432 Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the measures, if any, he has taken to prevent child sex tourism; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21563/97]
Written Answers. - Child Sex Tourism.
The Sexual Offences (Jurisdiction) Act, 1996, which came into operation in December 1996, enables the Garda to take appropriate action on receipt of complaints alleging offences involving child sex tourism. The Act has two main objectives. Firstly, it targets the child sex tourist by providing that Irish citizens or person ordinarily resident here who engage in sex with children abroad can be dealt with by the courts here. Secondly, the Act also targets organisers by making it an offence to arrange transport for, or to actually transport, child sex tourists. It is also an offence to publish information on child sex tourism.
The Act gives the Garda Síochána substantial powers to deal with this evil. If experience shows that additional powers are needed I will not hesitate to seek Government approval for them.
The Deputy may also be interested to know that in September the Government approved the drafting of a Child Pornography Bill the purpose of which is to enhance the measures already in place to protect children under 17 years from sexual exploitation and abuse. The Bill is currently being drafted and I hope to publish it shortly.