Last week, the United States Representative Debbie Wasserman SchultzD-Fla., introduced the Providing Resources, Agents, and Technology to End Cyber Threats to Our Children (PROTECT Our Children) Act.
The bill reauthorizes the National Crimes Against Children on the Internet (ICAC) Task Force Program and National ICAC Data System until 2024.
“This legislation supports the national network of 61 Coordinated Task Forces fighting child exploitation across the country. By reauthorizing the National Strategy for the Prevention and Interdiction of Child Exploitation, it is a powerful law enforcement tool that keeps online predators away from children,” Wasserman’s office noted. Schultz. “The original PROTECT Our Children Act that passed in 2008 authorized the ICAC Task Force Program, a coordinated group of task forces representing 3,500 federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and prosecutors engaged in reactive and proactive investigations across the country. ICAC task forces help local and state law enforcement create and implement effective responses to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation by offering guidance on victim support, forensic and investigative elements, training and technical assistance, and community education.
“Our children deserve a bright and secure future, and the ICAC helps us secure that possibility. In just 14 years, ICAC arrests have increased from 2,500 a year nationwide to more than 10,400 in 2021 alone. I am proud to introduce legislation that reaffirms our commitment to America’s children and s builds on the original PROTECT law that I wrote over a decade ago,” Wasserman Schultz said. “In light of a rapidly changing technological environment, we must continue to make the internet a safe space for all children and protect ourselves against those who seek to exploit them. I am grateful for the efforts of my colleagues and for the bipartisan spirit that will allow this vital bill to be introduced. »
WE Representative Steve ChabotR-Ohio, Ann KusterD-NH and Guy ReschenthalerR-Penn., co-sponsored the bill.
“Our top priority must be the safety of our children. Unfortunately, as more and more of our daily lives take place online, it can be difficult to monitor their activities and protect them from those who prey on innocent children. The reauthorization of the Protecting Our Children Act ensures that law enforcement officers have the tools and resources they need to fight child predators,” Chabot said.
“Working to keep children safe online and prevent child sexual exploitation must be our top priority,” said Kuster, who founded and currently co-chairs the bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “Especially as children spend more time online, we need to ensure law enforcement has the tools and resources to protect children, help victims, and hold the perpetrators of these horrific crimes accountable. This bipartisan legislation is crucial to keeping the children of Granite State safe.
“I witnessed the horrific impact of child sexual abuse as a district judge,” Reschenthaler said. “The ICAC Task Force program helps federal, state, and local law enforcement stop those who prey on our country’s children. I’m proud to help the ICAC continue its important work identification and prosecution of dangerous criminals.
The invoice was sent to the United States House Judiciary Committee.
To the United States Senate, United States Meaning Richard BlumenthalD-Ct., and John CornyR-Texas, defend the bill.
“This measure is essential to give law enforcement the tools necessary to combat the scourge of online child exploitation. Reauthorizing the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force program will help law enforcement detect, investigate and prosecute predators who commit these heinous crimes. We must continue to protect victims and hold criminals accountable,” Blumenthal said.
“By providing law enforcement with more support and tools to fight cybercrime, we can build more barriers between predators and the victims they target,” Cornyn said. “I urge my colleagues to reauthorize this legislation, which will support the victims of these heinous crimes and prevent future abuses.”
The National Network on Rape, Abuse and Incest (RAINN), the National Center for Missing and Exploited Childrenthe Fraternal Order of Police, Rights 4 Daughtersthe National Center on Sexual Exploitationand the National Association of District Attorneys all support the proposal.