A new Australian proposal would keep all of the country’s sex offenders from traveling overseas in an effort to keep them from abusing children in developing countries.
“No country has ever taken such decisive and strong action to stop its citizens from going overseas, often to vulnerable countries, to abuse kids,” Justice Minister Michael Keenan told the BBC.
The first-of-its-kind bill would affect 20,000 Australian citizens who have been convicted of sex offender crimes and are still being monitored by law enforcement.
The plan would allow previous offenders to apply for a passport after they were taken off the national registry, but about 3,200 of the convicted persons are being monitored for life.
About 2 million children are affected by child sex tourism around the world each year, according to UNICEF. It’s a growing industry worth about $20 billion.
“In an increasingly interconnected world, more people are on the move and even the most remote parts of the planet are now within reach, thanks to cheaper travel and the spread of the Internet,” an EPCAT report explains. “As a result, the risks of child sexual exploitation are increasing.”
In Australia, about 800 registered sex offenders traveled overseas in 2016. One of them — a man named Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis — sexually abused 11 girls in Indonesia and was sentenced to 15 years.
“You go to Bali, you go to Phnom Penh, you go to Siem Reap, and you see these middle-aged Australian men there, Caucasian men, with a young local kid,” Senator Derryn Hinch, who helped draft the proposal, said. “They are not there to get a suntan.”
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) May 30, 2017
In 2016, the U.S. Congress stirred up controversy by passing Megan’s Law, which requires the passports of American sex offenders to be stamped.
“No one’s American passport will be stamped with ‘Drug Dealer’ or ‘Drunk Driver’ or even ‘First-Degree Murderer Who Used a Pitchfork!'” one writer argued against the law. “The only people our government intends to brand are the people who committed a sex crime, did their time and are now free.”
Next, check out the vegan animal rights activist who was denied a passport for being too annoying.