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Type of document: News
Topic: Law enforcement
Geographic descriptors: India
Language: English
Source: www.sundaymail.co.uk/news/tm_objectid=16535949&method=full&siteid=64736&headline=scot-held-in-sex-ring-bust--name_page.html
Date of publication: 01 January 2006
Long Abstract: 1 January 2006


Trafficking suspect seized with boys at Indian airport

Exclusive By Charles Lavery

A SCOT has been arrested in India accused of masterminding a world-wide child sex trafficking ring.

Douglas Rankin was seized after allegedly trying to smuggle two boys into Britain on false passports.

Rankin, 62, from Selkirk, was held after British security agents issued an India-wide alert for his arrest after he left his home in Goa.

Paedophiles have used Asian holiday destinations to harvest victims for decades. James Fraser Darling - son of a Scottish knight - was jailed in 1998 for offences involving young boys in Thai resort, Phuket. He later returned to Scotland.

Rankin was caught trying to board a British Airways flight from Bangalore to London early on Christmas Day.

He was with two 16-year-old boys, one Iranian and the other Afghani. Rankin held three fake Mexican passports for the trio.

The presence of the Afghani youth has heightened fears that paedophiles may be preying on orphans in the war-torn country.

When security staff challenged Rankin, he insisted he was David Suarez Perez, the alias on his Mexico City passport.

Police searched his luggage and found a UK passport with the name Douglas Ian William Rankin.

Rankin is in police custody in Bangalore and interpreters are trying to find out if the boys had agreed to travel with him.

Indian police claim Rankin has smuggled children to the UK "at least once and perhaps three or four times" in recent years.

Deputy commissioner Bijoy Kumar Singh said: "The British High Commission in Delhi tipped off immigration authorities here about Rankin. They provided vital information on his operations.

"Rankin also allegedly smuggled Indian kids from Mumbai and Delhi to Europe and the US through an Indian agent called Aliman, using the alias Ali from Mumbai A Foreign Office spokesman said: "Our airline liaison officer at the British High Commission in Delhi put out an alert to all airlines on November 20 after a previous attempts by Rankin to travel to the UK with children under false passports.

"Security staff at Bangalore searched his bags and found his UK passport. He was arrested and we hope to speak to him in the coming days."

The boys, an Iranian called Khayyam and an Afghan called Habibulla, will now be vital in helping police and Foreign Office staff piece together the extent of Rankin's world-wide activities.

Rankin, described by his aunt, Margaret Colledge, from Melrose, as a "black sheep", was born in Selkirk in 1943, the son of RAF corporal Leonard and his wife Betsy. Both are now dead.

He was sent to a List D school as a boy and lived as a loner.

His two sisters, Elizabeth, 65, of Basingstoke, and 67-year-old Kathleen, from High Wycombe, would combine their finances to send money to Goa so that he would never return home.

Rankin has lived in Goa for 10 years, owns a six-bed home and is reputed to be involved in the water sports industry. But nobody connected to businesses there has ever heard of him.

Indian police also found he was in Goa, a magnet for single European males and rife with under-age sex, on a fake visa.

His aunt Margaret said: "It doesn't surprise me. It's very sad.

"He was always a problem. It's terrible news for his sisters. They are such lovely people."

Around the world every year, two million girls aged between five and 15 are coerced, abducted, sold or trafficked into the illegal sex market, says UNICEF. A further two million children become victims of paedophiles.

There are increasing fears that paedophile rings are targeting vulnerable orphans in war-torn countries such as Afghanistan.

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