By Sandy . . . A recent press release from the office of Congressmen Chris Smith, author of the bill which became International Megan’s Law says, “One year to the date of its enactment, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) reports that the International Megan’s Law is already having the intended effect of reducing the threat of child sex tourism.”
The proof for this statement is given as, “[Thailand officials] indicated that in Thailand alone, over 160 convicted sex offenders were caught trying to enter the country.”
The dots are not connected. 160 individuals on the sex offender registry sought to travel to Thailand. That is like saying that 160 people with vandalism records, many committed when they were juveniles, were traveling to England with the intent of doing damage to Buckingham Palace. It is an egregious assumption to make in both cases.
The hyperbole continues: “…the sections of the law that have been put into force so far have made an immeasurable difference in the lives of children across the planet…” Apparently with the use of “immeasurable,” Mr. Smith feels no need to offer any supporting evidence; the difference cannot be measured.
One of the most disturbing portions of the press release is this: “Worldwide reports indicate that 1,780 notifications of pedophile travel have been sent by 64 countries…This important legislation allows governments, in the U.S. and around the globe, to know when convicted pedophiles on sex-offender registries are traveling to other countries.”
In America, no one is convicted of pedophilia; it is a medical term, not a legal one. Therefore, the meaning of the statement is clouded in uncertainty. Did all 1,780 individuals have a conviction for child sexual abuse? If not and the term is simply being used as a synonym for a person on the registry, what is the significance of the number? Many are registered for offenses that had nothing to do with children, but, as pointed out in The Scarlet Echo, 2-11-2017, “But Mr. Smith doesn’t want the public to know that, he wants the public to believe they were all pedophiles seeking out children so that he could justify his International Megan’s Law.”
Going with the philosophy that more is better – or more persuasive – the press release repeats this statement that was used, successfully, to garner votes for the passage of IML: “[A]t least 4,500 U.S. passports were issued to registered sex offenders in fiscal year 2008.” The most important fact, however, is missing. There is no claim that a single one of those 4,500 passport holders was charged, or even suspected, in using his passport to travel in order to sexually molest or traffic a child.
Child sexual abuse and child sex trafficking are real. It is imperative that our country and other countries take measures to combat them. Making scapegoats, once again, of an easily identifiable and despised segment of our society without any evidence that a measurable portion of the problem lies with them will not accomplish this goal.