Kompas.com says hundreds of Australian pedophiles are now traveling abroad where they are involved in predatory behavior with little fear of arrest, as Australian law is largely unable to touch them.
The latest statistics point to Bali as a main destination for pedophiles. A repor in Adelaide Now's website said that in the first two months of 2012, a total of 195 of the 14,300 registered Australian sex offenders for crimes against children were traveling abroad.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) admit that the whereabouts of Australian pedophiles traveling and living abroad was not thoroughly known.
L. Sastra Wijaya, a correspondent for Kompas based in Australia reports that since a change in policy introduced in 2010, only one pedophile has been charged in connection with crimes committed while traveling abroad. Because of this, those campaigning against pedophilia have issued calls for a ban on foreign travel by known Australian pedophiles.
A spokesman for the AFP said that in several cases local authorities are only informed after a known pedophile has already arrived in a foreign locale. Often local police do not have trained personnel to assign to track the activities of foreign pedophiles once they have such information in hand.
Bernadetta McMeanamin, the executive director of the child protection group Child Wise, says that Australian pedophiles should be banned form traveling abroad if the Australian government cannot guarantee such people will be monitored when overseas.
McMeanamin warned that because of the lack of local monitoring capabilities, a known pedophile could arrive in Denpasar, Bali and then merely disappear.
AFP statistics indicated that 25% of know pedophiles traveling abroad visit Denpasar (Bali). This total is twice the number estimated for the second most popular destination of Singapore.
Melissa Curley, an instructor from Queensland University said the difficulties of accumulating strong evidence from foreign police authorities and securing witnesses needed to bring criminal charges in Australia against people believed to be preying on children abroad made prosecuting pedophile offenders problematic.
A spokesperson for the Australian Prosecutor’s office, Nicola Roxon, said that the Australian government stands ready to work with foreign governments to enhance law enforcement and to reduce the instances of pedophile offenses committed by Australians when traveling abroad.
Additional Warning from the U.S.
An article in the Bali Daily (Jakarta Post) raised a similar alarm sounded by an Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) special agent speaking at a workshop on “The Dangers of Pedophilia for Children’s Future” recently held in Buleleng, North Bali. FBI agent David Strange told listeners to be on the lookout for pedophiles and pledged his bureau’s cooperation to work with local law enforcement in running to ground U.S. national committing sexual abuse against children while in Indonesia.
The workshop was organized in North Bali because of that area’s notoriety as a center for pedophile activity.
“We definitely will not tolerate any sexual abuse of children throughout Indonesia. We only hunt for suspected pedophiles from the US. But if anyone has information about a suspected pedophile of any nationality, we could help by contacting the consulate of the related country for further legal processing,” said Agent Strange.
Warning that the threat of sexual abuse of children can come from both foreign visitors and local residents alike, the president of Committee Against Sexual Abuse (CASA), Dr. L.K. Suryani, asked local residents to remain vigilant in monitoring suspicious activities and the overall development of their children.
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