Once a pedophile always a pedophile, at least that seems to be what the government of Australia is saying in a new report.
Australia’s most recent plan is to ban convicted pedophiles from overseas travel, most notably to Southeast Asia where they say pedophiles are taking vacations for the sole purpose of abusing children. While about 800 registants from Australia traveled overseas last year and half of them did travel to Southeast Asia, the Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop neglects to mention if any of those travelers were in fact convicted of any sex offense while traveling. An important tidbit of information that really makes a big difference, don’t you think?
In their bid to protect children from the child sex tourism trade, the country’s plan is to cancel the passports of approximately 20,000 pedophiles who are currently on the national registry. 3,200 registrants will be banned from travel for life while less serious offenders may be removed from the registry after several years of compliance and they might even get their passports back.
Australia must have some crystal ball that the rest of us don’t have because they are predicting that 2,500 new convicted pedophiles will be added to the registry every year and that they too will lose their passports. I wonder what else they can predict?
The man taking credit for the new plan is Independent Senator Derryn Hinch, who states that he wasn’t aware that pedophiles were even allowed to travel until he received a letter from an Australian actress and children’s right campaigner. Senator Hinch reports he himself was molested as a child and was jailed at some point for “naming names” of pedophiles contradictory to a court order, so I’m thinking he is already somewhat biased when devising this plan.
An oddity in the whole Australian initiative, Senator Hinch says that temporary passports can be given to pedophiles who need to travel overseas for legitimate business or family reasons, as well as to those who are living overseas and who must return to Australia when their visas expire.
OK, pedophiles can’t have a passport to travel because it’s automatically assumed that they will be “on the hunt predators”, but hey, if it’s for business or family reasons, no chance they’ll be predatory. Does this make any sense at all.? Someone who is a true predator will hunt on vacation or business, it makes no difference. How is it you can be trusted to conduct business but not trusted to take a vacation?
A lot of facts seem to have been obviously left out of this initiative. Pedophilia is a diagnosis. There are even young people diagnosed with pedophilia and not everyone diagnosed act on their pedophilic disorder. Not every registrant is a pedophile. Not every pedophile is a repeat offender. Not every pedophile is involved in the child sex trade tourism industry.
Don’t pedophiles who have already served their time deserve to have their rights fully re-instated, including traveling and a passport? If not, then what does “time served” really mean? Nothing? Are you forever destined to be just a label, pedophile, in the eyes of the government? Does Australia prevent those who have committed other kinds of crimes from traveling because they “might” re-offend? Where’s the crystal ball when it comes to predicting what those people will do in the future? If you robbed a bank in Australia who’s to say you wouldn’t rob one in Thailand?
I imagine the Australian crystal ball works this way, “I can see that you are a traveling pedophile so you must be up to no good, but traveling for business or family reasons, no worries mate!”
According to Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Australia was asked by Asia-Pacific governments to help in stopping the child sex tourism industry and Australia has since added a new criminal offense to their court system which carries a prison sentence up to 25 years for any Australian citizen or resident that molests children overseas.
I’m certain most of us are all for governments cracking down on child trafficking and the child sex tourism industry, but the assumption that because someone has been convicted of a past sex offense that they will surely “do it again” is asinine. We can no more predict what a pedophile will do while traveling than we can predict what they will do anywhere else. The same goes for those convicted of any other crimes. Some will repeat their offenses, some won’t, but should an entire population of registrants be punished because of what one person “might” do while traveling?
According to my Magic 8 Ball, the answer is NO.