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Is it Good Policy to Regulate the Passports of Sex Offenders?

The days of overseas travel may soon be over for Australia’s convicted child sex offenders.

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she planned to introduce legislation that would cancel the passports of about 20,000 people on the national child sex offender register. The new legislation will “make Australia a world leader in protecting vulnerable children from child sex tourism,” according to the foreign minister’s office. Full article

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  1. T

    That is ridiculous, no way that’s going to keep children safe like this, what they are saying is just fallacious and unreasonable, and it’s going to create chaos, hardship.

  2. lovewillprevail

    What do you want to bet that the US too is not far behind in attempting to do the same…

    • AJ

      If you read a bit into a SCOTUS decision about a passport case (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haig_v._Agee), it really isn’t much of a stretch to see the State Dept. exercising its “broad authority” and with zero input needed from Congress. They have the power, and only need reasonable justification–which SCOTUS already may have given in Smith, though TBD by Snyder.

      –AJ

    • Chris F

      Until something gets to SCOTUS that puts Legislature back in its place, it will continue to escalate.

      SCOTUS would need to have the guts to declare across the board that Legislature cannot make laws that undermine the legal system by taking away a Judge’s control at letting a punishment fit a crime. Mandatory minimum sentences, and Sex Offender registration are two things that derail our justice system.

      I’ve seen it too many times. Those with enough money or clout require judges to allow them to plead down to minor offences while the poor and average people get stuck doing the disproportionate sentences compared to what the real crime was. If we return the power to the judges, then at least it brings back more of a middle ground where most people are charged with the crime they committed and given a reasonable sentence and chance to re-integrate with society and be productive.

      As the supposedly civilized country with the highest rate of incarceration of its citizens, its time for a revolution to re-instate the original meaning of our Constitution and Separation of Powers.

  3. AJ

    “According to the Australian foreign minister’s office, almost 800 registered child sex offenders traveled abroad in 2016, and more than one-third did so without permission. The foreign minister hopes the higher standards will stop child sex offenders from visiting vulnerable countries where they are out of the reach of Australian law.”

    So really what they’re doing is banning travel for all 20,000 RCs because about 250 didn’t complete the administrative activity of notifying the government first. Here’s an idea, try those 250 for their “crime” and take THEIR passports away. Then, Australian is imposing its laws on their citizens while out of country and “out of reach of Australian law.” I guess Australia doesn’t think other countries can handle their own law enforcement issues. The Aussies have definitely learned from Uncle Sam on how to bully and look down on other countries.

    But hey, at least Australians can rest assured that anyone who wants to engage in such activities will keep the money in Australia and only harm fellow Australians! That’s one way to “bring jobs home” from overseas…

    What’s refreshing in the op-ed is that it seems to be taking a stance leaning in our favor. There are quotes from both Janice and a law professor. That the op-ed is in a national news magazine certainly helps get the conversation out there. And anytime the recidivism misconception can be refuted, even just vaguely, it helps shift understanding–and hopefully attitude. (Having the actual recidivism rate in the op-ed would have been even better, but oh well.)

    –AJ

  4. JohnDoeUtah

    The US started with labeling the passports, and Australia upped the ante by saying they are revoked. The US can’t stand being outdone, so I think internment camps are up next.

    A virtual prison in some remote location in some desert state with no fences, but your right to intrastate travel, beyond international travel, has been revoked. You’ll be provided a job at 1/2 the pay of those living outside the camp administered by subsidiaries of the major prison industry companies, but you can’t leave so you take it to provide; not to mention you have to pay for the privilege of living in the camp (just another version of pay to stay/registration fees). You have a community but your district of sex offenders is recognized as 1/10th a citizen for the census so you have no representation in Congress, and you can’t vote anyways. Vigilante raids and assaults from the outside world are frequent. You still have to register, even though you can’t leave, just as some type of administrative control to send you back to prison on a technicality; and, wear GPS. Local law enforcement is contracted out to the lowest bidder prison security company, rife with mismanagement and abuse of those living in the internment camps. And, forget families, as the castrated you years ago and took your other family away.

    Essentially, you are a slave, as punishment for your crimes (which is allowed by the constitution 13th Amendment).

    • Timmr

      It sounds crazy, but it has happened before. Sex offenses are always a good start, but tyrants will exploit any publicly dispised group. Sometimes it is ethnic fear, sometimes race or nationality, anything that threatens the dearest myths we have about our culture. Fear of sex is the hardest to fight against. It energizes the extremes of both the liberal and conservative camps toward authoritarianism.

  5. Maybe try, but don't think it will fly...

    I can see the US State Dept trying this, but falling in court because as long as there are countries out there that are not party to Angel Watch, IML, etc, e.g. don’t care who they let in, then the Constitution’s right to travel, commerce, etc will prevail regardless in my opinion.

  6. Timmr

    When people consent to this tyranny, it is probably too late. It is the first lesson in the book,
    “On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder”

  7. Robert

    Sent to the author of this article:
    Dear Ms. Haynie,

    Thank you for a well written and informative article.

    In your article, you reference a UNICEF report citing child sexual abuse statistics and tourism statistics for Asia. I would like to point out that the child sex trafficking connection has never been made between the two groups. There was a very significant report published in 2016 that addressed this very issue: The Global Study Report on Sexual Exploitation of Children in Travel and Tourism published May 2016.

    Key finding: While the focus has long been on foreign tourists from western countries, male nationals account for the vast majority of offenders.

    Twenty years ago, it might have been possible to sketch a rough global map showing where international travelling sex offenders were from, and where they were going. The sexual exploitation of children in travel and tourism (SECTT) is now mainly a domestic and intra-regional crime, and can be found in both the world’s most developed and least developed countries.

    In other words, the majority of child sex abuse and exploitation of children in Asia is committed by domestic offenders, not by tourists. The largest subset of domestic child sex offenders in Asia know their victims.

    Link to study: http://globalstudysectt.org/global-report/

    There are mountains of recent data in the U.S. verifying that the re-offense rate for individuals on the sex offender registry is extremely low. U.S. Federal government data consistently shows child sex tourism to be a rare crime. As the sources in your article point out, despite the hyped fears of sex offenders, there is no empirical data connecting registered sex offenders to be the ones exploiting children abroad.

    Thank you again for your very informative article on a subject that seemingly few are aware of real facts on because of the misinformation promulgated by those seeking political capital or engaging in influence peddling such as the politicians cited here.

  8. Tired Of Hiding

    The right to travel the globe that you evolved on is a human right and no government has the authority to take that away. They might protest and say that they do but that would mean that they own your body and can therefore do with it what they please. This is not true however much they might get stiff at the idea.

    While on probation clearly there are many restrictions that one must abide by. However, once deemed “fit” to not be in prison and/or on probation and having paid that famous “debt to society” then you are done.

    The government must allow you to leave the borders of their fantasy countries and travel the earth that you evolved on and as a human being have every right to wonder around for your 80 years plus or minus that you have as a living being on this planet.

    That plus all the statistical facts that this sort of punishment does nothing to protect children and only benefits the politicians who use the entire cluster f^ck as a manipulative tool for their personal gain.

  9. kind of living

    Tired Of Hiding >>> +1 Great comment , and always worth reading even if I don’t always agree ,

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