Crimes Against Minors Abroad

U.S. citizens are subject to the laws of the foreign countries they visit. You can be prosecuted in the United States for some acts committed overseas. You can be prosecuted even if the acts are legal where they happened.

The PROTECT Act was passed in 2003. It makes it a crime for a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident to have sex with someone under the age of 18 in a foreign country. This crime can be prosecuted in the United States.

Under the Protection of Children from Sexual Predators Act of 1998, it is a crime to use the mail or any form of communication to encourage a person under the age of 16 to commit a sexual crime. An example of such a crime is making child pornography.

Visit the U.S. Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section. They provide more information on federal laws about crimes against minors overseas. If you want to report a crime, contact the FBI or use the numbers provided by the DOJ.

Last Updated: March 8, 2024