Australian law cancels passports of pedophiles

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FR. SHAY CULLEN, SSC

Nothing is more disgusting or repugnant and abhorrent to any human with respect for the rights of children than to see convicted men travelling freely on “child rape holidays” in poor countries. Yet they have always been issued passports and allowed to travel abroad on child sex tours by their own governments. Until now, no one has asked if this was right or wrong. Australia has shown the way with the passing of a new legislation banning convicted pedophiles from traveling abroad. It is high time for the UK government to do the same. The Philippines ought to get a copy of the convicted pedophiles and ban them from entering the country.

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The governments that issue the passports have to be held somewhat accountable for the acts of these convicted pedophiles who have served their sentences but are still considered a danger to children and are supposedly being monitored by the police in their home country. They are on the sex offenders’ list and to escape scrutiny, monitoring, and mandatory reporting, they leave their hometowns for countries where children are poor, abandoned, hungry and vulnerable and child protection law is seldom implemented. Governments cannot ignore any longer the child sexual abuse done by their citizens abroad.

The Australian register contains the names of as many as 20,000 individuals considered a threat to children. It has been reported that by the end of 2017, 2,500 more will be added to the list and many of them will want to travel abroad.

Derryn Hinch, an Australian parliamentarian, said that as many as 800 men on the sex offender register travelled overseas in 2016 and 300 of them went to countries in South-East Asia. To be sure, the Philippines was one of their destinations. He hailed the recent Australian legislation that cancelled the passports and banned convicted pedophiles on the sex offender register from leaving Australia. The Australian Minister for finance, Mathias Cormann, said that at least two convicted pedophiles leave Australia everyday.

The idea to ban sex offenders from travelling came from actress Rachel Griffiths. Now that Australia has passed the world’s first law cancelling the passports of convicted child sex offenders, other countries must do likewise and pass their own laws to protect the children. We at the Preda Foundation are taking up this call and will campaign for the new laws. We encourage all people to e-mail or call their congressional or parliamentarian representative to demand such a law. That is what democracy is, people calling for action to protect the common good, especially poor children.

It was also reported that Australian Justice Minister Michael Keenan is working on new laws that will criminalize the act of viewing children being abused live on the Internet. Those who abuse children can be charged criminally, but not those who order or watch such acts. Soon it will be a grave crime in Australia and so it should be in all countries. People ought to be outraged at the impunity of these pedophiles to travel where they are highly likely to abuse children again.

There will be opposition to proposed legislations denying individuals their universal right to travel even if they have been convicted of a crime. However, in the United States, convicted people are deprived of their right to vote in some states. Newer legislation in most countries ban the travel of “suspected” citizens going to middle eastern countries where they are presumed to join a jihadist or a terrorist group. If a country has done that, then it is more justified to pass a law that seeks to cancel the passports of convicted child abusers.

Anti-terrorist laws have greatly restricted the freedoms of people presumed to be planning to commit a crime, and it is justified when there is sufficient evidence. The convicted pedophile traveling to poor countries must be considered “terrorists to children” and should not be allowed to reach vulnerable children. Their previous crimes are sufficient evidence to justify the presumption that they will commit similar abuses again.

It is up to the public and every decent human being to do all they can to support such legislation. The voice of the few will become the voice of the many. How can legislators refuse to consider and support a positive action to protect the children? If we have a democracy, now is the time to use it, that is our civil and moral duty. When we can act to prevent evil and abuse, we have to do it without hesitation or delay. Please cut and paste this article and share it with your friends and representatives.

shaycullen@gmail.com
www.preda.org

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