Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3845) to establish a Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, to improve the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to increase resources for regional computer forensic labs, and to make other improvements to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute child predators, as amended.
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The text of the bill is as follows:
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.
(a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Providing Resources, Officers, and Technology to Eradicate Cyber Threats to Our Children Act of 2007'' or the ``PROTECT Our Children Act of 2007''.
(b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
Sec..1..Short title; table of contents.
TITLE I--SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION PREVENTION AND INTERDICTION
Sec..101..Establishment of special counsel for child exploitation prevention and interdiction.
Sec..102..Establishment of National ICAC Task Force Program.
Sec..103..Purpose of ICAC task forces.
Sec..104..Duties and functions of task forces.
Sec..105..National ICAC Data Network Center.
Sec..106..ICAC grant program.
Sec..107..Authorization of appropriations.
TITLE II--ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO COMBAT CHILD EXPLOITATION
Sec..201..Additional regional computer forensic labs.
Sec..202..Additional field agents for the FBI.
Sec..203..Immigrations and customs enforcement enhancement.
Sec..204..Combating trafficking via the United States Postal Service.
Sec..205..Accountability provisions for child exploitation prevention and interdiction.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
Congress finds the following:
(1) The Internet has facilitated the growth of a multi-billion dollar global market for images and video of children being sexually-displayed, raped, and tortured, far exceeding the capacity of law enforcement to respond at the Federal, State, and local level.
(2) The explosion of child pornography trafficking is claiming very young victims. Research by the Department of Justice, the University of New Hampshire, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicates that among those arrested for possession of child pornography, 83 percent have images of children 6-12 years old, 39 percent have images of children 3-5 years old, and 19 percent have images of children under the age of 3 years old. [Page: H13583]
(3) The images and videos being trafficked typically depict sexual assaults that are both graphic and brutal. The research described in paragraph (2) also indicates that 80 percent of known child pornography possessors have images of children being sexually penetrated and 21 percent have images depicting children bound, gagged, blindfolded, or ``otherwise enduring sadistic sex.'' Just one percent of such possessors restricted their collecting to images of simple child nudity.
(4) Millions of children and teens in the United States are at risk from sexual predators who are hunting, stalking, and luring minors online. Along with the incredible access to the world offered our children by the Internet, the Internet also offers the world access to our children.
(5) The Internet Crimes Against Children task forces at the Department of Justice have identified millions of child pornography transactions involving images and video of child sexual assault from millions of computer IP addresses worldwide.
(6) The ICAC Program has been highly successful in creating and sustaining an emerging national network of 59 Federal, State, and local task forces in all 50 States, which form the backbone of national readiness to combat child exploitation.
(7) In testimony before Congress, law enforcement experts have expressed consensus that lack of law enforcement resources, including dedicated forensic analysis capacity, is a severe problem at the Federal, State, and local level, severely limiting the number of predators that can be interdicted and children that can be identified and rescued.
(8) The Federal Bureau of Investigation, United States Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Postal Inspection Service have each developed highly specialized and successful child exploitation investigative capabilities, yet these agencies have testified to Congress that they must triage the overwhelming number of child exploitation crimes and cannot investigate a large percentage of known crimes.
(9) Child pornography and online child enticement crimes have among the highest conviction rates of any child sexual offense, and the research funded by the Department of Justice indicates that the majority of child pornography offenders have committed or attempted direct sexual contact offenses against children. Investigating and prosecuting these predators is one of the most concrete and measurable strategies for the prevention of future child sexual abuse.
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act, the following definitions shall apply:
(1) CHILD EXPLOITATION.--
(A) IN GENERAL.--Except as provided in subparagraph (B), the term ``child exploitation'' means any conduct, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit such conduct, constituting criminal sexual abuse of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor, abusive sexual contact of a minor, sexually explicit conduct with a minor, or any similar offense under Federal or State law.
(B) STATUTORY RAPE EXCEPTION.--The term ``child exploitation'' shall not include sexual conduct involving a minor if--
(i) the minor involved in such conduct has attained 16 years of age or older;
(ii) no other individual involved in such conduct is more than 4 years older than such minor; and
(iii) such conduct was consensual.
(2) MINOR.--The term ``minor'' means any person under the age of 18 years.
(3) SEXUALLY EXPLICIT CONDUCT.--The term ``sexually explicit conduct'' has the meaning given such term in section 2256 of title 18, United States Code.
TITLE I--SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION PREVENTION AND INTERDICTION
SEC. 101. ESTABLISHMENT OF SPECIAL COUNSEL FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION PREVENTION AND INTERDICTION.
(a) In General.--The Attorney General shall appoint a Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General.
(b) Duties of the Special Counsel.--The Special Counsel appointed under subsection (a) shall have the following duties:
(1) Coordinating the policies and strategies of the Department of Justice related to the prevention and investigation of child exploitation cases, including the policies and strategies of the Office of Justice Programs, the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, the Executive Office of United States Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and any other agency or bureau of the Department of Justice whose activities relate to child exploitation cases.
(2) Pursuing memorandums of understanding or other interagency agreements related to the prevention, investigation, and apprehension of individuals exploiting children, including seeking cooperation and collaboration with--
(A) United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement;
(B) the Department of State;
(C) the Department of Commerce;
(D) the Department of Education; and
(E) other Federal agencies.
(3) Coordinating and overseeing the ICAC Task Force Program established under section 102.
(4) Coordinating and overseeing the National Internet Crimes Against Children Data Network Center established under section 105.
(5) Reviewing and approving the grants awarded by the ICAC grant program as administered by the Office of Justice Programs, including developing and approving the funding formula established under section 106, after consultation with the Office of Justice Programs.
(6) Developing, providing, and coordinating technical assistance and training for Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies related to the prevention, investigation, and prosecution of child exploitation crimes.
(7) Developing, providing, and coordinating training and technical assistance to Federal, State, local, and tribal law enforcement related to forensic computer examination and analysis.
(8) Developing and overseeing research programs related to child exploitation prevention.
(9) Directing and overseeing programs for child exploitation prevention and education, including programs related to Internet safety.
(10) Maintaining liaison with the judicial branches of the Federal and State Governments on matters relating to child exploitation.
(11) Providing information to the President, Congress, the judiciary, State, local, and tribal governments, and the general public on matters relating to child exploitation.
(12) Serving, at the request of the Attorney General, as the representative of the Department of Justice on domestic task forces, committees, or commissions addressing policies or issues relating to child exploitation.
(13) Providing technical assistance, coordination, training, and support to--
(A) other components of the Department of Justice, in efforts to develop policy and to enforce Federal laws relating to child exploitation cases, including the litigation of civil and criminal actions relating to enforcing such laws;
(B) other Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies, in efforts to develop policy, provide technical assistance, and improve coordination among agencies carrying out efforts to eliminate child exploitation; and
(C) grantees, in efforts to combat child exploitation and to provide support and assistance to victims of such exploitation.
(c) Staff.--The Special Counsel appointed under subsection (a) may hire or appoint such staff as may be required to carry out the duties described in this section.
SEC. 102. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL ICAC TASK FORCE PROGRAM.
(a) Establishment.--There is established within the Department of Justice, under the general authority of the Attorney General, a National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (hereinafter in this title referred to as the ``ICAC Task Force''), which shall consist of a national program of State and local law enforcement task forces dedicated to developing effective responses to online enticement of children by sexual predators, child exploitation, and child obscenity and pornography
(b) National Program.--The National ICAC Task Force Program established under subsection (a) shall include at least one ICAC task force in each State.
SEC. 103. PURPOSE OF ICAC TASK FORCES.
The National ICAC Task Force Program, and each State or local ICAC task force that is part of the national program of task forces, shall be dedicated towards--
(1) increasing the investigative capabilities of State and local law enforcement officers in the detection, investigation, and apprehension of Internet crimes against children offenses or offenders, including technology-facilitated child exploitation offenses;
(2) conducting proactive and reactive Internet crimes against children investigations;
(3) providing training and technical assistance to ICAC task forces and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies in the areas of investigations, forensics, prosecution, community outreach, and capacity-building, using recognized experts to assist in the development and delivery of training programs;
(4) increasing the number of Internet crimes against children offenses being investigated and prosecuted in both Federal and State courts;
(5) creating a multiagency task force response to Internet crimes against children offenses within each State;
(6) enhancing nationwide responses to Internet crimes against children offenses, including assisting other ICAC task forces, as well as other Federal, State, and local agencies with Internet crimes against children investigations and prosecutions;
(7) developing and delivering Internet crimes against children public awareness and prevention programs; and
(8) participating in such other activities, both proactive and reactive, that will enhance investigations and prosecutions of Internet crimes against children.
SEC. 104. DUTIES AND FUNCTIONS OF TASK FORCES.
Each State or local ICAC task force that is part of the national program of task forces shall--
(1) consist of State and local investigators, prosecutors, forensic specialists, and education specialists who are dedicated to addressing the goals of such task force;
(2) work consistently towards achieving the purposes described in section 103;
(3) engage in proactive investigations, forensic examinations, and effective prosecutions of Internet crimes against children; [Page: H13584]
(4) provide forensic, preventive, and investigative assistance to parents, educators, prosecutors, law enforcement, and others concerned with Internet crimes against children;
(5) develop multijurisdictional, multiagency responses and partnerships to Internet crimes against children offenses through ongoing informational, administrative, and technological support to other State and local law enforcement agencies, as a means for such agencies to acquire the necessary knowledge, personnel, and specialized equipment to investigate and prosecute such offenses;
(6) participate in nationally coordinated investigations in any case in which the Attorney General determines such participation to be necessary, as permitted by the available resources of such task force;
(7) establish or adopt investigative and prosecution standards, consistent with established norms, to which such task force shall comply;
(8) investigate, and seek prosecution on, tips related to Internet crimes against children, including tips from other law enforcement agencies, ICAC task forces, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and other Federal, State, and local agencies;
(9) develop procedures for handling seized evidence;
(10) maintain such reports and records as are required under this title; and
(11) seek to comply with national standards regarding the investigation and prosecution of Internet crimes against children, as set forth by the Attorney General, to the extent such standards are consistent with the law of the State where the task force is located.
SEC. 105. NATIONAL ICAC DATA NETWORK CENTER.
(a) In General.--The Attorney General shall establish a National Internet Crimes Against Children Data Network Center.
(b) Purpose of Center.--The National Internet Crimes Against Children Data Network Center established under subsection (a) shall be dedicated to assisting--
(1) the National ICAC Task Force Program established under this title; and
(2) Federal, State, local, and tribal agencies investigating and prosecuting child exploitation.
(c) Mandatory Requirements for Center.--The National Internet Crimes Against Children Data Network Center established under subsection (a) shall develop and maintain an integrated technology and training program that provides--
(1) a secure system enabling online communication and collaboration by ICAC task forces, Federal law enforcement agencies, and other State and local law enforcement agencies regarding ongoing investigations;
(2) a secure, online system for resolving case conflicts, for use by ICAC task forces, Federal law enforcement agencies, and other State and local law enforcement agencies;
(3) a secure data storage and analysis system for use by ICAC task forces, Federal law enforcement agencies, and other State and local law enforcement agencies;
(4) guidelines for the use of such Data Network by Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies; and
(5) training and technical assistance on the use of such Data Network by Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
(d) ICAC Data Network Steering Committee.--The Attorney General shall establish an ICAC Data Network Center Steering Committee to provide guidance to the Center relating to the program under subsection (c), and to assist in the development of strategic plans for the Center. The Steering Committee shall consist of 9 members with expertise in child exploitation prevention and interdiction prosecution, investigation, or prevention, including--
(1) 3 representatives elected by the local directors of the ICAC task forces;
(2) 1 representative from the law enforcement agency having primary responsibility for hosting and maintaining the ICAC Data Network;
(3) 1 representative of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Innocent Images National Initiative or Regional Computer Forensic Lab program;
(4) 1 representative of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Cyber Crimes Center;
(5) 1 representative of the United States Postal Inspection Service;
(6) 1 representative of the Department of Justice's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section or a United States Attorney's Office; and
(7) 1 representative appointed by the Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction.
(e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be appropriated for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2016, $2,000,000 to carry out the provisions of this section, including for--
(1) the establishment of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Data Network Center; and
(2) the costs of operating and maintaining such Center.
SEC. 106. ICAC GRANT PROGRAM.
(1) IN GENERAL.--The Office of Justice Programs, in consultation with the Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, is authorized to award grants to State and local ICAC task forces to assist in carrying out the duties and functions described under section 104.
(2) FORMULA GRANTS.--
(A) DEVELOPMENT OF FORMULA.--At least 75 percent of the total funds appropriated to carry out this section shall be available to award or otherwise distribute grants pursuant to a funding formula established by the Office of Justice Programs, in consultation with the Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, in accordance with the requirements in subparagraph (B).
(B) FORMULA REQUIREMENTS.--Any formula established by the Office of Justice Programs, in consultation with the Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction, under subparagraph (A) shall--
(i) ensure that each State or local ICAC task force shall, at a minimum, receive an amount equal to 0.5 percent of the funds available to award or otherwise distribute grants under subparagraph (A); and
(ii) take into consideration the following factors:
(I) The population of each State, as determined by the most recent decennial census performed by the Bureau of the Census.
(II) The number of investigative leads within the applicant's jurisdiction generated by the ICAC Data Network, the Cyber Tipline, and other sources.
(III) The number of criminal cases related to Internet crimes against children referred to a task force for Federal, State, or local prosecution.
(IV) The number of successful prosecutions of child exploitation cases by a task force.
(V) The amount of training, technical assistance, and public education or outreach by a task force related to the prevention, investigation, or prosecution of child exploitation offenses.
(VI) Such other criteria as the Attorney General determines demonstrate the level of need for additional resources by a task force.
(3) DISTRIBUTION OF REMAINING FUNDS BASED ON NEED.--
(A) IN GENERAL.--Any funds remaining from the total funds appropriated to carry out this section after funds have been made available to award or otherwise distribute formula grants under paragraph (2)(A) shall be distributed to State and local ICAC task forces based upon need, as set forth by criteria established by the Office of Justice Programs, in consultation with the Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction. Such criteria shall include the factors under
(B) MATCHING REQUIREMENT.--A State or local ICAC task force shall contribute matching non-Federal funds in an amount equal to not less than 25 percent of the amount of funds received by the State or local ICAC task force under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph. A State or local ICAC task force that is not able or willing to contribute matching funds in accordance with this subparagraph shall not be eligible for funds under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph.
(1) IN GENERAL.--Each State or local ICAC task force seeking a grant under this section shall submit an application to the Attorney General at such time, in such manner, and accompanied by such information as the Attorney General may reasonably require.
(2) CONTENTS.--Each application submitted pursuant to paragraph (1) shall--
(A) describe the activities for which assistance under this section is sought; and
(B) provide such additional assurances as the Attorney General determines to be essential to ensure compliance with the requirements of this title.
(c) Allowable Uses.--Grants awarded under this section may be used to--
(1) hire personnel, investigators, prosecutors, education specialists, and forensic specialists;
(2) establish and support forensic laboratories utilized in Internet crimes against children investigations;
(3) support investigations and prosecutions of Internet crimes against children;
(4) conduct and assist with education programs to help children and parents protect themselves from Internet predators;
(5) conduct and attend training sessions related to successful investigations and prosecutions of Internet crimes against children; and
(6) fund any other activities directly related to preventing, investigating, or prosecuting Internet crimes against children.
(d) Reporting Requirements.--
(1) ICAC REPORTS.--To measure the results of the activities funded by grants under this section, and to assist the Attorney General in complying with the Government Performance and Results Act (Public Law 103-62; 107 Stat. 285), each State or local ICAC task force receiving a grant under this section shall, on an annual basis, submit a report to the Attorney General that sets forth the following:
(A) Staffing levels of the task force, including the number of investigators, prosecutors, education specialists, and forensic specialists dedicated to investigating and prosecuting Internet crimes against children.
(B) Investigation and prosecution performance measures of the task force, including--
(i) the number of investigations initiated related to Internet crimes against children;
(ii) the number of arrests related to Internet crimes against children; [Page: H13585]
(iii) the number of prosecutions for Internet crimes against children, including--
(I) whether the prosecution resulted in a conviction for such crime; and
(II) the sentence and the statutory maximum for such crime under State law.
(C) The number of referrals made by the task force to the United States Attorneys office, including whether the referral was accepted by the United States Attorney.
(D) Statistics that account for the disposition of investigations that do not result in arrests or prosecutions, such as referrals to other law enforcement.
(E) The number of investigative technical assistance sessions that the task force provided to nonmember law enforcement agencies.
(F) The number of computer forensic examinations that the task force completed.
(G) The number of law enforcement agencies participating in Internet crimes against children program standards established by the task force.
(2) REPORT TO CONGRESS.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Attorney General shall submit a report to Congress on--
(A) the progress of the development of the ICAC Task Forces established under this title; and
(B) the number of Federal and State investigations, prosecutions, and convictions in the prior 12-month period related to child exploitation.
SEC. 107. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.
(a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title--
(1) $60,000,000 for fiscal year 2009;
(2) $75,000,000 for fiscal year 2010;
(3) $75,000,000 for fiscal year 2011;
(4) $75,000,000 for fiscal year 2012;
(5) $75,000,000 for fiscal year 2013;
(6) $75,000,000 for fiscal year 2014;
(7) $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2015; and
(8) $100,000,000 for fiscal year 2016.
(b) Availability.--Funds appropriated under subsection (a) shall remain available until expended.
TITLE II--ADDITIONAL MEASURES TO COMBAT CHILD EXPLOITATION
SEC. 201. ADDITIONAL REGIONAL COMPUTER FORENSIC LABS.
(a) Additional Resources.--The Attorney General shall establish additional computer forensic capacity to address the current backlog for computer forensics, including for child exploitation investigations. The Attorney General may utilize funds under this title to establish new regional computer forensic laboratories within the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratories Program operated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or may increase capacity at existing laboratories.
(b) New Computer Forensic Labs.--If the Attorney General determines that new regional computer forensic laboratories are needed under subsection (a) to address existing backlogs, such new laboratories shall be established pursuant to subsection (d).
(c) Purpose of New Resources.--The additional forensic capacity established by the resources provided under this section shall prioritize its activities to assist Federal agencies, State and local Internet Crimes Against Children task forces, and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies in preventing, investigating, and prosecuting Internet crimes against children.
(d) Location of New Labs.--The location of any new regional computer forensic laboratories under this section shall be determined by the Attorney General, in consultation with the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory National Steering Committee, and other relevant stakeholders.
(e) Report.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, and every year thereafter, the Attorney General shall submit a report to the Congress on how the funds appropriated under this section were utilized.
(f) Authorization of Appropriations.--There are authorized to be appropriated for fiscal years 2009 through 2016, $7,000,000 to carry out the provisions of this section.
SEC. 202. ADDITIONAL FIELD AGENTS FOR THE FBI.
(a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the Attorney General $30,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2016 to fund the hiring of full-time Federal Bureau of Investigation field agents and associated analysts and support staff in addition to the number of such employees serving in those capacities on the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Sole Purpose.--The sole purpose of the additional staff required to be hired under subsection (a) is to work on child exploitation cases as part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Innocent Images National Initiative.
SEC. 203. IMMIGRATIONS AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT ENHANCEMENT.
(a) Additional Agents.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary of Homeland Security $15,000,000, for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2016, to fund the hiring of full-time agents and associated analysts and support staff within the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in addition to the number of such employees serving in those capacities on the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Sole Purpose.--The sole purpose of the additional staff required to be hired under subsection (a) is to work on child exploitation and child obscenity cases.
SEC. 204. COMBATING TRAFFICKING VIA THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE.
(a) In General.--There are authorized to be appropriated to the Postmaster General $5,000,000, for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2016, to fund the hiring of full-time agents and associated analysts and support staff in addition to the number of such employees serving in those capacities on the date of enactment of this Act.
(b) Sole Purpose.--The sole purpose of the additional staff required to be hired under subsection (a) is to work on child exploitation and child obscenity cases.
SEC. 205. ACCOUNTABILITY PROVISIONS FOR CHILD EXPLOITATION PREVENTION AND INTERDICTION.
The Attorney General, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Postmaster General, shall report to the Committees on the Judiciary of the Senate and House of Representatives and any other relevant committee of jurisdiction, on an annual basis, on the resources (agents, forensic labs, prosecutors, etc.) being utilized by such agencies to investigate and prosecute child exploitation and child obscenity cases, including the resources established under this title, the Adam
Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248; 120 Stat. 587), and any other law related to combating child exploitation and child obscenity.
Mr. FALEOMAVAEGA. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, just last week we learned that police arrested a senior executive at the National Children's Museum right here in Washington, DC, for distributing child pornography over the Internet. This headline floored me, but it is a good example of a problem that has gotten completely out of control.
The Internet has facilitated an exploding multibillion dollar market for child pornography. Tragically, the demand for this criminal market can only be supplied by graphic new images, and these can only be supplied through the sexual assault of more children. I rise today to urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3845, the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2007.
This bill addresses an issue that is central to the goals of Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the New Direction Congress, and one that should be at the top of everyone's agenda, the protection of our children. Our children deserve a future that is healthy, prosperous, safe, and bright, but our children are vulnerable when they are on line. If this bill becomes law, we have the potential to save many thousands of children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
I want to start by thanking my friend and colleague, Joe Barton of Texas, for working with me on this bipartisan legislation, and for his counsel, his very good counsel, as the lead Republican sponsor of the bill.
In the last Congress, Congressman Barton, then the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, conducted a series of hearings on this topic. Not only did those hearings expose the dearth of Federal resources devoted to investigating and prosecuting child exploitation crimes, but they also brought together an extraordinary group of parents who formed an organization called the Surviving Parents Coalition. In June of this year, I had the opportunity to visit with this very special group
When I sat down with Mark Lunsford, Erin Runnion, Ed Smart, Marc Klaas, Mary Kozakiewicz, and other founders of the Surviving Parents Coalition, I was not prepared for what they had to tell me. They shared with me their own horrific stories of how their children were abducted by sexual predators. As we all know, some of these children will never come home. As the mother of three young children myself, their stories broke my heart, and as a Member of Congress I felt compelled to act.
What surprised me most about these brave parents was their message about child pornography and child exploitation. What they said was this: If you [Page: H13586]
want to prevent predators from hurting other children like ours, the way to do that is to go back through the Internet and get them.
As we learned last month with the apprehension of a child predator in Las Vegas, Nevada, for the first time we have the technology and the evidence not only to find these predators, we have the technology to rescue their victims as well. A 2005 Justice Department study found that 80 percent of child pornography possessors have images and videos of children being sexually penetrated. Another 21 percent possess images of bondage, sadistic abuse, and torture. The children depicted in these photos
are very young. Eighty-three percent of child pornography possessors have images of children younger than 12, and another 19 percent possess images of infants and toddlers. There are even Web sites that provide live pay-per-view rape of very young children.
Let me be clear. This is not about obscenity or pornography; these images are crime scene photos, created by a thriving industry that uses children as a sexual commodity.
I want to thank Chairman John Conyers for holding a hearing on Internet predators in October. At that hearing, Special Agent Flint Waters of the Wyoming State Police, a highly respected child exploitation investigator, testified that right now there are nearly 500,000 identified individuals in the United States trafficking child pornography on the Internet. That's half a million people right here in the United States. And law enforcement knows who they are, and they know where they are.
But what shocked me the most and what compelled me to get involved in this issue is that, due to a lack of resources, law enforcement is investigating less than 2 percent of these known 500,000 individuals. Less than 2 percent.
What was even more shocking is that it is estimated that if we were to investigate these cases, we could actually rescue child victims nearly 30 percent of the time.
It is clear that our current efforts are not working. We need a national campaign with everyone joining the fight: that means the full weight of law enforcement, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Congress, the executive branch, parents and victims advocacy groups and Internet service providers.
Alicia Kozakiewicz, whose testimony at the October Judiciary hearing moved us all, is a living, breathing reminder of the lives that we can save. Alicia is not just a victim; she is a survivor.
Alicia told us how over a period of months she was groomed by a 45-year-old predator pretending to be a teenage girl. When Alicia, who was 13 years old at the time, agreed to meet her cyberfriend in real life, he kidnapped her from her suburban Pittsburgh driveway and held her captive in his Virginia dungeon, where he performed unspeakable sexual acts upon her day after day and broadcast it over the Internet. Just when Alicia told us she had given up all hope, she was finally rescued by FBI agents.
The FBI found her because the Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children task force, or ICAC, had the technology to lift the digital fingerprints of this perpetrator's crime and to discover the location where he held her captive, chained to the floor.
The PROTECT Our Children Act will help provide the safety net we so desperately need by creating statutory authority for these highly successful ICAC task forces which support State and local law enforcement agencies. It will supplement this local effort with hundreds of new Federal agents who will be solely dedicated to crimes against children. It will also provide desperately needed forensic crime and computer labs so agents can uncover troves of electronic evidence, locate these perpetrators,
and bring them to justice.
Finally, the bill will create a special counsel within the Department of Justice who will be responsible for planning and coordinating our child exploitation prosecution efforts across the Federal agencies.
At the October Judiciary Committee hearing, a representative from the FBI told us two things, Mr. Speaker, that boggled my mind. First, he told us that the number of agents being exclusively assigned to these cases is actually shrinking; and, second, that they are giving millions of dollars that Congress has appropriated to combat child pornography to programs that have nothing to do with child protection. Should we be shrinking critical staffing power and diverting badly needed funds at a time
when we are investigating less than 2 percent of known traffickers of child pornography? We can do better, and we must do better.
Mr. Speaker, the time has come to reorder priorities at the Department of Justice, and the PROTECT Our Children Act will do just that. Our mandate here is clear: we must prevent predators from hurting our children.
Again, I want to thank Ranking Member Barton for his leadership, his concern, and his compassion for our children and their safety, not just on this issue but on the Pool Safety bill that we worked together in the 109th and the 110th Congress, and I truly appreciate his leadership and effort on this bill and many others.
Mr. Speaker, this is what Congress can do when we come together in a bipartisan fashion. And maybe it's our children that can be the catalyst for the change that we need in America.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. GOODLATTE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, the majority has decided to promote politics rather than fully protecting our Nation's children. In its last-minute rush to bring bills to the floor, the majority has selected five bills addressing the problem of sex offenders on the Internet and Internet safety for children. These bills were never considered by the Judiciary Committee, never subject to legislative hearings, and never brought through the markup process.
In addition, the majority failed to address concerns that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the Justice Department expressed. To ignore the concerns of these major stakeholders is no way to legislate when it comes to the safety of our children.
Why did the majority avoid the Judiciary Committee process? For one reason, they knew the amendments we would offer at the committee would gain bipartisan support. Again, avoiding amendments that both parties would support is no way to protect our children.
Even on the substance, the majority's bills ignore the needs of law enforcement. At a full committee oversight hearing on October 17, 2007, the majority heard from law enforcement and the Justice Department about specific tools needed to protect children. The testimony at the hearing underscored the need to give law enforcement flexible tools necessary to protect children and apprehend sex offenders.
Instead of working to produce a strong bill that responds to law enforcement's requests, the majority has bypassed the normal committee process and brought an incomplete bill to the floor.
Last Congress we passed landmark child protection legislation, the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, which combined new tools, new authorities, additional programs, and important requirements on the registration and notification requirements for sex offenders. This legislation was developed through bipartisan cooperation, subject to full Judiciary Committee markup, extensive testimony on legislative proposals, and consultation with the NCMEC, and the Justice Department. In stark contrast, the majority
has failed to meet these basic requirements in developing new child protection legislation.
H.R. 3845 is replete with problems. For example, the bill creates a super-bureaucratic special counsel in the Justice Department and charges that counsel with coordinating all child protection efforts across the Federal Government.
The special prosecutor duplicates existing offices within the Department of Justice with the expertise to prosecute child crimes cases and administer the ICAC grant program.
The innumerable responsibilities of this new special prosecutor require expertise across so many issues, prosecution, policy, and grant administration, [Page: H13587]
just to name a few, that no one person can fulfill this role. The bill in fact acknowledges this by directing the creation of an entirely new office within the office of the Deputy Attorney General, creating yet another layer of bureaucracy in Washington. This eats up precious resources, rather than
sending them to our neighborhoods and communities.
Moreover, the bill places approval for all ICAC grants with the new special prosecutor, a role traditionally held by the Office of Justice Programs. Why? We don't know. We have been presented no evidence to suggest that the Department's performance in administering grants to existing ICAC task forces is somehow flawed.
It is sad to see that our children's safety is being sacrificed for the benefits of a quick press hit. While the bill has some good provisions, much more could have been done.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, at this time I yield as much time as he may consume to the distinguished chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Conyers.
Mr. CONYERS. I'm hoping that the discussion and the presentation by my good friend, Mr. Goodlatte, does not indicate that he is opposed to the substance of this measure and that his remarks were generated around the process, the procedure, because I'm sure he worked on the Adam Walsh bill, and here, to me, is another important step forward on that. And so we look forward to his continued support.
Now, with reference to process, that's a little bit more sensitive issue, because, you know me, I don't like to bring up things that sound partisan. But you guys avoided more process in the Judiciary Committee than we ever have in the 110th Congress. So I've got a long record of it.
But we don't want to get off the track here. This isn't about process. But I've got some not-complimentary statistics about the way we've operated in the past. And I've had good relationships with all the Republican, it almost seems like forever, chairmen of the Judiciary Committee that have preceded us for this last 12 years.
But what our floor manager DEBBIE WASSERMAN SCHULTZ is talking about now is something for which there can be no disagreement. We've got to get these Internet sex predators out of business. And that's what this measure does. It does it well. I don't know how much more benefited anybody would be if we had gone any different direction.
We're under a little duress now. We've got measures on top of measures. The scheduling is getting horrific. But I commend the gentlelady and the members of the committee on both sides of the aisle that have worked with her in pursuance of this legislation to get it to the floor today.
Mr. BARTON of Texas. I thank the distinguished gentleman from Virginia, the former chairman of the Agriculture Committee, one of the senior members of the Judiciary Committee.
I want to, in a somewhat milder vein, share the concerns that Mr. Goodlatte shared about the process. When I agreed to be the principal Republican sponsor of this legislation, I asked and was told that there would be a committee markup in the Judiciary Committee and that there would be amendments made in order. So I was a little bit surprised last week to find that this was going to be on the Suspension Calendar and expressed that surprise to Ms. Wasserman Schultz and her staff.
Having said that, there have been bipartisan discussions, negotiations. There have been changes made in the bill as originally introduced. It is a good bill. And I am proud to be the senior Republican sponsor.
This bill needs to be passed. I will agree with Mr. Goodlatte that it's not a perfect bill, and I'll agree that had there been a committee markup or a subcommittee markup and a bipartisan markup amendment process, some of the issues would have been addressed a little bit differently. I'll agree with that.
But having said that, let's look at what's positive in the bill. And let's compare the bill to current law. There are over 3 million images of child pornography on the Internet right now. Three million. And in the last Congress, as chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, under my direct request as chairman, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held nine hearings on the problem of Internet child pornography. And it's more than a problem. It is a vicious, malicious, virus, viral
disease that has the potential to destroy our children. And at some point in time we have to do something. And this bill, the PROTECT bill that's before us this afternoon, is a good first start.
We found out in our hearings last year that the various State and Federal agencies didn't have enough resources. We found out that they didn't coordinate. And so this bill before us, as my good friend, Mr. Goodlatte, has pointed out, it does set up a new special counsel office in the Justice Department. And normally that would probably not be a good thing to do. But in this case, given the lack of coordination under current law, at a minimum, I think it's acceptable. And I personally
think that it's commendable.
We give additional resources. Not one witness in our hearings last year said that there were sufficient financial resources. The bill before us authorizes, over the course of the next 8 years, over 1 billion additional dollars to fight this infestation of child pornography. It sets up an additional $400 million to increase funding over the next 8 years for the Federal law enforcement agencies: the FBI's Innocent Images Unit, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the United States Postal Service.
These are the Federal agencies that are at the forefront in investigating Internet child pornography.
The bill also authorizes increased funding for new forensic computer laboratories. One of the things that we found out is that there just wasn't enough law enforcement laboratory capability in terms of forensics to track down the information that was being provided by the agents in the field. This bill recommends and authorizes an additional $7 million each year for 2008 through 2015 for new national forensic computer laboratories.
We also found out, as I pointed out, that some of these task forces that have been set up and are well intentioned simply didn't have the resources that they needed. So the bill before us authorizes over $600 million over the next 8 years on a staggered basis for these Internet Crimes Against Children, or ICAC, task forces. That is a huge improvement over the current situation, and I don't think any Member of Congress is going to oppose that.
This bill provides additional funding for Federal and State law enforcement, greater coordination of the overall United States law enforcement effort at both the State, Federal, and local level. It establishes a Special Counsel office that I have already talked about. And I want to comment on that.
I agree with what Mr. Goodlatte said that the current task force in the current system in terms of allocating resources is doing an acceptable job. So the Special Counsel will coordinate with them. The Special Counsel will have the ability to sign off, but it doesn't have the ability to unilaterally decide where these additional funds are going to go for the very reasons that Mr. Goodlatte said in his statement a few minutes ago.
The bill before us brings additional resources that are vitally needed to the fight against the scourge of child pornography on the Internet. Almost all of us have children or grandchildren. And [Page: H13588]
when you go on the Internet today and you type in www.snowwhite.com, you may well get a pornographic child pornography site. Now, that's unacceptable. It's unacceptable to every Member on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the other body, our friends
on the other side of this Capitol.
This bill before us may not be a perfect bill, but it is time to act. It is a good start. Anything can be improved.
Again, I respect the process questions that have been raised. I have some of those same questions about some issues under the committee that I serve on as jurisdiction. But in this case it really is time to protect our children. It really is time to move forward. And if we have a roll call vote, I hope every Member of the House of Representatives votes ``yes'' on the PROTECT Act because it is a huge step forward in protecting our children.
I thank my good friend Mr. Goodlatte for yielding to me.