Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, March 16, 2017 at 2:00 p.m., the Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a hearing on “Combating Crimes Against Children: Assessing the Legal Landscape” to examine current laws pertaining to child exploitation and to assess ways they can be strengthened to better protect children.

Over the past few decades, a number of laws to protect children have been enacted. In 1984, Congress established the creation of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a non-profit organization to help prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation, help find missing children, and assist victims and their families. A decade later, Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, requiring states to track violent sex offenders. And in 2006, the Adam Walsh Act became law and expanded the sex offender registration to capture more crimes and created an office at the Justice Department to oversee the standards for sex offender notification and registration requirements. In the wake of evolving technologies and new ways to commit crimes, Congress has also passed a number of laws to combat child pornography.

Witnesses for the hearing are:

  • Mr. John Shehan, Vice President, Exploited Children Division, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
  • Ms. Francey Hakes, former Assistant United States Attorney and former National Coordinator for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction
  • Detective Patrick Beaver, Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office; member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
  • Ms. Nicole Pittman, Vice President and Director of the Center on Youth Registration Reform, Impact Justice

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) issued the statements below in advance of this hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Children are among the most vulnerable and innocent victims of crime and merit the greatest protection the law allows. In the past years, remarkable progress has been made in preventing crimes against children, as well as investigating and prosecuting these offenses. But we still have much work to do. This week, the Crime Subcommittee will examine the laws designed to protect children and explore options to improve them.”

Subcommittee Chairman Gowdy: “Congress has a fundamental responsibility to enforce the rule of law and protect human dignity with a fair justice system. Child victims endure severe trauma mentally, physically and emotionally. We must do everything we can to aid the victims with their recovery process and prevent future crimes against children. I look forward to hearing from our witnesses this week to further examine how to combat child exploitation and best protect children.”

This hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov.  Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.