Canberra, May 30: Today the Australian government announced a new bill which states that Convicted pedophiles will have their passports cancelled and be banned from travelling overseas. Up to 20,000 registered sex offenders will be banned from travelling overseas or holding an Australian passport under new measures signed-off by government MPs.
“This is a world first. Australia is leading the way when it comes to protecting vulnerable children overseas from the actions of pedophilia. We are ensuring that child sex offenders are not able to take part in the growing child sex tourism trade,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said at a press conference in Canberra.
According to the bill, a convicted pedophile registered in the lists of the states and territories, which total about 20,000 people, cannot leave the country or obtain an Australian passport. Bishop explained that the government intends to penalize any convicted pedophile who leaves the country without permission from competent authorities and can have their passports cancelled.
"There will be new legislation which will make Australia a world leader in protecting vulnerable children in our region from child sex tourism," Bishop said. Justice Minister Michael Keenan said 2,500 new convicted pedophiles would be added to the sex offender register each year and would also lose their passports.The register contains 3,200 serious offenders who will be banned from travel for life. Less serious offenders drop off the register after several years of complying with reporting conditions and would become eligible to have their passports renewed.
Australia has attempted to crack down on Australian child sex tourists by adding a new criminal offense punishable by up to 25 years in prison for Australian citizens or residents who molest children overseas.