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uk sex tourists to pay at home

Sex tourists face UK prosecution over abuse abroad

Jul 10, 2008

The new legislation, contained in the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, will come into effect from Monday.

It means that UK nationals who commit a specified sexual offence against a child overseas can expect to be prosecuted for the offence on their return to the UK.

The change will close a loophole which allows a sex offender to escape prosecution if it is not an offence in the country where the act is committed.

Officials said that in some countries possession of indecent images of children is not an offence while in others the age of consent is lower than 16 years.

Home Office Minister Vernon Coaker said: "We already have some of the toughest sex offences legislation in the world but we are determined to do everything we can to protect the most vulnerable, at home and abroad.

"I hope this new law will send a tough message to deter travelling sex tourists."

The Government has already signed agreements with international police and child protection agencies to share information, particularly about known child sex offenders.

Jim Gamble, Chief Executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, said: "The sexual abuse of children is the worst crime imaginable.

"No offender should be able to escape to foreign jurisdictions in order to abuse children and young people.

"This measure is a significant step forward and sends out a very clear and unequivocal message to offenders everywhere: no matter whether they are in the UK or abroad, we will track you, we will bring you to account and you will face the consequences of your criminal actions.

"Every child no matter where they live deserves that protection."

The Government recently signed the Council of Europe's Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse which includes measures on exchanging the identity of convicted sex offenders with other countries. The UK is aiming to ratify the Convention as soon as possible.

Sex tourists face UK prosecution over abuse abroad

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