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US Passports to Identify Child Molesters

  • VOA News

In this May 9, 2017 photo, U.S. passports lie on a table in Dallas, Texas. The U.S. State Department is in the middle of a record year for processing passport applications, with 20.5 million renewals and applications for new passports expected.

Registered child molesters in the U.S. will have to get a special passport before being able to travel overseas.

The State Department said Thursday that, in compliance with a law passed last year, it will begin revoking passports of registered child sex offenders and will require them to apply for a new one that carries a “unique identifier” of their status.

The offenders will be issued a passport that will have a notice printed inside the back cover of the passport book that reads: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to (U.S. law).”

Maureen Kanka is reflected in a September 1993 photograph of her daughter, Megan, July 22, 2004. She takes comfort knowing her daughter will be forever remembered through "Megan's Law," now in effect in all 50 states.
Maureen Kanka is reflected in a September 1993 photograph of her daughter, Megan, July 22, 2004. She takes comfort knowing her daughter will be forever remembered through "Megan's Law," now in effect in all 50 states.

The State Department said the change was inspired by the case of Megan Kanka, 7, who was kidnapped and killed by a child sex offender in New Jersey in 1994.

That case led to the creation of several state sex offender registries. It also led to the enactment last year of the “International Megan’s Law” aimed at curtailing child exploitation and child sex tourism.

The State Department said the change “will not prevent covered sex offenders from departing the United States, nor will it affect the validity of their passports.”

But, all travelers are subject to entry laws, rules and requirements of countries they wish to visit. Many countries prohibit or place strict restrictions on the travel of felons, that could make travel difficult for the holders of these passports.

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