This week I’m about to highlight people search websites of a different (and maybe disturbing) nature – I’m going to list some official and unofficial, publicly accessible registers of sex offenders.
Nearly every country has a database of people who were convicted of crimes of sexual nature.
However, most countries do not make such databases public. Sex offenders registers are usually accessible only to law enforcement agencies or government departments responsible for vetting various applicants or conducting general background checks.
But luckily – I guess for the general public who have a right to know – some countries maintain publicly available registers of known sexual predators, therefore making it possible for everybody to check who these individuals are and where they are residing.
The general idea of a sex offenders register, for those unfamiliar with this concept, is an officially maintained a regularly updated dataset containing details of persons convicted of a sexual offence, obligatorily registered with a law enforcement agency or another applicable authority.
Depending on the nature and the severity of the crime, a person’s information will remain on the register for a specified period of time – from a couple of years to decades, or even infinitely.
These public sex offenders registers can be a great source of OSINT – not only for non-government investigators in the country where the register is made avaliable, but everywhere else – after all, sex offenders often travel abroad and sometimes even law enforcement agencies are unaware of the backgrounds of such visitors, or there is a delay in the flow of information (speaking from past experience here).
So let’s take a look at some publicly accessible sex offenders registers from all around the world.
The US has probably the most comprehensive list of sex offenders registers in the form of The National Sex Offender Public Website – and actually, this is not just one list. The NSOPW is a collection of records of sex offender registries from all 50 states, The District of Columbia, U.S. Territories and Indian tribes.
Searching the NSOPW by name or location is equivalent to searching across all of the locally maintained databases, which can be browsed individually by pivoting from the FBI’s website.
The South Korean sex offender registry website – called simply Sex Offender – does not appear to have an English version (or any other language version for that matter, other than Korean).
However, even when used through Google Translate, it seems to offer some pretty detailed search options – including school radius or details and district where the court proceedings took place. The site also seems to offer an option of a mobile app based notification system.
Canada does not have a country-wide publicly accessible sex offenders register – but it seems that a small number of individual provinces (like for example Manitoba) allow public access to information regarding local sex offenders (after ticking the boxes to state that the user is a Manitoba resident and that they won’t engage in “any form of harassment or other unreasonable conduct directed toward any offender identified in this website”).
Since reporting on outcomes of court cases involving sex offenders appears to be allowed without restrictions, open source information initiatives like Stop Pedophiles gather and publish details of convicted offenders on their websites (not always frequently updated though).
Similar to Canada, the UK does not allow public access to sex offenders registers.
However, details obtained from sources that were already publicly available can be re-published – see the IBB Claims website for details of numerous offenders, in some cases including links to news outlets that published a story on the crime or the court proceedings.
The Nigeria Sexual Offender & Service Provider Registers is a website maintained by the government agency NAPTIP. Users can search by name or by location. The advanced search option appears to require an account creation.
Interestingly, the website states that the database contents are not limited to only those convicted of sex crimes, but also “alleged reported and arraigned sexual offenders”.
In the GDPR-dominated landscape of the European Union, Poland appears to have an exceptionally detailed public sex offenders register available in English and Polish (Rejestr Sprawców Przestępstw na Tle Seksualnym) that includes dates of birth and photographs of the offenders.
However, current addresses are not available to the wider public – only the town, city or region where the offender is currently residing.
The Republic of Maldives looks to be the most forward-thinking jurisdiction amongst small oceanic countries worldwide when it comes to maintaining a public sex offenders register.
The official website – Child Sex Offender Registry – (albeit with an invalid security certificate at the time of writing this) contains very detailed information, including photographs in some cases, of various sexual predators.
Trinidad and Tobago
While T&T does not currently have an official sex offenders register, legislation approving such a solution was recently voted through the Senate.
This means that T&T can be added to this list whenever the website launches. Up to recently there was an unofficial, crowdsourced version of a sex crime register – but currently this website appears to be down.
NOTE: It’s very possible that I missed some other public sex offenders registers in other jurisdictions.
If you are aware of any, please let me and other readers know in the comments below.