Home and Away
A lot of work was put into what became the 1998 Sexual Offences Act. There were two parts to this legislation. The first part created the register of sex offenders in the UK which has become a strong part of our control mechanisms today. The second part was specifically aimed at those British men (and a few women) who went abroad to abuse children.
It gave power to the British courts to prosecute British citizens for offences committed abroad if the country they were committed in did not take any action. Many other industrialised countries have similar legislation and have been reasonably vigilant in pursuing this. Britain has not.
Many reasons are being put forward for the lack of attention to this matter in the last 14 years but the pathetic, single-figure number of men that have been prosecuted is both embarrassing and insulting to those of us who put so much effort into challenging the hundreds (if not thousands) of British men who engage in what’s called ‘sex-tourism.’
I know that Europol and other international police networks work hard on the identification of criminals and that CEOP, on behalf of the UK, is rightly praised for the work that it does with the limited resources that it has.
But two things are clear at least. Firstly huge amounts of money is needed to develop resources in the identification of victims of abuse from information, evidence and images that are seized. Secondly, many people seem to forget that abusers who prey on children abroad don’t stop abusing when they come back home and so their identification, prosecution and control would save a lot of children a lot of agony.
I’d like to know what you all think about this?