In an effort to curb international child sex trafficking, the State Department announced this week that convicted child sex offenders will now be identified as such in their U.S. passports.
Congress enacted the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation and Other Sexual Crimes Through Advanced Notification of Traveling Sex Offenders in 2016. The law was named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was killed in 1994 by a convicted child sex offender, and required the State Department to issue passports with a unique identifier to covered sex offenders.
On Tuesday, the State Department announced that the unique identifier would be printed on the inside back cover of passports obtained by registered child sex offenders. The identifier will read: “The bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor, and is a covered sex offender pursuant to,” the applicable U.S. law.
The State Department will also contact covered sex offenders about replacing their passports with new versions that identify their convicted status.
Critics say the new identifier violates the constitutional rights of registered sex offenders. In a statement to The New York Times, the Alliance For Constitutional Sex Offense Laws announced plans to file a lawsuit against the State Department.
In response to the criticism, the State Department told CBS News that the new identifier won’t prevent affected sex offenders from leaving the U.S. or the validity of their passports.