Paedophiles face ban on 'sex tourism' trips

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The Independent Online

The courts are to be given powers to ban paedophiles from going abroad on "sex tourism" trips, the Government said yesterday.

The courts are to be given powers to ban paedophiles from going abroad on "sex tourism" trips, the Government said yesterday.

Police will be able to apply for a travel banning order when they suspect a convicted sex offender is planning a foreign trip to countries such as Thailand and Cambodia. Abusers who attempt to dodge the orders could be jailed for up to five years. Grounds for action could include evidence of paedophiles sending explicit e-mails to foreign youngsters or contacting other sex offenders to arrange trips.

Those listed on the sex offenders register can at present travel around the world without telling anyone where they are going, as long as they return within eight days.

Under the new rules, offenders could be barred from several countries or an entire continent if suspected of planning a tour of several nations.

The ban would last six months and could be renewed when it ran out. It would apply not only to recognised sex tourism destinations but also to any country where police believed a paedophile was likely to abuse children.

Campaigners against child prostitution have warned that websites on the internet advertise "sex tourism" packages complete with air fares, hotel details and directions to local brothels.

The problem is worst in Asia, where a million children are believed to be prostitutes. The travel loophole was highlighted recently when the pop star Gary Glitter – convicted in 1999 of downloading indecent photographs of children aged under 16 from the internet – moved to Phnom Penh, Cambodia, which has a reputation as a centre for paedophiles.