CRAMER: House Bills Strengthen Laws Fighting Child Abuse and Exploitation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Kevin Cramer supported several bipartisan bills combatting child abuse and exploitation passed by the House of Representatives this week. This legislation provides additional resources to protect children from harm and bring perpetrators to justice.
“Children are the most vulnerable and innocent among us and deserve the highest protection of the law,“ said Cramer. “In the past years we have made remarkable progress in preventing, investigating and prosecuting crimes against children. These bills give us more tools to fight child abuse and exploitation.“
The legislation passed this week includes:
H.R. 1973, the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse Ace of 2017, extends the mandatory reporting requirements of child abuse to national governing bodies, like USA Gymnastics, to ensure that reports are immediately made to local or federal law enforcement authorities. The bill also allows civil suits by minors against sex abuse perpetrators to be brought by clarifying that once a victim has established a harm occurred, the court will presume $150,000 in monetary damages. The bill also extends the civil statute of limitations for these cases.
H.R. 1761, the Protecting Against Child Exploitation Act of 2017, protects child pornography victims by remedying a federal court ruling in United States v. Palomino-Coronado. This decision allowed a defendant to walk free from production of child pornography charges, despite photographic evidence he had engaged in sexual abuse of a seven-year-old child, because the court found that he lacked the specific intent to produce child pornography prior to abusing the child. This legislation adds additional bases of liability to the crime of child pornography production to prevent this heinous crime and bring criminals to justice.
H.R. 1862, the Global Child Protection Act of 2017, expands the coverage of current laws relating to unlawful sexual conduct with minors during foreign travel. Specifically, the bill amends Title 18 of the United States Code, to expand the definition of illicit sexual conduct to cover “sexual contact,” in addition to expanding the definition of a federal sexual offense against a minor to include this sexual contact.
H.R. 1842, the Strengthening Children's Safety Act of 2017, amends Title 18, of the United States Code, to include State crimes of violence as grounds for an enhanced penalty when sex offenders fail to register or report certain information.
H.R. 1188, the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act of 2017, reauthorizes the two primary programs established by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, and modifies the act to encourage state and tribal compliance.
H.R. 883, the Targeting Child Predators Act of 2017, protects valuable information used to prosecute and convict child predators by requiring Internet Service Providers to wait 180 days before notifying customers in child predator cases that law enforcement officials requested information attached to a specific IP address.
H.R. 695, the Child Protection Improvements Act of 2017, directs the Department of Justice to establish a program to allow organizations that provide services to youth, the elderly, and the disabled to obtain information from criminal background checks in the Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint database.
H.R. 1625, the TARGET Act, amends the State Department Basic Authorities Act of 1956 to authorize the State Department and law enforcement agencies to target international human traffickers by offering financial rewards for their arrest or conviction.
H.R. 1809, the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017, reauthorizes the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act to better support states and local entities as they explore and implement ways to serve at-risk youth and juvenile offenders.
H.R. 1808, the Improving Support for Missing and Exploited Children Act of 2017, updates the Missing Children’s Assistance Act to align with best practices currently utilized at the state and local levels to recover missing and exploited children.
H.R. 1370, the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign Authorization Act of 2017, amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to require the Secretary of Homeland Security to issue Department-wide guidance and develop training programs as part of the Department of Homeland Security Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking.