsh realities and make an effort to pull our heads out of the holes in which we have been blissfully surrounded. Pay attention to the statements of deniers because they contain very negative recurring themes ( i.e.” for the most part it’s the locals committing them”, “This thing does not happen here.”, or my favorite…”wanna go work in the coffee fields at 3 dollars a day…try it.”)

Keep deniers on your speed dial, especially if you think differently than them. Confront them with reality and question their assumptions. For we must change our attitudes to protect the innocent in Nicaragua and in the world.

As a side note: I’ve been writing this piece for several months…a word at a time. I think I’ve been afraid to post it because I don’t want to sound preachy. But, I am! And, I’m angry, which always fuels my writing rants. I hope I’m not just preaching to the choir. Foreign sexual predators are becoming a huge problem in Nicaragua. Basically, I think it’s all about supply and demand.

Thanks to Third World Orphans for the information about supply and demand.



* Devaluation of the girl child and discriminatory practices.
* Perceived responsibility of women and children to support families.
* Lack of educational, employment and vocational opportunities.
* Fragmentation of families: death of parent/s, husband, increases homeless women and children.
* Economic conditions, especially rural poverty, fueled by economic development policies and the erosion of agricultural sectors.
* Rural to urban migration and the growth of urban industrial centers.
* Move from subsistence to cash based economy and increased consumerism.
* Lack of laws and law enforcement.


* Criminal networks who organize the sex industry and recruit the children.
* Law enforcement /governmental complicity in the sex trade.
* Demands of foreign sex industries creating international trade in girls and women.
* Fear of AIDS, leading customers to demand younger girls.
* Early marriage and child marriage.
* Traditional and cultural practices, including the demand for virgins, the cultural practice of men patronizing prostitutes, inter-generational patterns of girls entering prostitution.
* Employers using the debt-bond (slavery) system, forced labor and child labor.
* Demand of sex tourists, pedophiles and the migrant labor force.
* International promotion of the sex industry through information technology.

30 thoughts on “Pedophile Perch Takes a Powder?

  1. About 5 years ago, my husband and I along with our two young teen sons traveled through Granada. Once in the city and very hot and tired, we could not locate our hostel and another teen boy took it upon himself to lead us to a place. (Yes, we knew we were being conned. Yes, we tried to get rid of him with no luck.) Before we were able to get our bearings, this teen took us to his “recommendation”. One look around and my husband and I knew immediately that this hostel was a front for teen boy prostitution. A middle-aged American owned the place and there were many zombie-eyed young men and boys sitting around doing crafts. They all stopped and stared at us. It was incredibly creepy and we got out of there fast. Very sad but a true learning experience.

    • Meg, I remember that place! I think they were deported. Fortunately, Nicaragua is finally cracking down on sexual predators. About a year ago, another pedophile was arrested and deported back to the states for trial. He is serving a life sentence. Thanks for your comments.

  2. Great information.
    You covered it very well with courage!
    The people that do not want to talk about it, read about it, or deny that this problem exists are the ones I do not want at my party. You on the other hand, will sit at the head of the table!
    Thank you.

  3. We live in the last DAYS. We are told by our Savior that things get VERY BAD right at the end. I agree, we must fight this at every opportunity. Be assured, GOD is watching, and All will be revealed, and GOD will reward everyone for their deeds upon this earth. Stay in God’s will, and do NOT allow SATAN to steal your Joy.

  4. oh my… I wish I had words with which to respond. Dismay might be one. This is story being told, more and more and more from around the globe. It is one of the reasons why, in 2009, when my 13 yr old daughter’s church puppet team was invited to go to Nicaragua and just in passing the possible danger of sex trafficking was mentioned, I knew I could not let her go without me. I’d already heard enough from other ministries who were exposing this horrendous practice.

    It’s hard enough when one feels that prostitution is their only option, but when others start tricking people into giving up their children, or even kidnapping them in order to supply some jerk’s sick behavior – there are no words harsh enough or low enough or even angry enough. But it is getting exposed, and there are more and more groups/individuals getting out on the streets to reach those who are lost or trapped in this.

    Blessings for having the courage to speak up and even including so many resources. As we prepare to return to Nica later this year, this surely gives much to chew on…

    • Thanks for your lovely comment. I don’t write too many ugly posts about living in Nicaragua, mainly because there aren’t many experiences that I find truly horrendous. But, this is one. I felt uncomfortable posting this piece, yet with all the amazing comments I’ve received, I know there is hope with people like YOU in this world. Thanks again.

  5. Good for you, Debbie! This is a real problem that does need to be talked about. All extranjeros should realize that they will also be impacted by the “bad apples” amongst us in all ways.

  6. I totally agree , education is the doorway to change , but poverty is the doorway to crime ……. There so much work to do!

  7. Prostitution has always been with us. We all know tht. But street kids are not high class hookers with credit cards and nice apartments. They are the disadvantaged and young, preyed on by prosperous males out for fun and cheap thrills, things they cannot get on the own home streets ‘cos they will be arrested. Let’s have be arrested here too! Speak up and speak out against this heinous crime of abusing young girls and do what you can to advance their oportunites for a future. Perthaps teching them English is a start? But do something if you are so inclined. There are no shrotage of vcolunteers orgs and NGO’s to work with. Education is the doorway to change.

    • Education is the doorway to change. I’m so glad to see the beginnings of innovative educational programs, more police protection, and programs for domestic and child abuse in Nicaragua. It’s a start. Creating an awareness is a beginning, too. But, there is so much more to be done.

  8. I think it’s great you speak up about important issues such as this one. To me silence or sticking ones head in the sand makes one just as guilty as the people who create the wrong. Its a moral obligation to stand up for what’s right, which you do very eloquently. I know the backlash can be difficult to read, but the fact that these people have such a strong reaction to what you said shows you hit a nerve. Its a beginning.

  9. Good job Deb! The problem is when people are confronted witrh the truth, they either denied it or blame somebody else. I have noticed that people are very harsh judging the poor in this world, I bet you if they were in their shoes, they woudln’t be so judgemental. One thing I can say to everybody is GOD is watching

  10. i am always a bit shocked at the people who hide behind forums to lash their venom on others. not long ago i read an article that time had written about the wildfire, and i was shocked at some of the comments. i chimed in with my feedback in tim’s defense.

    there have been other times when others have been equally rude and closed minded, which reflects that they’re probably not very nice people to be around when their true colors come out.

    every time we push that ‘publish’ button, there’s a tiny qualm of, ‘what if?’ and we wonder if we’ve said something that will offend others. for me, i also wonder if those ‘wrong’ posts that i make show a lack of respect for my host country.. they’re never written with that attitude, but others might read it differently. i never want to write anything that shows disrespect for those countries, but i also believe that apathy is like saying that it’s ok.. and many things are not ok.

    thank you for speaking up even at the risk of being attacked by people who want to release their venom.

    wouldn’t you hate to be stranded w/people like that for a long period of time?


    • Z, Very insightful! I know what you mean by not wanting to offend my host country and the wonderful people who live here. But, let’s face it…there is an ugly side to every place on this planet. I can’t pretend this sensitive issue doesn’t exist and I am tired of closing my eyes to the ugliness of the foreign sexual predators in this country. Nicaragua deserves better! OMG! Stranded with some of those who made those comments???? I can’t imagine a worse nightmare! 🙂

  11. sex trafficking has always been a sensitive topic. People don’t want to know about it, people don’t want to talk about it people don’t want to hear about it. BUT it exist EVERYWHERE. Those who want to remain ignorant are ignorant. NO ONE choses to be trafficked and no one wants to be in the “trade.!” They are victims… no two way street!.. Those who prey upon people …kids! are criminals whether it be those who are the “johns” or the traffickers.
    Debbie you have a right to be angry….
    sexual abuse, trafficking has to be stopped ..

    • Cassie, I think the sensitivity of the topic is one of the things that kept me from pushing the “publish” button. I didn’t know what to expect in the way of comments, and I don’t want to have to defend myself for speaking out on this issue. You are needs to be said..shouted loud and clear. I’m mad as hell and I don’t want to pretend it doesn’t exist anymore.

      • One thing we know and born knowing is freedom to speak our minds. Why should we be stifled by others opinion when there are supporting arguments for our point of view. One hand to hesitate is natural.. no one wants to touch a hot topic. Yet if we hesitate and pretends it doesnt exist if we don’t speak about it will we b happy..?
        Commend you for stepping forward… and challenge people … are their views truly just and right?!

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