Registered sex offenders can face many obstacles when they travel abroad. In some cases, they can be denied a visa to enter another country.
That process became even more formalized under a law enacted in 2016 which is known as the International Megan’s Law.
Writing in the Washington Post, Chris Smith hailed the new law as an “important step” to eradicating sex tourism.
Smith, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, is the author of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000. The landmark law tackles sex and labor trafficking at home and abroad.
He was concerned that the United States wasn’t doing enough to prevent convicted pedophiles from traveling abroad to abuse children.
The new law designates two types of registered sex offenders required to include a mark on their American passport.
People who have been convicted of a sex crime involving a minor, or those required to register as a sex offender with the National Sex Offender Registry or in any state, must comply with the new statute.
The new law states that the identification must be a “visual designation affixed to a conspicuous location” on the offender’s passport. The law prevents any passport-issuing authority from giving a sex offender a passport unless the mark is included.
The International Megan’s Law set up a new reciprocal and comprehensive notification system between U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies over the travel of people required by law to be on government sex-offender registries.
Smith listed a number of nations that see large amounts of sex tourism including Thailand, Mexico, the Philippines, Brazil, and Peru.
Restricted Travel for Sex Offenders
The aim of the new law is to restrict travel for people who have been convicted of offenses involving children. It’s particularly aimed at nations with a thriving sex industry.
A report in 2008 said least 4,500 registered sex offenders received passports. Now, the requirement for their status to be marked on their passport is likely to make it more difficult for them to travel.
Smith said The International Megan’s Law honors Megan Kanka — a girl from his hometown of Hamilton, N.J. who Megan’s Law was named after. She was kidnapped, raped and murdered in 1994 by a neighbor. People living in the vicinity did not know he was a convicted sex offender.
After a long campaign, all 50 states passed Megan’s laws requiring public notification of convicted sex offenders living in any community.
If you have been charged with a sex crime you will likely face many consequences. Sex offenders who have served their sentence remain on a registry. However, these charges can be based on unreliable evidence.
You should call an experienced Austin criminal defense attorney if you are charged with an offense. Contact us here.