Delyn MP David Hanson has welcomed new legislation which will come into force on Monday which will mean that people who commit sex offences against children abroad will face prosecution in the UK, even if that offence is not illegal in the foreign country it was committed.
It means that UK nationals who commit a specified sexual offence against a child overseas which may not be an offence in that country but is an offence here can expect to be prosecuted for the offence on their return to the UK. For example, in some countries possession of indecent images of children is not an offence or the age of consent is lower than 16 years. The measures are part of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill.
This legislation comes in addition to the UK recently signing the Council of Europe’s Convention on the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse. This sets standards to ensure that countries criminalise the sexual exploitation and abuse of children and adopt similar standards of investigation and prosecution of these crimes. It also 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.
David Hanson said:
“Although we have some of the toughest sex offences legislation in the world, these new powers will do more to protect the vulnerable, both at home and abroad.
“These measures will send a strong message to sex tourists that wherever an offence is committed they will still face the prospect of prosecution.”