International Megan's Law action alert

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Save U.S. taxpayers $12,000,000 and do not fund HR 515, International Megan's Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders.

HR 515 wastes $6,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2017 and 2018. There is little evidence that the bill will reduce sexual re-offenses, as it purports.[1]

Diametrically opposed to research, the bill attempts to reduce sex trafficking by targeting registered sex offenders. A large number of registrants were convicted of Internet-related offenses, never having physical contact with anyone. Even of registrants who had physical contact, over 90% were family or friends, not strangers or citizens of foreign countries. There is no evidence that registrants have been, or are likely to be, involved in sex trafficking.[2]

The bill creates an unnecessary bureaucracy, the Angel Watch Center. That bureaucracy would alert foreign governments of travel plans of registered sex offenders. Those governments already have Internet access to every online U.S. sex offender registry. This bureaucracy is duplicative and misdirected since traffickers are more likely to be politicians, local law enforcement, businessmen or restaurateurs.[3]

The so-called Angel Watch Center would receive alerts from foreign governments of travel plans of individuals who have committed sex offenses in those foreign countries. Only 18 countries even have sex offender registries.[4] There is no evidence that those convicted of sex offenses in foreign countries are attempting to enter the U.S. to engage in sex trafficking.

The U.S. government is already disseminating its citizens’ criminal histories to foreign governments that are then denying entry to citizens holding valid U.S. passports.

The bill targets international travel of registered sex offenders who live, work and travel freely across the U.S. They do not pose significant public safety risk to U.S. society or to citizens of foreign countries.[5][6]

HR 515 is an expensive, needless bill that does nothing to reduce sex trafficking or enhance the safety of either U.S. or foreign citizens. At the same time, it increases risk to U.S. citizens and causes significant collateral damage to anyone traveling with a registered sex offender.[7][8]

Similar future legislation should be presented for a roll call vote only after research concerning sex trafficking and convicted sex offenders has been thoroughly reviewed. There are innumerable professionals, organizations and individual citizens who would be willing to discuss this issue with any committee or member.


  1. Zgoba, Kristen, Philip Witt, Melissa Dalessandro, and Bonita Veysey. "Assessing the Practical and Monetary Efficacy of New Jersey's Megan's Law, 1972-2007." ICPSR Data Holdings (2013). Print.
  2. "No Easy Answers." Human Rights Watch. 11 Sept. 2007. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.
  3. Jesionka, Natalie. "Human Trafficking: The Myths and the Realities." The Muse. Daily Muse, Inc. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.
  4. USA. Department of Justice. SMART Office. Global Overview of Sex Offender Registration and Notification Systems. Washington: n.p., 2014. Print.
  5. Agan, Amanda Y. "Sex Offender Registries: Fear without Function?" Journal of Law and Economics 54.1 (2011): 207-39. Web.
  6. Sandler, Jeffrey C., Naomi J. Freeman, and Kelly M. Socia. "Does a Watched Pot Boil? A Time-series Analysis of New York State's Sex Offender Registration and Notification Law." Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 14.4 (2008): 284-302. Web.
  7. Tewksbury, Richard A., Wesley G. Jennings, and Kristen Zgoba. Final Report on Sex Offenders: Recidivism and Collateral Consequences. Washington: National Institute of Justice, 2011. Web.
  8. Levenson, Jill S., and Richard Tewksbury. Collateral Damage: Family Members of Registered Sex Offenders 34.1-2 (2009): 54-68. Springer Link. American Journal of Criminal Justice, 1 June 2009. Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

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