Scots courts fail to utilise sex tourism travel ban


By Rory Reynolds

SCOTLAND’S police forces and courts have failed to ban a single paedophile from travelling abroad to engage in child sex tourism.

An investigation by Strathclyde University has revealed that no Foreign Travel Orders were issued last year, which prevent predators from visiting countries plagued by the child sex trade.

However police and prosecutors in England and Wales have used FTOs on 13 occasions since 2007, to stop paedophiles visiting countries such as Thailand and Cambodia.

While at least 17 are currently classed as missing, and are believed to be on the run overseas.

The study, carried out by social work lecturer Beth Weaver, analysed the effectiveness of Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements for keeping track of high-risk offenders.

It also revealed that the Sexual Offences Prevention Orders that are available the courts have only been used on a handful of occasions.

Violent sexual crimes

Just 45 SOPOs, which bar paedophiles from visiting areas like schools and play parks, were issued last year.

The number of offenders returned to prison for breaching SOPOs nearly doubled in 2009, while the numbers of those who received further convictions for serious or violent sexual crimes rose from eight to 44.

Labour’s justice spokesman Richard Baker has urged Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to launch a review into how paedophiles are monitored, and consider a total ban on all sex offenders travelling abroad.

He said: “These figures make disturbing reading and it’s clear that there needs to be a full National Inquiry into sex offender monitoring.

“The fact that we now know that foreign travel orders have simply not been imposed on sex offenders is another example that the current arrangements are too often not being effectively implemented.

“After the case of Thomas Smith who raped and murdered Diane Fallon and her 10-year-old daughter Holly, and Ryan Yates in Aberdeen who attempted to murder a grandmother so he could abuse her two grandchildren, it is clear to me that the system needs to be re-examined.


“I called on Kenny MacAskill to back such a probe but so far my pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

“The publication of research showing the number of sex offenders who committed further serious violent or sexual crimes in Scotland rose last year should be a wake up call for the Scottish Government.

”There can be no room for complacency when public safety is at stake.”

A spokesman for the Scottish government said: “The infrequent use of FTOs is not unique to Scotland.

“Ministry of Justice statistics indicate only 12 such orders had been obtained in the rest of the UK in 2008-2009.

“Clearly it is important to raise awareness amongst police forces of the benefits of these orders and to encourage consideration of their usage.”


Comments are closed.