ARIMA, Trinidad and Tobago (Sept. 15, 2020)— OffenderWatch, the leading sex offender registry management solution, and the Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes (CCASC), an initiative of nonprofit Zandoli USA, today announced a joint mission to implement sex offender registries across the 15 nations of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The sex offender registries would help fight the global crisis of sex crimes—many against children. Law enforcement worldwide would benefit from sex offender registries in CARICOM nations as it would assist in international investigations and hopefully prevent future sex crimes. OffenderWatch and Zandoli USA signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to track sex offenders throughout the Caribbean and eventually across the world.
CCASC works with non-profit and governmental agencies across CARICOM. All 15 CARICOM nations are at varying stages of implementing sex offender registration with Jamaica, Belize, and Trinidad and Tobago already having laws on the books.
The partners envision legislative change to implement a global sex offender registration system linking law enforcement agencies worldwide through a common database application. The objective will be to reduce child sex trafficking globally by facilitating international cooperation to track registered sex offenders as they move or travel from one country to another.
Nearly 18.5 million people live in the CARICOM states. Sex Crime is endemic in the Caribbean region, which has been recognized by the United Nations as one of the regions with the highest rates of sex crime globally.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed this year by OffenderWatch President Mike Cormaci, Zandoli USA’s founder, Camille St. Omer and the Chairman of the Caribbean Committee against Sex Crimes, Jonathan Bhagan. CCAC was founded by Camille St. Omer, also vice chair, and includes Gina Maharaj Attorney at Law as vice chair.
The first step of the proposed project is to approach the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to initiate a pilot project establishing the country’s first operational Sex Offender Registry using technology provided by OffenderWatch.
Trinidad and Tobago became the smallest country in the world to pass a public sex offender’s registry law on September 13, 2019. Judges will have the discretion to choose which offenders undergo public registration.
The partnership between OffenderWatch and Zandoli USA, named “Operation Global Sex Offender’s Registry,” was inspired by the Angel Watch Center which monitors sex offenders attempting to enter or exit the United States. The Angel Watch Center was created by the passage of International Megan’s Law (IML) in the United States.
Operation Global Sex Offender’s Registry is designed to enhance the effectiveness of the US International Megan’s Law to End Child Sex Trafficking (HR 515) by implementing similar policies and software in partner countries.
It is expected that law enforcement worldwide will benefit in many ways from a global sex offender registration network. There is huge potential for big data, predictive policing and AI algorithms to find new ways to prevent sex crime. The primary reason behind offenders entering a country and not registering is because the country of origin lacked an ability to notify a new country of the offender’s intention to move. The new program by OffenderWatch instantly executes a notification upon entering the address of where an offender intends to travel or relocate to.
On September 28, 2019 a New York Times investigative report showed there is more child pornography being detected on the internet than ever before in history. OffenderWatch and Zandoli USA believe that Operation Global Sex Offender’s Registry is part of the solution to the epidemic of child abuse imagery. Much of this imagery is produced by child sex offenders who travel abroad for the purpose of accessing vulnerable children.
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding, a research paper will be produced to show the effectiveness of OffenderWatch’s software in deterring sex crimes. Special focus will be given to the International Megan’s Law to end Child Sex Trafficking, as well as the Angel Watch Center on how these measures have provided deterrence to sex offenders crossing borders.
Some countries in the Caribbean do not have rape crisis shelters or proper mechanisms in place to help survivors of sexual assault report the crimes to the police and recover. Once sufficient funding is available, Operation Global Sex Offender’s Registry will aid Caribbean charities which assist survivors of sexual assault.
“Given the recent economic impact of Covid-19 on the tourism-dependent economies of CARICOM, I hope that international sponsors can fund our efforts to implement cutting-edge software in the Caribbean region. A recent CARICOM study by Dr. Justine Pierre revealed how widespread Human Trafficking is in our region. We will need funding from the United States, European Union and United Kingdom for our work and for other groups fighting against sex crime and Human Trafficking in the Caribbean,” said Jonathan Bhagan, Chairman of the Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes.
Sponsorship will be sought from governments and corporations willing to contribute towards the goal of preventing child sex trafficking and exploitation. Any government agency or corporation interested in partnering with Operation Global Sex Offender’s Registry is invited to contact email@example.com for more information.
OffenderWatch is the nation’s leading sex offender registration solution, with over 15,000 users at law enforcement agencies in 50 states using the technology. Local, state and federal agencies use the software to monitor offenders, communicate with other registering agencies, and immediately update the sex offender registry website and notify the community within a radius of the offender’s address. With each edit of the offender record, the OffenderWatch system automatically updates the department’s sex offender listings on the department’s website and sends email notifications to the public.
“We believe data shared between law enforcement agencies and countries leads to better compliance, more effective investigations and ultimately safer cities and neighborhoods,” said Mike Cormaci, President and co-founder of OffenderWatch. “When all of the countries of the Caribbean join our network, OffenderWatch will have 100% of the homes in the Caribbean covered by our reach. OffenderWatch supports more than just the legal requirements of a sex offender registry. Through improved timeliness, accuracy, and completeness, it supports the intent of the law: improved public safety through awareness—hopefully leading to fewer victims.”
There are more than 900,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. However, agencies and countries often use disparate systems for managing sex offenders. These systems can falter when offenders move from one agency to another or from one country to another (unconnected) jurisdiction, as it falls to the offender to notify the new agency by showing up at their offices to register. This can be an opportunity for an offender to “fall through the cracks” of the registry. OffenderWatch prevents this by automatically notifying and sharing records with destination agencies within the network. All relevant data from all sources and agencies is maintained in a single offender record, improving accuracy, offender accountability, and aiding in public safety.
OffenderWatch will also allow local agencies to easily send real-time alerts to the public when a registered sex offender moves into their neighborhood. The service is available at no cost to the public, and people can sign up to receive email or mail notifications associated with any address-at home, school, work, gym, day care, a park, or more.
As this collaboration with 15 networked countries of the Caribbean improves and streamlines offender management and public awareness, safety in the community is also enhanced, “With the OffenderWatch technologies, CARICOM governments will be able to focus more on protecting the public and less on time-consuming administrative work. CARICOM IMPACs already tracks large numbers of sex offenders entering the Caribbean on airlines however local police and immigration rarely get access to this data to monitor potentially dangerous criminals,” said Camille St. Omer and Jonathan Bhagan of the CCASC.
Using OffenderWatch, all the countries of the Caribbean can instantly share records with each other and any other registering agency in the OffenderWatch within the network. Instead of spending hours researching each new offender and locating old court and registration documents, any country can instantly obtain the full historical record of the offender, packed with related documents and images. This information is vital as registry officers can collaborate with other agencies on child abductions and investigations of absconded offenders. OffenderWatch also connects the agency to improve collaboration with other investigators, all enhancing public safety. Additionally, residents of the Caribbean will have access through websites to search the full Caribbean OffenderWatch network for information on offenders to get the information they need to help keep their families safe in their physical as well as online activities.
In today’s environment of ubiquitous technology, law enforcement must also focus on online safety. According to Camille and Jonathan of CCASC, “Sexual predators are unfortunately becoming an increased threat online, especially as kids are on the web more at home while sheltering in place. With a Global Sex Offender’s Registry system police in Trinidad can notify law enforcement in the United States if a Sex Offender resident in the USA is soliciting children in Trinidad in person or online. The end result is improved safety.”
According to UNICEF an estimated 223 million children, 10 percent of the world’s children, have been sexually assaulted; this includes 150 million girls and 73 million boys. Two million children are victims of sex trafficking or pornography.
In 2019, there were more than 45 million images of children being sexually abused online, according to an investigation by the New York Times. Plus, tips reporting online child exploitation to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children more than doubled from March 2019 to March 2020. Through the OffenderWatch partnership, CCASC will advocate for CARICOM to be the first group of countries to offer OffenderWatch Safe Virtual Neighborhood (SVN), an app coming soon after the countries fully deploy and integrate within the network, that will proactively alert parents to online contact from registered sex offenders. While registered offenders are required to provide their electronic communications identifiers to be included in the sex offender registry database, this information is non-published, so is generally not available to the public. SVN continually monitors and compares users’ online contacts vs. this non-public data (email address, phone numbers, and registered online user ID’s) and alerts subscribers such as parents to contact law enforcement if a match is identified. Additionally, SVN issues an alert for when a users’ static physical location is an address matching that of a sex offender. This breakthrough technology helps keep kids safe by alerting parents of attempts by an offender in the network to electronically communicate with or lure a child.
The partnership of CCASC and the OffenderWatch network of agencies streamlines the Sex Offender Registry process, improves community awareness, and supports the efforts of the countries of the Caribbean to continuously improve public safety. To learn more about OffenderWatch and sign up for email alerts on offenders, visit www.offenderwatch.com.
There are nearly 900,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Many states have different systems for tracking these offenders, making it difficult for agencies to update records when offenders cross state lines. OffenderWatch works with law enforcement agencies to provide registry software and tools to easily communicate information to the public. Founded in 2000 in Covington, La. under the Watch Systems company, OffenderWatch provides a variety services to sheriffs’ offices, police departments, Attorney Generals’ offices, U.S. Marshal judicial districts, U.S. attorneys, federal and state probation and parole agents, department of corrections, Indian tribes, and more. In 2018, OffenderWatch partnered with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Canada to manage the Canadian National Sex Offender Registry. In 2019, OffenderWatch launched a new, groundbreaking technology, OffenderWatch Safe Virtual Neighborhood. The mobile app identifies online contact from registered sex offenders through a child’s smartphone device, instantly alerting parents to the communication. Learn more at OffenderWatch.com.
ABOUT CARIBBEAN COMMITTEE AGAINST SEX CRIMES & ZANDOLI USA
The Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes is an Initiative of Zandoli USA. It has advocated regionally for Sex Offender Registration and for all Caribbean governments to ensure that survivors of sex crimes are offered the support and rehabilitation that they need. The Caribbean Committee Against Sex Crimes is led by Chairman, Jonathan Bhagan and Vice-Chairperson, Gina Maharaj.