It is well documented that criminals often assume different identities to move across borders, carry out illegal activities, and escape justice. For example, there is the case of Alan Jay Horowitz, who fled the United States while on parole after spending 15 years in jail on multiple counts of child sexual abuse. Years later, having travelled extensively through Asia, he was arrested holding a stolen UK passport in India in 2007. It is painful to consider how many victims could have been protected by an earlier detection of the stolen passport.
Law enforcement has long had to contend with the fraudulent use of identity and travel documents that creates a cycle of criminal activity that is extremely detrimental to society. At best, stolen travel documents change hands to facilitate illegal migration and support organized criminal networks. At worst, stolen documents enable drug and human traffickers, child exploiters, and terrorists to carry out their terrible crimes. Travel documents can have such a large impact on violent acts that, in 2004, the 9/11 Commission Report stated that “for terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons.”