Megan’s Law was enacted after seven-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by a neighbor in 1994. Now law in all States, it requires convicted sex offenders to register their whereabouts with the government. Offender info goes into a public database so you and I can see just what the Joneses did next door. A little Big Brothery? Sure. But despite the ACLU complaints about privacy violations, most Americans would rather know who’s lurking on the other side of the fence if it protects their children.
But what about other people’s kids? What about kids in countries like Thailand, Cambodia, and Mexico, where sex tourism is a growing industry and Americans are loyal customers? According to World Vision, Americans make up 25% of the world’s child sex tourists.
In case you don’t know what child sex tourism (CST) is, and so you don’t have to read the vomit-inducing nastiness I found while researching it, here’s the basic U.S. definition: “…one form of ‘demand’ for victims of child sex trafficking. It involves people who travel from their own country…to another country where they engage in commercial sex acts with children.” Basically, the creepers take a little international vacay just so they can purchase sex with kids. Not exactly the happiest place on Earth …
Now CA Rep. Dan Lungren wants to give Big Brother a baseball bat and take Megan’s Law to an international level. Lungren wants convicted sex offenders to notify U.S. officials of any international travel plans 21 days before departure. The countries on the itinerary then get notified so officials there can keep an eye on the visitors’ dealings. The ACLU is opposed to this idea too, saying it would add new restrictions to folks who’ve already served their time. They fear the bill will get passed anyway because who’s going to say “no” to protecting children from predators?
The real hitch may actually be coordinating with other countries, whose governments and cultures may not define “sex offender” the way we do or who won’t be equipped to use the information. So just how effective can the bill be? What about “sex offenders” like a 19-year-old who had sex with his 17-year-old girlfriend whose parents disapproved and had him arrested for statutory rape? Is it fair for that guy to have to report his travel plans for the rest of his life? Should the Feds just leave the work up to private investigators like Tiny Stars?
I don’t know the answers, but I do know that I’m happy the U.S. government has the problem of CST on the table. It needs to be seen. And it needs to be stopped, somehow. This isn’t typical loud, obnoxious American tourists ruining a lovely international getaway. This is ruining children’s lives. I’d vacation with Joan Rivers if it would put these creepers on a one-way plane to jail.
Photo Credit: Boa-sorte&Careca