AFP logo at EBB Canberra

Travelling child sex offenders

Together with our international partners, we combat sex offenders who travel to abuse children

Travelling to sexually abuse a child is illegal

It's a crime to travel overseas and engage in, encourage or benefit from sexual activity with children (under 16 years of age). It's also illegal to use a mobile phone or the internet to exploit children sexually.

If you commit crimes against children overseas, we can prosecute you in Australia. We work closely with state and territory police, other Australian Government agencies and our colleagues overseas.

If you're found guilty, you could face life imprisonment. Companies face fines of up to A$500,000.


International travel of Australian Registered Child Sex Offenders

By law, each state and territory places people convicted of child sex offences on a register. These offenders must provide details of their whereabouts and other matters to police.

If a person is on a child sex offender register and has reporting obligations, they need permission to travel overseas. A competent authority from the relevant state or territory police force must approve this travel. They'll also advise the AFP.

If a person on a register tries to travel without permission, they'll face up to 5 years in prison.

We may give travel information about a person on a register to our law enforcement colleagues overseas. This includes travel on cruise ships outside Australian waters.

Where appropriate, those international law enforcement partners will receive:

  • the Registered Offender's details
  • the registered offence(s) and sentence
  • registration period
  • travel details.

Overseas law enforcement authorities will decide what actions to take. They may deny the Registered Offender entry to their country.

Registered Offenders who wish to travel should:

  • contact the embassy or consulate of the country they wish to visit to find out if they may enter
  • for cruises, contact the cruise line's security operations to find out if they'll be allowed on board.

How to report child sex offenders who travel

If a child is at immediate risk:

To report Australians travelling overseas to exploit children sexually use the
Suspicious Behaviour Report form