Roby’s Global Child Protection Act Passes Committee
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A bill by U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-Ala.) to combat the sexual exploitation of children in the United States and around the world passed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
H.R. 1862, the Global Child Protection Act, closes loopholes in current law that allow child predators to evade prosecution for certain abuses committed overseas. Roby said advancing measures like this to protect children was a primary reason she joined the House Judiciary Committee.
“Crimes against children are shocking and ugly, which is what makes this subject so hard to talk about sometimes,” Roby said. “There are loopholes in current law allowing child predators to evade punishment for their abuse of children overseas. The Global Child Protection Act aims to close these loopholes and better equip law enforcement to protect children and punish abusers.”
Under current law, certain types of sexual contact are not explicitly covered under the criminal definition of “illicit sexual conduct,” which allows child predators to evade punishment for clearly abusive acts. The Global Child Protection Act would expand the definition of “illicit sexual conduct to cover “sexual contact,” thus allowing authorities to crack down on global sex tourism and punish abusers. The bill also seeks to protect the youngest child victims by broadening the sentencing code to see that all types of contact offenses against children under the age of 12 are treated the same as crimes against those between the ages of 12 and 18.
Roby’s bill is part of a slate of Judiciary Committee bills aimed to combat the sexual exploitation of children. The Committee on Wednesday also approved H.R. 1842, the Strengthening Children’s Safety Act, which enhances penalties for sex offenders who fail to register in the national sex offender registry when they have a prior state conviction for a violent crime.
The Committee also recently passed the Adam Walsh Reauthorization Act, the Child Protection Improvements Act, and the Targeting Child Predators Act. According to the Committee, these bills ensure youth-serving organizations have access to background checks for prospective staff and volunteers, give investigators efficient access to critical evidence needed to stop child predators, and reauthorize and improve critical programs to track sex offenders.
The Global Child Protection Act now awaits a vote by the full House.