Challenge to Sex Offender Passport Law Nixed

A new law intended to thwart international sex tourism and sex trafficking has survived a constitutional challenge, at least for now.

U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton refused Wednesday to issue an injunction to block the law, which requires sex offenders to carry a special mark on their passports.

Hamilton said because government officials have not yet developed guidelines for the markings it would be premature to block the law, which took effect in February.

The new statute, the International Megan’s Law, is intended to prevent child exploitation and other six crimes by offenders who travel to exploit children.

The law recognizes the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006 was an attempt to make uniform the patchwork of 50 state and federal registration systems. But it is estimated 100,000 sex offenders become “missing” or “lost” in the system.

The new law allows for the U.S. to notify destination countries that a sex offender is traveling to their county, including notification of visa-issuing agents.

The law is clear that no passport identifier provision is yet in effect, “and that it will not take effect until after the Secretaries of Homeland Security and the state of the Attorney General have developed a process for implementation,” Hamilton said.

“Thus, because significant steps must be taken before the passport identifier can be implemented, the court finds that plaintiffs’ challenge is not yet ripe,” she said.

Case: Doe v. Kerry, No. 16cv654



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