Reps. Wasserman Schultz, Chabot, Reschenthaler, Kuster and Sens. Blumenthal and Cornyn Statement on House Passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act

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Washington, December 7, 2022 | comments
With the passage of the? PROTECT Our Children Act, we can help make the internet a safe space for all children and guard against those seeking to exploit them.
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Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) Steve Chabot (OH-01), Annie Kuster (NH-02), Guy Reschenthaler (PA-14), and Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT),  issued the following statements after their legislation, the PROTECT Our Children Act, aimed at fighting against online child predators was passed in the House of Representatives Tuesday. 

 

The Senate passed this bill by Unanimous Consent in November, and yesterday, the House continued that momentum and sent the bill to President Joe Biden. With the passing of this vital legislation, the ICAC Task Force will continue to be authorized.

 

“Our lives are increasingly intertwined with the internet, and those who would commit crimes against our children know that all too well. With the passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act, we can help make the internet a safe space for all children and guard against those seeking to exploit them,” said Rep. Wasserman Schultz. “I’m proud to have introduced this bipartisan legislation to build on the advances we have made so far since the original PROTECT Act that I authored over a decade ago. We all have a role to play in keeping our children safe.”

 

“The PROTECT Our Children Act supports law enforcement by helping identify online child exploitation and investigate abusers and predators. Reauthorizing the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program is critical to this important mission,” said Sen. Blumenthal.


“Law enforcement officers need access to every available tool to prevent the perpetrators of online child exploitation from committing future abuse,” said Sen. Cornyn. “By providing the necessary resources to counter the pervasive threat of cyber-crimes, this bill would help law enforcement respond to the alarming number of children who are targeted, and I urge the President to sign this legislation into law as soon as possible.”

 

“As our kids spend more time online, ensuring their safety is of the utmost importance,” said Rep. Chabot. “With the reauthorization of the PROTECT our Children Act, we are providing our law enforcement officers with the necessary tools and resources to combat child exploitation. I would like to thank Rep. Wasserman Schultz for her continued leadership on this critical issue.”

 

“Working to keep children safe online and preventing child sexual exploitation is crucial, especially as kids are spending more time on screens than ever before,” said Rep. Kuster, founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “The PROTECT Our Children Act is common-sense, bipartisan legislation to help ensure law enforcement agencies have the resources necessary to protect children, support victims of these heinous crimes, and hold perpetrators accountable. I look forward to the president signing this legislation into law to keep children in the Granite State and across our country safe.” 

 

“With the rapid expansion of digital technology, the prevalence of child exploitation and trafficking has also tragically increased. We must do everything possible to crack down on these criminals and protect our children,” said Rep. Reschenthaler. “This bill will help to bring an end to these heinous acts. I stand committed to ensuring the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program and National ICAC Data System have the resources needed to continue their efforts to catch and prosecute dangerous predators.” 

 

"Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, over half of those accessing the Online National Sexual Assault Hotline are children," said Samantha Cadet, director of federal affairs for RAINN. "The need to address online child sexual exploitation and abuse is more imperative now than ever. We are happy to see this bill pass and look forward to Congress further addressing this important issue in the new year."

 

Raven wants to thank the leadership of Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz and Congressman Chabot for their sponsorship of the Protect Our Children Act. This legislation gives the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces the ability to rescue and safeguard our children,” said John Pizzuro, CEO of RAVEN.

 

This legislation funds the National Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Data System until 2024, and supports the national network of 61 coordinated task forces that combat child exploitation across the country. By reauthorizing the National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, it is a powerful law enforcement tool that keeps online predators away from children.

 

The original PROTECT Our Children Act that was passed in 2008 authorized the ICAC Task Force Program, a coordinated group of task forces representing 3,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies engaged in reactive and proactive investigations across the country. The ICAC task forces aid local and state law enforcement in the creation and implementation of effective responses to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation by offering guidance on victim support, forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, and community education. 

 

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