Thousands of convicted Australia pedophiles could be banned from acquiring passports to travel overseas in a "world-first" plan proposed by the government aimed to ban sex offenders from being able to travel outside of the country.
"You go to Bali, you go to Phnom Penh, you go to Siem Reap, and you see these middle-aged Australian men there, Caucasian men, with a young local kid – they are not there to get a suntan," one senator told reporters on Tuesday.
Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the ban would prevent about 20,000 offenders from traveling overseas, but it doesn't apply to those who are no longer registered offenders, according to BBC News.
Australia is the first country to move towards putting such a ban in place.
"No country has ever taken such decisive and strong action to stop its citizens from going overseas, often to vulnerable countries, to abuse kids," Keenan said.
According to The Guardian, the ban was approved unanimously on Tuesday after a deal was reached with Senate crossbencher Derryn Hinch.
Attorney General George Brandis worried about how this ban will affect "first-time" offenders.
However, Keenan said "child sex tourism" is an "absolutely abhorrent crime," and it should be stopped.
“We are determined to do what we can to stop Australians from engaging in child sex tourism,” he said Tuesday. “It’s an absolutely abhorrent crime.”
This comes after 800 registered offenders traveled to other countries in the last 12 months – some without notifying the proper authorities.
“About half of those were in breach of an obligation under state or territory law to notify police of their intent to travel," said Foreign minister Julie Bishop.
Hinch said the ban will without a doubt protect children, said BBC News.
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