Pedophile Barred From Leaving Australia as Sex Tourism Law Takes Effect


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The international terminal at Sydney Airport. An Australian law barring registered child sex offenders from international travel took effect on Wednesday.

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David Gray/Reuters

MELBOURNE, Australia — An Australian law barring registered child sex offenders from international travel had an immediate impact when it took effect on Wednesday, stopping a convicted pedophile and turning him away from Sydney Airport.

The law — which government officials have called a “world first” — prevents convicted pedophiles from leaving Australia without permission from law enforcement agencies. The law is meant to keep Australian pedophiles out of Southeast Asian sex tourism markets.

“Australia has up to 20,000 registered child sex offenders who have served their sentences, but are subject to reporting obligations that help protect the community,” Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop, told reporters Wednesday.

Ms. Bishop would not reveal further information about the man stopped from traveling Wednesday. She said that about 800 Australian child sex offenders left the country last year, and that almost 40 percent of those failed to notify the authorities.

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Australia’s foreign minister, Julie Bishop.

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Rod McGuirk/Associated Press

Child welfare advocates had pushed for the new measure, pointing to a clear pattern of Australian pedophiles traveling to Southeast Asian countries to engage in child sex tourism.

Popular vacation destinations like Thailand, Malaysia and Bali in Indonesia are relatively inexpensive for Australians to fly to, and often have far fewer protections for children. The law comes a little over a year after Robert Ellis, a 71-year-old Australian man, was given a 15-year sentence by the Indonesian authorities for crimes against children.

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