An Australian official announced plans Tuesday to introduce new legislation [statement] that will prevent registered sex offenders from traveling overseas in an effort to prevent pedophiles from taking part in child sex trafficking. Registered sex offenders would not be able to obtain passports or leave the country, a step which will make the Australian government a “world leader in protecting vulnerable children from child sex tourism.” Pedophiles from Australia are known to take inexpensive trips [AP report] to Southeast Asian countries where they are out of reach of Australian law and are free to abuse vulnerable children. In the statement, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop [official website] said that there were more than 800 registered child sex offenders who traveled overseas in 2016 and because more than one-third did so without permission, “it was clear the existing passport legislation was not working.” Currently there are about 20,000 registered sex offenders in Australia whose passports will be canceled, and an estimated 2,500 new convicted pedophiles will be added to the list each year. Less serious offenders will be removed from the register after several years but those convicted of more heinous offenses will be banned for life.
Human trafficking [JURIST op-ed], including sex trafficking, is one of the most controversial issues affecting the international community. In October the Egyptian Parliament voted to enact new legislation [JURIST report] aimed at combating the growing number of human traffickers along its coast. In September UNICEF released a report [JURIST report] showing millions of children have been driven from their homes due to violence and conflict, facing dangers such as malnourishment and dehydration, trafficking, kidnapping, rape and murder. In February UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed [JURIST report] that increased funding and international cooperation are needed to successfully combat human trafficking. With a vote of 14 in favor, the UN Security Council last year introduced [press release] a resolution to allow the EU to inspect and seize vehicles suspected of smuggling migrants. Authorized under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the resolution permits certain nations to board ships in order to prevent human trafficking [JURIST report]. US Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced in 2015 that the Department of Justice will fund [JURIST report] a $44 million grant to fight human trafficking.