Last February 2018, Irish Police raided homes of pedophile suspects based on information received from US, Canadian, and other law enforcement agencies. Four suspects had their homes searched and child pornography was discovered. Thirty-one homes in all were on the target list. It is reported that as many 150,000 images of children being sexually abused were found. One suspect had up to 70,000 illegal images on his computer hard drive alone.
This is the tip of a horrid iceberg that is destroying and sinking the lives of thousands of children around the world including Irish children. Every image of a child being abused is evidence of a terrible crime against that child. The greater the demand for such images, the more children will be abused. We are all angered, frustrated and want to do something to stop the abuse and bring the perpetrators to justice. Reporting child abuse is morally mandatory for everyone. But what about those pedophiles who go abroad to abuse children?
To join a photo-sharing pedophile club on the Dark Web, new applicants have to submit pictures of children being abused. Some insist that the applicant member shows himself doing the abuse. To get these images, some will travel abroad to abuse and video or photograph their abuse. They then offer the vile images to the file sharing pedophile circle that will give them a free pass to access unlimited images. They are welcomed to the evil world of online sharing and trading of child pornography. The police can infiltrate the “Dark Web”, according to a news report by Joseph Cox last 2017 in the Daily Beast and a news site that reported the infiltration is cracked.com.
This need to provide pictures of child abuse is fueling the travel of pedophiles to poor countries where law enforcement is weak. In the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries popular with traveling sex offenders, thousands of children are targets of the foreign pedophiles. Some offenders are caught but bribe their way out of trouble. Not many are put on trial.
This is the terrible abuse that the proposed new amendment to the child sex offenders law 2001 tabled by Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan is so essential and urgent to be passed by the Irish Parliament. It has been presented in the Dail without objection by the government. The Minister of Justice Charles Flanagan, TD. is in favor of it. The purpose of the proposed amendment as stated is as follows: That leave be granted to introduce a Bill entitled an Act to regulate and restrict, where appropriate, sex offenders from travelling abroad, in the interests of the common good and to protect persons from serious harm outside the State, to amend the Sexual Offenders Act 2001 and to provide for related matters. The amendment is worded so as to respect the constitutional right to travel and it will empower judges to impose travel restrictions on child sex offenders.
Prevention is better than cure and much preventive legislation is in place that restricts the public from doing anything that would endanger others. However, to protect children from harm and sexual abuse by convicted dangerous pedophiles, there is little protective preventive legislation. The records show that re-offending by pedophile sex abusers is common. There is no cure for the condition.
Not only the amended legislation will give greater protection to Irish children from abuse by re-offending convicted pedophiles but children abroad in dire vulnerable circumstances will also be protected by a permanent travel ban on the convicted pedophiles and the confiscation of their passports once they have been convicted. This is an area of child protection that should be also considered by other members of the EU.
What is also needed is a formal confidential Sex Offenders Register where all details of convicted child sex offenders are retained by police and by the Department of Foreign Affairs. This is necessary as the information available about the Sex Offenders Act 2001 says: “While the term Sex Offenders Register is commonly used in Ireland, there is, in fact, no such register and the term is not included in any section of the Sex Offenders Act 2001. The only information on the whereabouts of sex offenders in Ireland is held centrally by the Gardaí. It is a certificate issued by the court in relation to those convicted by the court of sexual offenses. In other words, monitoring and restricting the movement and whereabouts of sex offenders is very light and difficult. Some aspects of the US Law known as Megan’s Law should be considered.
Last 2017, the Australian government became the first nation to pass legislation to restrict travel and cancel the passports of convicted pedophiles on the national child sex offenders’ register. There are 20,000 people on that register and in that year another 2,500 offenders would be added to it. These are offenders who have served sentence but are not allowed to travel abroad. One report said that in 2017 before the legislation came in, 800 convicted sex offenders traveled annually to Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Cambodia, and Thailand.
We all feel outraged when we hear of children being sexually abused abroad and helplessness to do anything about it but now we can by getting behind this proposed amendment and saving children and not waiting for it to happen.