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boytyperanma
01-31-2009, 01:33 PM
Age of consent has come up in a couple threads recently and has gotten me thinking. Many countries have lower ages of consent then the US a few as young as 12. Some counties has legalized prostitution. Hopefully if a country has both they have a legal age to prostitute different then the age of consent. I found no readily available chart on any site I'd consider going to.

In addition to that question is the US capable of taking legal action against someone who travels to a country for the purposes of having sex with a girl younger then 16?

Not restricting this to prostitution. Are child molesters of the US heading off to other countries where they can legally do what we find to be a crime here. Do country's with low ages of consent set different ages of consent for non-citizens?

astro
01-31-2009, 01:56 PM
IIRC there have been several "sex tourist" prosecutions but the US usually tries to get the host country to prosecute. SE Asian countries seem to be a magnet for this sort of thing.

There was a very wealthy older American who died several years ago and he had fathered numerous babies with 11-13 year olds (he paid big money for virgins) in some SE Asian country. My google fu is failing me re his name. There we several pics of this villages where all these little girls had his babies they were carrying on thier hips. Weird and sad.

Darryl Lict
01-31-2009, 02:04 PM
IIRC there have been several "sex tourist" prosecutions but the US usually tries to get the host country to prosecute. SE Asian countries seem to be a magnet for this sort of thing.

There was a very wealthy older American who died several years ago and he had fathered numerous babies with 11-13 year olds (he paid big money for virgins) in some SE Asian country. My google fu is failing me re his name. There we several pics of this villages where all these little girls had his babies they were carrying on thier hips. Weird and sad.
Larry Hilblom (http://dna-view.com/sfstory.htm) of DHL, perhaps?

astro
01-31-2009, 02:29 PM
Larry Hilblom (http://dna-view.com/sfstory.htm) of DHL, perhaps?


That's it. An amazing story.

Tapioca Dextrin
01-31-2009, 02:52 PM
In addition to that question is the US capable of taking legal action against someone who travels to a country for the purposes of having sex with a girl younger then 16?

Yes (http://www.state.gov/g/tip/rls/tiprpt/2004/34021.htm).

The United States strengthened its ability to fight child sex tourism last year through passage of the Trafficking Victim Protection Reauthorization Act and the PROTECT Act. Together these laws enhance awareness through the development and distribution of CST information and increase penalties to up to 30 years for engaging in child sex tourism. In the first eight months of "Operation Predator" (a 2003 initiative to fight child exploitation, child pornography, and child sex tourism), U.S. law enforcement authorities arrested 25 Americans for child sex tourism offenses. Overall, the global community is awakening to the horrific issue of child sex tourism and is starting to take important initial steps.

Baron Greenback
01-31-2009, 03:07 PM
Gary Glitter recommends Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos.

HeyHomie
01-31-2009, 04:42 PM
I think the OP is asking about the youngest legal prostitutes. Are there countries where prositution is perfectly legal (as opposed to the police just looking the other way)? And if so, what are the age limits? And if those limits are under 18, can you be prosecuted under US sex tourism laws for going to one of those countries to have sex with an under-18 prosititute?

NOTE: I'm only asking academically. I have no intention of putting this information to use.

even sven
01-31-2009, 08:19 PM
Yes, you can and will still be prosecuted for having sex with someone under 18 (even if the age of consent is different in your current country and/or your home state.) The name of the law involved is the Protect Act.

As an American abroad, I've been warned quite strongly and with many examples about what could happen if that law is broken.

FoieGrasIsEvil
01-31-2009, 09:24 PM
That's it. An amazing story.

Crazy.

YogSosoth
01-31-2009, 09:40 PM
Trying to find a good vacation spot? ;)

Vox Imperatoris
01-31-2009, 09:50 PM
Trying to find a good vacation spot? ;)

You stole my exact response. :p

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris

Le Ministre de l'au-delà
01-31-2009, 10:36 PM
Interestingly, this article was in the Toronto Star today - Sex tourism trial gets green light from judge (http://www.thestar.com/article/580192)
And this was the page on the World Vision site about preventing child sex tourism (http://www.thestar.com/article/580192).

The fundamental thing is that even if were legal in a country you are visiting, more and more governments, and certainly the US and Canada, are legislating that their citizens will be prosecuted in their home countries if they are caught having sex with child prostitutes while abroad.

Q.E.D.
01-31-2009, 10:49 PM
Yes, you can and will still be prosecuted for having sex with someone under 18 (even if the age of consent is different in your current country and/or your home state.) The name of the law involved is the Protect Act.

A reading of the act (http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=108_cong_public_laws&docid=f:publ021.108.pdf) (long, boring, PDF) suggests this is not entirely correct, although it does accurately apply to the OP's scenario.

even sven
01-31-2009, 11:06 PM
Can you give a quick summary of what is different? My only understanding of this comes only from the stern lectures they give Peace Corps volunteers before sending us off. I'm curious what the reality is.

Q.E.D.
01-31-2009, 11:18 PM
Sure. It appears from my (admittedly incomplete) reading that the Act applies to:

TRAVEL WITH INTENT TO ENGAGE IN ILLICIT SEXUAL CONDUCT.—
A person who travels in interstate commerce or travels
into the United States, or a United States citizen or an alien
admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels
in foreign commerce, for the purpose of engaging in any illicit
sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title
or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

where

DEFINITION.—As used in this section, the term ‘illicit sexual
conduct’ means (1) a sexual act (as defined in section 2246) with
a person under 18 years of age that would be in violation of
chapter 109A if the sexual act occurred in the special maritime
and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or (2) any commercial
sex act (as defined in section 1591) with a person under 18
years of age.

It appears the intent of the law is to curtail sex tourism, rather than prosecute the guy who happens to get lucky with a 16-year-old on his vacation trip.

Bolding added.

KGS
01-31-2009, 11:25 PM
Gary Glitter recommends Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos. Cuba, too. Until he got kicked out of that country. When Cuba doesn't want you, you know you've got problems.

boytyperanma
02-01-2009, 04:54 AM
What I'm getting out of this so far is US citizens traveling to other countries can be prosecuted in the US for having sex outside the US with non-us citizens under 18.

That seems fine by me. While we may have lower consent ages in the US seems like a good idea to have a higher standard to prevent us from screwing around with other countries youths.

Question still not answered is what country has the youngest legal prostitutes. Is there any country in which a person under the age of 18 can sell themselves sexually without violating the law of that land?

constanze
02-01-2009, 07:30 AM
IAMNALawyer, so this is just a WAG, but I think that lower "age-of-consent" in Asian/African countries only applies to official marriages. I doubt that prostitution in Thailand or nearby countries is officially allowed, it's only mostly ignored (partly because of corruption).
So even in local law sleeping with a 14 year old for money might be forbidden, only not enforced, which is why the Western Countries with more clout try to persecute this at home to stop this exploitative tourism.

clairobscur
02-01-2009, 08:37 AM
Are there countries where prositution is perfectly legal (as opposed to the police just looking the other way)?

Since apparently, nobody answered that : yes, plenty.Mine, for one, and as far as I know, most of Europe. I'm aware of only one European country where prostitution is illegal (the "customer" can be prosecuted), and that would be Norway.

Cerowyn
02-01-2009, 12:53 PM
Since apparently, nobody answered that : yes, plenty.Mine, for one, and as far as I know, most of Europe. I'm aware of only one European country where prostitution is illegal (the "customer" can be prosecuted), and that would be Norway.The Wikipedia article on prostitution in Sweden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Sweden) says that it's illegal to purchase sexual services there. So, while it might be technically legal to be a prostitute in countries like Sweden and the UK, in practice law enforcement treats it as a criminal enterprise.

Cerowyn
02-01-2009, 01:05 PM
Getting back to the OP, consent in most countries also depends on the age of the older partner. Many jurisdictions, including Canada and (I think) most U.S. States, have statutory rape provisions for "victims" that are technically past the age of consent for sexual intercourse with partners that are a certain number of years older (or past a certain age). This means, for instance, that a 16 year old couple may not be guilty for having sex, but a 21 year old girl having sex with a 16 year old partner may be guilty of a crime. To complicate matters, sometimes the laws are different for males and females, and often for sodomy (anal and/or oral sex).

I'm sure you know all this, I'm just pointing out the difficulty in trying to find one source that takes all of this into account. However, the Wikipedia article on Age of Consent (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent) has a list of articles in the "Ages of consent in various countries" section to regional summaries of laws that may be what you're looking for.

AskNott
02-01-2009, 01:19 PM
The Wikipedia article on prostitution in Sweden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Sweden) says that it's illegal to purchase sexual services there. So, while it might be technically legal to be a prostitute in countries like Sweden and the UK, in practice law enforcement treats it as a criminal enterprise.

That's some catch, that Catch-22.:smack:

Chronos
02-01-2009, 01:19 PM
Are there countries where prositution is perfectly legal (as opposed to the police just looking the other way)?And for the obvious answer, prostitution is also legal in the US. Or at least, in some parts of one state in the US.

Westrogothia
02-01-2009, 01:32 PM
That's some catch, that Catch-22.:smack:

The idea is that prostitutes have it bad enough without beeing criminals.
Police go after customers and pimps instead of making life tough on the "victims".

This theoretically also cuts down on violence against protitutes, since they are (again in theory) free to go to the police and report crimes against them without having to face criminal charges themselves.

clairobscur
02-01-2009, 06:09 PM
The Wikipedia article on prostitution in Sweden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Sweden) says that it's illegal to purchase sexual services there. So, while it might be technically legal to be a prostitute in countries like Sweden and the UK, in practice law enforcement treats it as a criminal enterprise.

I must have confused Sweden and Norway.

Alan Smithee
02-01-2009, 08:38 PM
Wasn't there a case a few years ago where a woman in Germany was denied social assistance because she refused to take a job for which she was qualified: prostitute?

Q.E.D.
02-01-2009, 08:47 PM
Wasn't there a case a few years ago where a woman in Germany was denied social assistance because she refused to take a job for which she was qualified: prostitute?

I'd like to see a cite for this because stories like this, frankly, just scream UL.

Dog80
02-01-2009, 09:11 PM
I'd like to see a cite for this because stories like this, frankly, just scream UL.

I remember that story, it was all over the news everywhere. Turns out it was false: http://www.snopes.com/media/notnews/brothel.asp

Q.E.D.
02-01-2009, 09:12 PM
Can I call 'em, or what? ;)

YogSosoth
02-01-2009, 09:17 PM
If true, why is this illegal? If the country that you get the prostitute in legally allows that service, why should your home country be able to prosecute you for it? It seems like an overreach of government powers and completely unfair (keep in mind that this wouldn't just apply to prostitution, something most people would consider bad, but even for potentially neutral or moral services)

Alan Smithee
02-01-2009, 09:28 PM
Hmmph! Lied to by the media again! I usually use Snopes for things I get sent by email, not things I read in the Christian Science Monitor (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0511/p15s02-woeu.html?s=widep). (OK, that's not where I read it, but it was the most reputable source I could find in the Google news archives.)

Good catch, Q.E.D.

Vox Imperatoris
02-01-2009, 09:48 PM
If true, why is this illegal? If the country that you get the prostitute in legally allows that service, why should your home country be able to prosecute you for it? It seems like an overreach of government powers and completely unfair (keep in mind that this wouldn't just apply to prostitution, something most people would consider bad, but even for potentially neutral or moral services)

It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris

Q.E.D.
02-01-2009, 10:12 PM
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?

Wanna think about that for a minute?

Vox Imperatoris
02-01-2009, 11:20 PM
Wanna think about that for a minute?

What? Just because something may be legal for citizens of one country doesn't mean it must necessarily be legal for people of other countries on vacation. For example, I don't see any problem with a law stating that it is illegal for citizens of the U.S. to commit murder anywhere (well, a strict reading of the Constitution might not give the federal government that power, but that probably wouldn't be a problem), even if the killing is legal in the place of commission, Granted, proving that kind of case in court might be more difficult, since the country in which the crime was committed would likely not be compliant with providing evidence.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris

RedFury
02-02-2009, 08:35 AM
So according to Valete, Vox Imperatoris' impeccable logic, any American that travels to Amsterdam should be subjected, upon his return, to Federal and State laws w/regards to the consumption of marijuana? Hell, for that matter, since US Customs is so friendly as is, why not have everyone traveling into the US piss in a cup? Wearing only their socks.

Good times. In Amsterdam I mean.

ftg
02-02-2009, 09:36 AM
One of the most notorious US laws that applies overseas is the Cuban embargo. Can't light up a Cuban stogie overseas. (But somehow doesn't apply if you are the Vice President despite photographic evidence.)

You do ask your hosts where the sugar came from don't you?

Sunspace
02-02-2009, 10:50 AM
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?Replace 'prostitution' with 'reading a certain banned book'. I'm of two minds about this. Obviously countries can do what they want, and there are certain nasty crimes that warrant international eradication, but on the other hand, maybe we need a escape route for liberty...?

mauxlicious
02-02-2009, 04:27 PM
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?

Because it is ridiculously Orwellian. As long as I am abiding by the local laws, there's no way that the US government should have any say in my actions.

drachillix
02-02-2009, 04:44 PM
It sounds completely fair to me; if you are the citizen of a country that forbids prostitution, why shouldn't it be able to prosecute you for it, even if you actually did it in a foreign country?

If that kind of stuff became common why not let CA prosecute CA residents for visiting brothels in NV.

Vox Imperatoris
02-02-2009, 04:45 PM
So according to Valete, Vox Imperatoris' impeccable logic, any American that travels to Amsterdam should be subjected, upon his return, to Federal and State laws w/regards to the consumption of marijuana?

If there were such a law, yes, but there isn't, and I would oppose this law.

Because it is ridiculously Orwellian. As long as I am abiding by the local laws, there's no way that the US government should have any say in my actions.

Even for child prostitution? I don't see what the local laws have to do with it, besides the fact that if something were illegal for Americans overseas and illegal there, too, they could both prosecute you for it. If you're a citizen of a country and that country prohibits people doing certain things, even overseas, you should be answerable to that law as a subject of that government.

drachillix, full faith and credit.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris

mauxlicious
02-02-2009, 04:54 PM
Even for child prostitution? I don't see what the local laws have to do with it, besides the fact that if something were illegal for Americans overseas and illegal there, too, they could both prosecute you for it. If you're a citizen of a country and that country prohibits people doing certain things, even overseas, you should be answerable to that law as a subject of that government.

Of course I morally oppose child prostitution, however it's dangerous territory when the US starts attempting to impose their laws when I am physically not in their jurisdiction. I think it's a slippery slope because some laws involve a certain level of morality and while I agree with this one, it sets a precedent that makes me wary.

Chase Ransom
02-02-2009, 05:32 PM
The concept is clearly an overreach, but it is warranted. There is a big dif between child prostitution oversees, getting high in Amsterdam, or going to the Bunny Ranch in NV if you are from CA. Getting high is something you do to yourself. Going to the Bunny Ranch, is a legal normal thing.

Raping kids overseas, is not only illegal here, it is also morally reprehensible (at least), and also goes against international human right laws (I would assume - no, I won't provide a cite).

The reason the overreach is warranted is precisely due to the lack of law enforcement and abundance of corruption overseas, and the fragility of the victim in this case. I admit its a slippery slope, but I would rather something be done, than nothing at all.

mauxlicious
02-02-2009, 05:47 PM
The concept is clearly an overreach, but it is warranted. There is a big dif between child prostitution oversees, getting high in Amsterdam, or going to the Bunny Ranch in NV if you are from CA. Getting high is something you do to yourself. Going to the Bunny Ranch, is a legal normal thing.

Raping kids overseas, is not only illegal here, it is also morally reprehensible (at least), and also goes against international human right laws (I would assume - no, I won't provide a cite).

The reason the overreach is warranted is precisely due to the lack of law enforcement and abundance of corruption overseas, and the fragility of the victim in this case. I admit its a slippery slope, but I would rather something be done, than nothing at all.I agree with you. The big difference of the acts you mention are all inherently tied with morality. Morality is a subjective thing. What alarms me is that it seems that we are willing to allow the government to overreach in the name of good. While in this case most would agree this is for the good, we are left to trust the government to restrain themselves in other areas.

Cervaise
02-02-2009, 06:53 PM
If that kind of stuff became common why not let CA prosecute CA residents for visiting brothels in NV.This is already done for abortion, both domestically (US states barring, and theoretically punishing, interstate travel for the purpose) and internationally (see the ongoing debate in Ireland).

Siam Sam
02-03-2009, 11:46 PM
IAMNALawyer, so this is just a WAG, but I think that lower "age-of-consent" in Asian/African countries only applies to official marriages. I doubt that prostitution in Thailand or nearby countries is officially allowed, it's only mostly ignored (partly because of corruption).
So even in local law sleeping with a 14 year old for money might be forbidden, only not enforced, which is why the Western Countries with more clout try to persecute this at home to stop this exploitative tourism.

Prostitution is completely illegal in Thailand and most nearby countries (not sure about Singapore off the top of my head), but it is completely tolerated if not encouraged. There's some murkiness as to the age of consent. It appears that it is somewhere below the age of 18 with the parents' permission (like, say, you are dating her), but it's not clear exactly what that age is, and anyway for anyone with even half a brain, you'd best stick to 18 on up. The funny thing is girls can work in bars at age 18 but cannot patronize bars unless they're 21. There have been quite a few times when a guy wants to take an 18-20-year-old out of one bar and go have a drink in another, but she cannot go there, because of her age. And there have been instances of bars being shut down for 30 days because an 18-20-year-old bargirl from another bar did go in as a customer and an undercover cop spotted her.

YogSosoth
02-09-2009, 12:50 PM
What? Just because something may be legal for citizens of one country doesn't mean it must necessarily be legal for people of other countries on vacation. For example, I don't see any problem with a law stating that it is illegal for citizens of the U.S. to commit murder anywhere (well, a strict reading of the Constitution might not give the federal government that power, but that probably wouldn't be a problem), even if the killing is legal in the place of commission, Granted, proving that kind of case in court might be more difficult, since the country in which the crime was committed would likely not be compliant with providing evidence.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris


Vox, I think perhaps your disagreement is in the extreme nature of the crime at issue? Like other dopers have mentioned, if a law was in place for a banned book, should I be prosecuted on my return from England or wherever in which I read the book? No exceptions exist for you at all?

The nature of laws and a country's sovereignty is supposed to give them a free hand in their own jurisdiction. Unless they've agreed to some international treaties or something like the UN, one country's citizens should not be punished if they left that country's territory to do something that would be legal in their host country but not their home country

hibernicus
02-09-2009, 04:42 PM
This is already done for abortion, both domestically (US states barring, and theoretically punishing, interstate travel for the purpose) and internationally (see the ongoing debate in Ireland).

There's no ongoing debate on this issue in Ireland. The right of women to travel out of Ireland for abortions was confirmed by referendum in 1992. There is no basis in law for an Irish person to be punished for having an abortion outside the country, and it has never happened.

Polycarp
02-09-2009, 09:20 PM
If I'm not mistaken, the jurisdiction of the United States as regards criminal behavior is limited to its territory and that over which it has jurisdiction (the latter including military bases abroad leased from the host country, ships on the high seas and aircraft with U.S. registry, etc. But, of course, this also includes immigration and customs. So, for example, buying OTC a painkiller in Rotterdam or Toronto that is prescription only in the U.S. but sold without prescription there would not constitute the crime of illegally possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, as it would if one were in Tampa or Tucson.

What I'm driving at with reference to the current discussion is that what is criminalized is not the actual patronizing of an underage prostitute but the act of traveling, i.e., leaving the U.S., for the purpose of patronizing an underage prostitute. The first is a crime (if it is) under Thai or Romanian or Mexican law, over which the U.S. has no jurisdiction; but the latter is something done within the U.S. -- i.e., at its borders or ports of entry -- and therefore subject to its jurisdiction.

You'll find that a lot of Federal statutes include this sort of carefully crafted language, to make what most people consider should be a crime fall within the legal bounds of what the U.S. may criminalize. A hypothetical example, since I don't have any real ones to cite from memory, would be if U.S. law made it illegal to kill someone using a gun, knife, or other weapon manufactured in a different state -- it's not that Congress feels that killing someone with a locally manufactured weapon is any less heinous, but that the manufacture in a 'foreign' state to the one of the crime invokes the interstate commerce clause, giving the Feds. jurisdiction to regulate.

Perhaps Gfactor or another lawyer could validate or correct what I said above, and cite an actual example where a technicality is invoked to grant Federal jurisdiction, in place of my hypothetical one.

amanset
02-11-2009, 07:15 AM
So could you argue that you didn't intend to but as you were over there and the opportunity arose you thought "what the Hell" and went for it?

sailor
02-11-2009, 08:06 AM
What I'm driving at with reference to the current discussion is that what is criminalized is not the actual patronizing of an underage prostitute but the act of traveling, i.e., leaving the U.S., for the purpose of patronizing an underage prostitute. The first is a crime (if it is) under Thai or Romanian or Mexican law, over which the U.S. has no jurisdiction; but the latter is something done within the U.S. -- i.e., at its borders or ports of entry -- and therefore subject to its jurisdiction. I do not believe this is the case at all. I believe the law criminalises the actual sexual act and not any travel. I would like to see the actual text of the law.

American legislators often want to extend their reach beyond America's borders as is the case with the Helms-Burton act.

Not that there is not much stupidity regarding "intent". A person entering the USA on a tourist visa with the intention of getting married is breaking the law but a person who enters the USA on a tourist visa and then decides to get married to an American citizen is fine. So, I know of a person who entered on a tourist visa and then got married and was carefully coached by the lawyer before the interview with Immigration. You should say you had never even thought about marriage until your spouse popped the question once you were in the USA. You did not enter the USA with any intention of getting married and you only considered the possibility when you received the proposal once you were inside the USA.

Dunderman
02-11-2009, 08:39 AM
The Wikipedia article on prostitution in Sweden (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prostitution_in_Sweden) says that it's illegal to purchase sexual services there.And it's correct. The buyers are criminals, the sellers are not, which is in my opinion the one sensible way to do it if one is to have anti-prostitution laws.So according to Valete, Vox Imperatoris' impeccable logic, any American that travels to Amsterdam should be subjected, upon his return, to Federal and State laws w/regards to the consumption of marijuana? Hell, for that matter, since US Customs is so friendly as is, why not have everyone traveling into the US piss in a cup? Wearing only their socks.Which, while we're on the subject, is also the way it works in Sweden, minus the testing at the border. If I test positive in Sweden it doesn't matter if I did the drugs in Amsterdam, in Stockholm or in Antarctica. I'm busted.

Balthisar
02-11-2009, 01:16 PM
A person entering the USA on a tourist visa with the intention of getting married is breaking the law but a person who enters the USA on a tourist visa and then decides to get married to an American citizen is fine. So, I know of a person who entered on a tourist visa and then got married and was carefully coached by the lawyer before the interview with Immigration. You should say you had never even thought about marriage until your spouse popped the question once you were in the USA. You did not enter the USA with any intention of getting married and you only considered the possibility when you received the proposal once you were inside the USA.
sailor, I have a coworker who made the stupid mistake of coming home to the USA with his fiancée in tow, and letting the border agent know that she was his fiancée! They immediately voided her tourist visa and sent her back home. I don’t know if things would have been any different if they were merely girlfriend/boyfriend rather than betrothed, but in any case they had no intention to marry while they were in the United States. I also have a very good friend that has a common law wife (I guess that's what it is), and she only has a tourist visa. As far as I know, they've never, ever had difficulties in crossing the border.

Gfactor
02-12-2009, 12:19 AM
Perhaps Gfactor or another lawyer could validate or correct what I said above, and cite an actual example where a technicality is invoked to grant Federal jurisdiction, in place of my hypothetical one.

I collected some previous threads on this here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=9096700&postcount=7

Vox Imperatoris
02-12-2009, 12:33 AM
Vox, I think perhaps your disagreement is in the extreme nature of the crime at issue? Like other dopers have mentioned, if a law was in place for a banned book, should I be prosecuted on my return from England or wherever in which I read the book? No exceptions exist for you at all?

The nature of laws and a country's sovereignty is supposed to give them a free hand in their own jurisdiction. Unless they've agreed to some international treaties or something like the UN, one country's citizens should not be punished if they left that country's territory to do something that would be legal in their host country but not their home country

I think you're confusing my ideas about should-be-allowed-to versus would-be-a-good-idea-in-all-cases. And something would only be illegal for citizens overseas if it were specifically made illegal for citizens overseas; I'm not saying every law should be enforced like that; it would not be a good idea. That doesn't mean I don't think the government should be prohibited from doing it in all cases—I see no reason why they should be. Why shouldn't citizens of one country be subject to its jurisdiction when they leave and commit a crime that has specifically been made illegal overseas? They only fall under the foreign country's jurisdiction by virtue of the fact that it controls its own territory and can't let foreigners come in and do whatever they want. The citizen owes no actual allegiance to the foreign country, but the citizen does still "belong" to his parent country, and it should be able to prosecute him for crimes he commits under its laws, if it chooses to enforce them like that, no matter where the citizen is actually located at the time of commission. You only become immune from this, in my opinion, when you stop being a citizen of the home country and take up foreign citizenship. Then, obviously, you are only subject to that new country's laws.

And as for drugs, if I thought that drug laws really were a good idea and needed to be enforced, yes, I would support laws making it illegal overseas. (Although enforcement would be difficult without random, unconstitutional drug tests.) I don't, though. As for something like murder, though, why not? Sure, the foreign country should get to try you because you killed one of their guys, but if you get off or something, your own country should be able to try you for, you know, being a murderer.

Are you saying that this is unconstitutional or something? If so, on what grounds? If not, I'm not sure I see your point.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris

Gfactor
02-12-2009, 12:49 AM
You might also find this interesting: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/94-166.pdf

Vox Imperatoris
02-12-2009, 12:54 AM
You might also find this interesting: http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/crs/94-166.pdf

The summary looks like it pretty much is in sync with what I'm saying, although I'm sure the actual details of official U.S. policy are different.

Valete,
Vox Imperatoris

sailor
02-12-2009, 06:53 AM
I collected some previous threads on this here: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=9096700&postcount=7 Following links from there I found
Ok. It helps to look at a current version of the statute before posting. Sorry folks. Here is the current statute:
(a) Transportation With Intent To Engage in Criminal Sexual Activity.— A person who knowingly transports an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years in interstate or foreign commerce, or in any commonwealth, territory or possession of the United States, with intent that the individual engage in prostitution, or in any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 5 years and not more than 30 years.
(b) Travel With Intent To Engage in Illicit Sexual Conduct.— A person who travels in interstate commerce or travels into the United States, or a United States citizen or an alien admitted for permanent residence in the United States who travels in foreign commerce, for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
(c) Engaging in Illicit Sexual Conduct in Foreign Places.— Any United States citizen or alien admitted for permanent residence who travels in foreign commerce, and engages in any illicit sexual conduct with another person shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
(d) Ancillary Offenses.— Whoever, for the purpose of commercial advantage or private financial gain, arranges, induces, procures, or facilitates the travel of a person knowing that such a person is traveling in interstate commerce or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.
(e) Attempt and Conspiracy.— Whoever attempts or conspires to violate subsection (a), (b), (c), or (d) shall be punishable in the same manner as a completed violation of that subsection.
(f) Definition.— As used in this section, the term “illicit sexual conduct” means
(1) a sexual act (as defined in section 2246) with a person under 18 years of age that would be in violation of chapter 109A if the sexual act occurred in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States; or
(2) any commercial sex act (as defined in section 1591) with a person under 18 years of age.
(g) Defense.— In a prosecution under this section based on illicit sexual conduct as defined in subsection (f)(2), it is a defense, which the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant reasonably believed that the person with whom the defendant engaged in the commercial sex act had attained the age of 18 years. http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002423----000-.html So it seems (b) restricts the extraterritorial effects of the law to US citizens and residents "who travel in foreign commerce, for the purpose of engaging in any illicit sexual conduct with another person". The travel does not have to be from the USA but what it punishes is the intention, not the act. I think a defense would be that the purpose of the travel was not to engage in sex but that the sex happened unexpectedly during travel intended for other purposes.

Non-resident foreign nationals are exempt from this part.