Australians are renowned for their love of travel. Sadly there are some Australians who travel overseas to sexually exploit children. To protect children overseas, the Australian Government has created offences for this behaviour under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995.
It is a crime for Australian citizens, permanent residents or bodies corporate to engage in, facilitate or benefit from sexual activity with children (under 16 years of age) while overseas. These offences carry penalties of up to 25 years imprisonment for individuals and up to $500,000 in fines for companies. The AFP has a role in preventing, disrupting and investigating Australians who are associated with such offences, in conjunction with relevant State, Commonwealth and international law enforcement partners.
These offences have provisions applying an extended geographical jurisdiction that enables offences committed overseas to be investigated and prosecuted in Australia. Other offences contained in the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 include reference to offences associated with using a carriage service (for example, a mobile phone or the internet) to commit offences related to the sexual exploitation of children. Again, these offences have extended geographical jurisdiction so that they will be investigated and prosecuted in Australia.
In April 2010, the Australian Government introduced changes which increased the penalties that apply to these offences and introduced a new offence. It is now an offence to prepare for or plan to commit a child sex tourism offence, or to groom or procure a child for sexual activity overseas. These offences allow law enforcement to intervene before a child is abused. The offences carry penalties of up to 15 years imprisonment.
The Australian Federal Police actively monitors and prosecutes those involved in child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism. Convictions often result in significant jail sentences.
The AFP Annual Report contains further information regarding the AFP's activities to combat child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.
As part of the Bali Process the AFP also provides training and capacity building to law enforcement agencies within the region to combat child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism and related offences.
Reporting child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism
Assist the AFP in combating this global problem. Use our online form to report information regarding child sexual exploitation in travel and tourism.