|For Immediate Release
July 10, 2012
Contact: Charlotte Sellmyer, 202-225-3951
Statement of Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith
Full Committee Markup of
H.R. 6063, the Child Protection Act of 2012
Chairman Smith: Trafficking of child pornography images was almost completely eradicated in America by the mid-1980s. Purchasing or trading these images was risky and almost impossible to do anonymously. But the advent of the Internet reversed this accomplishment.
Today Internet child pornography may be the fastest growing crime in America, increasing an average of 150% per year.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Child Victim Identification Program has reviewed more than 51 million child pornography images and videos in the hopes of identifying the victims in them.
These images of children being sexually assaulted are crime scene photos – and each face represents a child in desperate need of help.
Every day these online criminals prey on our children with virtual anonymity. And according to recent estimates, there are as many as 100,000 sex offenders in the U.S. whose whereabouts are still unknown.
I and Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz introduced H.R. 6063, the Child Protection Act of 2012, to provide law enforcement officials with important tools and additional resources to combat the growing threat of child pornography and exploitation.
H.R. 6063 increases the maximum penalties from 10 to 20 years for child pornography offenses that involve prepubescent children or children under the age of 12. And it strengthens protections for child witnesses and victims, who are often subjected to harassment and intimidation throughout the trial process.
The bill allows a federal court to issue a protective order if it determines that a child victim or witness is being harassed or intimidated and imposes criminal penalties for violation of a protective order.
This bill ensures that paperwork does not stand in the way of protecting our kids. It gives the U.S. Marshals—the federal agency tasked by Congress under the Adam Walsh Act with apprehending fugitive sex offenders—administrative subpoena authority. We must ensure that investigators have every available resource to track down these predators and protect the weakest among us.
The Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force program is a national network of 61 coordinated task forces that represent over 3,000 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies dedicated to child exploitation investigations.
The ICAC Task Forces were launched in 1998 and officially authorized by Congress in the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008.
Since 1998, the ICAC Task Forces have reviewed more than 280,000 complaints of alleged child sexual abuse and have arrested more than 30,000 individuals. In Fiscal Year 2011, the ICAC program trained over 31,000 law enforcement personnel, over 2,800 prosecutors, and more than 11,000 other professionals that work in the ICAC field.
The Child Protection Act extends the authorization of the ICAC Task Forces for five years and increases the cap on grant funds for ICAC training programs.
The bill also makes several additional clarifications to provisions enacted as a part of the PROTECT Our Children Act and requests a report from the Justice Department on implementation of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Data System.
The bill has broad bipartisan support in Congress and is supported by a number of outside organizations, which include:
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children;
The Major City Chiefs of Police;
Futures Without Violence;
The Fraternal Order of Police;
The International Association of Chiefs of Police;
The National Alliance to End Sexual Violence;
The National District Attorneys Association;
The National White Collar Crime Center (NWC3);
The National Sheriffs’ Association;
The Surviving Parents Coalition;
The Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN); and
Florida Council Against Sexual Violence
Jewish Women International
Men Can Stop Rape
National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College
Texas Association Against Sexual Assault
California Protective Parents Association