"It's so very rare for them to do a screening, as we would in the U.S. You must understand, there is a huge demand for teachers here, and many schools just need to fill holes. And even if the schools, both private and governmental, did sufficient screenings, the ever-present language centers, where students go for extracurricular, usually weekend programs, will literally take anyone that has a degree, experience or not. … Facts are never verified, work histories aren't even looked at. If these freaks want to get to kids, they can do it quite easily. It's so easy to get a job on the first interview, and start the next day. How could they screen them?"
More established schools are increasingly relying on reputable Western agencies to vet employees.
"The vast majority of English teachers are not pedophiles," said Dexter Lewis of Search Associates, a company that places qualified teachers overseas.
"We don't work with language schools. We've had too many dicey experiences," he said.
Teachers seem to be the newest subset of Western men who travel to Asia to have sex with children, part of an even larger group of men traveling to the region to engage in sex with adult prostitutes.
In a 2004 report, Beyond Borders printed excerpts from e-mails exchanged among pedophile teachers that were intercepted by the Cambodian police.
"I am having a wonderful time with them sexually," one teacher writes. "Last night four boys spent the night and I like all four of them. … I pay $1 if they give me a massage and $2 if they give me anything extra."
While adult prostitution is a reality in Asia, a region where, according Prober, most local men have visited a brothel, regional governments have grown increasingly worried about child-sex predators.
The Thai government estimates a minimum of 3 million people visit Thailand as sex tourists every year
"Countries that need tourist dollars regularly turn a blind eye to adult prostitution," Prober said. "The Thai people have an economy that relies on tourism, and the fact that some tourists engage in sex with prostitutes has become normalized."
However, Prober said, the governments of Thailand and its neighbors have become increasingly committed to battling child prostitution, trafficking and exploitation of children.
"The Thai police should be commended for how quickly they have acted to find [Neil]. It shows how committed they now are to these issues," she said.