WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama on Monday signed legislation named for a Hamilton girl that’s designed to alert foreign governments when registered sex offenders travel abroad.
The International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.) and cleared by Congress last week.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith first introduced the legislation in 2008
The bill was named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old from Hamilton in Smith’s district who was sexually assaulted and killed in 1994 by convicted sex offender who lived across the street. The original Megan’s Law passed by the New Jersey legislature to require public notice when a sex offender moved into a neighborhood.
Under the new law, the Departments of Homeland Security and Justice are to inform foreign governments when registered sex offenders are visiting their countries, and to receive information when they come to the U.S. from abroad. In addition, passports issued to registered sex offenders will contain an identifying mark.
A 2010 Government Accountability Office report said that at least 4,500 U.S. passports went to registered sex offenders in fiscal year 2008. In addition, it seeks to have the U.S. informed when convicted sex offenders from overseas travel to this country.