By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, July 27, US Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) introduced legislation to establish an international notification system to provide advanced notice of international travel by registered sex offenders.
S1867 would help to protect children from exploitation by establishing an international notification system to provide advanced notice of travel by registered sex offenders to destination countries. The legislation is the Senate companion to HR515, introduced in the US House of Representatives last year by US Congressman Chris Smith (R-New Jersey).
Senator Shelby said in a statement: “International Megan’s Law strengthens our Nation’s current sex offender targeting system to ensure that we are doing all we can to protect children around the globe from exploitation. Crimes against children are a plague on our society, and we must continue our work together to eradicate them. Better coordination and communication between all levels of law enforcement at home and abroad is an essential element to this effort. This legislation streamlines domestic and international efforts and establishes new procedures to help us achieve one goal: to prevent heinous crimes against children.”
According to information provided to the Alabama Political Reporter by Senator Shelby’s office, the International Megan’s Law would:
1.) Require that convicted child sex predators have a unique passport identifier to ensure that they can be identified at the border as they travel internationally in the event that a notification was not sent.
2.) Establish the “Angel Watch Center” at the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that all destination countries receive a notification that a convicted child sex predator is traveling to their country. The Department of Homeland Security’s responsibilities at the border and their unique relationships with border officials around the world will enable Angel Watch’s charge.
3.) Formalize the process for the United States Marshal’s Service Sex Offender Targeting Center to provide advanced notice of travel by all registered sex offenders to destination countries using the Interpol notification system.
4.) The bill would also coordinate communication between the newly established Angel Watch Center and the well-established United States Marshal’s Service Sex Offender Targeting Center and streamlines the international notification system to ensure that no registered sex predators are lost in the system when leaving the United States.
5.) The bill designates the Angel Watch Center as responsible for receiving notifications of convicted sex offenders entering the United States from their home countries.
Senator Shelby has long been an advocate of legislation in the Senate that seeks to protect our nation’s children from predators. Shelby is the founder and Co-Chairman of the Senate Caucus for Missing, Exploited, and Runaway Children, and has worked in his capacity as the Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations Subcommittee to fight crimes against children.
Congressman Smith’s House version, HR515, passed in the House on January 26.
Megan Nicole Kanka was 7 years old when she was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered in 1994, in the State of New Jersey by a violent predator who was living across the street from her home. Unbeknownst to Megan Kanka and her family, he had previously been convicted of a sex offense against a child. In 1996, Congress adopted Megan’s Law to encourage states to protect children by identifying the whereabouts of sex offenders and providing the means to monitor their activities.
The International Labor Organization estimates that 1.8 million children a year are trafficked for sex and pornography. Many of the people who travel across the globe to have sex with children are Americans.
Senator Shelby is the Senior Senator from Alabama. He was first elected to the Senate in 1986 after service in the U.S. House of Representatives and Alabama legislature. Senator Shelby is seeking a sixth term in the Senate next year. Marijuana advocate, Ron Crumpton (D) has announced that he is challenging Shelby.