Bill that would make it harder for sex offenders to travel abroad heads to Obama's desk
Feb 02, 2016 06:59 AM EST
The U.S. House of Representatives have finally cleared on Monday a bill requiring the government to notify foreign governments when convicted sex offenders travel abroad. The legislation, named the International Megan's Law, will soon arrive on President Barack Obama's desk to be signed into law.
If the bill signed by president, sex offenders who have committed crimes against children will have a harder time travelling internationally. The U.S. would let other countries know when a registered sex offender is travelling abroad. The U.S. would also receive information from the other countries about sex offenders travellings, The Seattle Times reports.
The International Megan's Law bill was first introduced by the U.S. Representative Chris Smith in 2008. The U.S. House passed the bill by voice vote on Monday after Senate passage with some changes in December.
Congressman Chris Smith said in a prepared statement that International Megan's Law will ensure that potential predators are on the radar of U.S. and foreign law enforcement, Trentonian reports.
Smith said that it is imperative and a long overdue that the U.S. take the child protection lessons it has learned domestically with the successful notification systems first created by Megan's Laws and expand them globally to prevent convicted U.S. sex offenders from harming children abroad.
The international Megan's Law to prevent demand for child trafficking, is inspired by the domestic Megan's Law across the 50 states that require public notification of convicted sex offenders living in the community.
Megan's Law was named after Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old from Hamilton who was kidnapped, sexually assaulted and killed in 1994 by a convicted sex offender, Jesse Timmendequas, who lived across the street.
The original Megan's Law first passed by the New Jersey legislature to require public notice when a sex offender moved into a neighborhood.
Under the International Megan's Law, the U.S. officials would also develop a way for U.S. passports to identify that a person is a sex offender.
According to New Jersey News, a report from Government Accountability Office in 2010 found that at least 4,500 U.S. passports went to registered sex offenders in fiscal year 2008.
Smith said that law enforcement and media documentation found that Americans on U.S. sex offender registries are caught sexually abusing children in Asia, Central and South America, and Europe.
Congressman Smith, who has represented the Central Jersey area since 1981 and having pioneered the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in 2000, said the International Megan's Law is now empowering the public as well as law enforcement with the critical information they need to mitigate harm to children