Australia will Cancel Passports of Child Sex Offenders

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Law & Policy

In an effort to fight sex trade in Asia, Australia will soon revoke passports of those registered as child sex offenders.

Under the proposed legislation, about 20,000 people on the country’s sex offender registry would be prohibited from leaving the country. Child sex tourists from Australia are among the most active offenders in the sex trade, particularly in nearby Southeast Asian countries.

Julie Bishop, the country’s foreign affairs minister, said recently, “Australia is leading the way when it comes to protecting vulnerable children overseas. We are ensuring that Australian registered child sex offenders are not able to take part in the growing child sex tourism trade.”

Officials explain that it is the first initiative of its kind globally.  The government decided to start the plan after seeing that many registered sex offenders were leaving the country.

In the first six months of 2013, 150 registered offenders took trips elsewhere, an increase from 60 in the prior six months, the Australian Federal Police reported. Last year, 800 registered sex offenders took trips outside Australia, according to the country, and more than 250 of them left without permission.

When Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull saw those offender travel numbers, he called it “a disgrace to Australia.”

Parliament must pass the legislation before it can become law. There is a good chance of success, since 90 percent of the bills introduced become law. Damien Cave, our new Australia bureau chief, shares insights on global news, local recommendations and feedback from readers in this weekly newsletter.

If passed into law, offenders, under some circumstances, could continue to travel outside the country, and the ban would restrict them only as long as they stayed on the registry.

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