Convicted pedophiles traveling under the radar have fewer safe havens, now that President Obama's signature is on the International Megan's Law crafted and championed by Representative Chris Smith (R-4).


The President signed it February 8, a week after it won unanimous House approval.

The measure, generated in the aftermath of the Megan Kanka tragedy of 1994, enables governments worldwide to be aware when people on government sex-offender registries are within their borders, in order to weigh potential threats and take "reasonable precautions" such as denial of visas or travel restrictions.

"Information is power," Smith said in prepared remarks, "and the interest of protecting children remains at the core of the federal and original state Megan's Laws and the enactment of today's International Megan's Law."

After their daughter was abused and murdered by a convicted repeat offender who lived unostentatiously near their Hamilton home, Megan and Richard Kanka and their supporters pushed hard for the original Megan's Law, approved by the New Jersey Legislature in 1994.

Versions of the law were enacted in all 50 states. The Smith law takes it global.

Richard Kanka added that the measure aims to ensure that recidivist convicted predators cannot depend on anonymity. "Removing the secrecy will prevent more children from becoming victims in the US and abroad by simply making the facts known," Kanka said.

The genesis of the International Megan's Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advance Notification of Traveling Sex Offender began in 2008, when Smith introduced it alongside the Kankas in the small commemorative community park known as Megan's Place.

Among its components, the law:

  • Streamlines and coordinates the efforts of the Angel Watch Center and the US Marshals Service Sex Offender Targeting Center to expedite information flow;
  • Criminalizes travel by convicted sex offenders who do not post 21 days advance notice to law enforcement;
  • Mandates creation within 90 days of a program for issuing passport provisions to traveling child sex offenders under registration requirements, by the State Department and the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice;
  • Requires federal agencies to analyze notification responses to gauge cooperation, and gives the Angel Watch Center and US Marshal's Service authority to receive and disseminate information about arriving pedophiles with US law enforcement;
  • Directs the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security and the Attorney General to seek agreements and technical assistance with other countries.

Smith said the new law will work in tandem with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, which he authored, and two related laws he crafted in 2003.

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