Passport, please: convicted sex offenders fight tougher travel rules

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I rarely read The Wall Street Journal, but every so often, I come across interesting articles there during my endless search for new stuff to write about. Last week I found an intriguing piece about a controversial law called the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking.

From what I understand, the law allows the government to issue modified passports for people convicted of certain sex offenses involving children and adolescents. Specifically, the essential travel documents issued under the law include some sort of symbol identifying the holder as a sex offender.

Pros and Cons

Those who like the idea say it can help combat the worldwide exploitation of  children. Specifically, they say the use of a passport mark promotes awareness and communication between authorities in different countries. If nothing else,  it is a simple and effective way to let them know when people who have engaged in criminal activity with minors are entering and leaving their countries, proponents claim.

On the other hand, opponents say the law is unfair. They claim it makes life even more difficult for people who already face hardship resulting from their inclusion on sex offender registries. They argue that it wrongly targets some people found guilty of relatively minor transgressions. Some even question whether or not the law is constitutional, and a federal suit has already been filed in California.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the suit is the first of its kind. I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Cry Me a River

For what it’s worth, here’s my take on the issue. I am a firm believer in the old saying, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. And nothing bothers me more than a criminal with entitlement issues.

Alexandra Bogdanovic
Founder/owner of In Brief Legal Writing Services, Alexandra Bogdanovic. Photo by N. Bogdanovic

I don’t care if you’ve been convicted for something as simple as sharing inappropriate photos on your cell phone or social media and I have no sympathy whatsoever if you’ve engaged in something as reprehensible as child molestation or abuse. There is simply no excuse for any kind of criminal activity involving or targeting minors.

As far as I’m concerned, the second you decide to target, prey upon, and exploit someone else, especially someone vulnerable, someone who can’t fight back or defend themselves, you’ve lost whatever right to “fair treatment” that you think you’re entitled to.

So if you’re worried about being branded as a sex offender and you don’t think that having a symbol on your passport identifying you as one is “fair,” here’s a tip: don’t break the law. It’s that simple.