Australian paedophiles to be banned from travelling abroad without valid reason

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Child Rape
A child peeks between the legs of grown-up while a man is being accused of having raped several children in Acatempa October 28, 2014. Reuters/Daniel Becerril

The Federal Government is preparing to introduce a legislation that would ban convicted paedophiles from travelling abroad. The measure, which Foreign Minister Julie Bishop labelled as “world first,” seeks to prevent thousands of child sex offenders to leave Australia without permission to stop them from sexually abusing children in other nations.

Currently, offenders are required to inform authorities when they are travelling overseas, but the majority does not seem to comply. The legislation will exempt those who are travelling for a valid reason.

Criminals who still have reporting obligations would have their applications for passports refused or their passports cancelled. Based on data from the Australian National Child Offender Register, the population of child sex offenders is about 20,000. At least 400 offenders who travelled overseas from Down Under in 2016 were in breach of an obligation under state or territory laws to inform officials about their travel plans.

According to Bishop, there has been a rising community concern about sexual abuse of children. She pointed that the community concern is justified.

In 2016 alone, the minister said nearly 800 registered child sex offenders travelled overseas from the country. Half of them flew to South-East Asia.

Australian man named Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis was jailed last year after he assaulted 11 young girls in Bali. The victims were aged between seven and 17.

Bishop also told reporters in Canberra on Tuesday that the measure was part of their goal to ensure that child sex offenders will not have a chance to take part in the rising child sex tourism trade. She said the proposed laws will be introduced to parliament this week, The Australian notes.

Stop child abuse

The news of the legislation comes amid a push from Victorian senator Derryn Hinch against child sex criminals. Hinch has been campaigning against child abuse, claiming protecting the children was the reason he ran for a Senate position in the first place.

He added that it was what people can look forward to from him. Hinch assured it is only the first of several child protection measures he will be working on.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan described the measure as the “strongest crackdown on child sex tourism ever.” He stressed that aside from Australia, no country has ever taken such “decisive and strong action” to ban its citizens from going overseas to abuse children from other nations, ABC reports.

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