Making Soliciting Sex with Children a Federal Crime

A bill introduced in Congress, the End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013, (H.R. 2805) calls for those “patrons” who seek sex with children to be federally prosecuted. “Soliciting or obtaining sex with minors, paying to have sex with a child, is a crime — period, end of story. This is a monumentally important bill that will do more to curb this terrible crime of [sexual] slavery in the 21st Century,” said Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a sponsor of the bill.

The new bill amends the existing Trafficking Victims Protection Act (TVPA). Under the TVPA,”the guy that brings those girls throughout the United States” is the one who is prosecuted, as Texas Republican Congressman Ted Poe said during a news conference at the Capitol but “the consumer, the buyer, is not prosecuted on the federal level.” The new bill will mean that “patrons” will also face federal prosecution.

The End Sex Trafficking Act will seek to draw on existing resources, including federally funded law enforcement task forces, which are part of the Innocence Lost National Initiative, to prosecute both those who profit from and solicit sex from children. Efforts to identify children who are the victims of sex trafficking must also be stepped up. It is imperative to see sex trafficked children as crime victims who will need services including safe housing to address what can only be many and complex needs.

To this end, Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen of Minnesota and Democratic Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York have introduced H.R. 2744, the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013. This bill would amend federal law to require that states’ programs relating to child abuse and neglect include provisions and procedures to identify and assess all reports involving child victims of sex trafficking and to train child protective services workers about identifying and providing comprehensive services to exploited children.

The End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 can help to end “modern-day slavery” by prosecuting those actually guilty of crimes, not minors who are the victims of criminal activity and in need of rehabilitative care and support. The bill has broad bipartisan support and is expected to pass both houses of Congress unanimously.

Learn more at Kristina Chew’s Care2.com article: Soliciting Sex With Children Will Now Be a Federal Offense.

Contact your Congressional Representatives and urge them to support the End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013 and the Child Sex Trafficking Data and Response Act of 2013.

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