ABC News Australia

Paedophiles could have passports cancelled in ‘world first’ bid to prevent sexual abuse of children overseas

30 May 2016

Convicted paedophiles could be blocked from travelling abroad in a bid to prevent them sexually abusing children in developing nations.

The Federal Government will soon introduce legislation making it illegal for child sex offenders to leave Australia without permission.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the measure was a “world first”.

“There has been increasing community concern about sexual exploitation of vulnerable children and community concern is justified,” Ms Bishop said.

“Last year alone, almost 800 registered child sex offenders travelled overseas from Australia,” she said, with about half travelling to South-East Asia.

Under the changes, state or territory authorities could request travel restrictions be placed on offenders.

These people could have their passport applications refused or passports cancelled, including while they are overseas.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the measure was “the strongest crackdown on child sex tourism ever”.

In one case last year, Australian man Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis was jailed for 15 years for sexually assaulting 11 girls in Bali.

Ellis abused the children, aged between seven and 17, over two years.