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Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Thank you, Madam Chair.
I rise to ask for my colleagues' support for an amendment to protect our most vulnerable constituents--our children. This bipartisan amendment is a simple one. It says that child victims of sexual predators should not be forced to fight for funding scraps if deep cuts to the Department of Justice occur.
This amendment fences off $30 million within the Department of Justice's Juvenile Justice Missing and Exploited Children Programs account for Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces. It ensures that even in this time of painful budget cuts, we will protect the most precious and most vulnerable among us.
Over the last decade, child pornography trafficking has exploded into a multibillion-dollar global industry. The majority of both demand and supply is based in the United States and, sadly, most often involves parents or adults that the victim knows and trusts. Tragically, the demand for images of young children being sexually exploited, raped, and even tortured can only be supplied through the continued sexual abuse of more children. Literally every image of child pornography is a crime scene photo.
Several years ago, law enforcement informed Congress that it could identify hundreds of thousands of individuals perpetrating child exploitation offenses online, but admitted and acknowledged that it was investigating fewer than 2 percent of these known individuals because of a lack of resources that left them outnumbered and overwhelmed. The vast majority of these identifiable sexual predators remained at large and their young victims beyond rescue.
Congress and the President responded by passing and signing into law the PROTECT our Children Act, which provides desperately needed resources for the vital Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces. These task forces are teams of local, State, and Federal law enforcement agencies and prosecutors that lift the digital fingerprints, rescue the children, and hold perpetrators accountable.
The ICAC task forces rescue child victims in real time--victims like Alicia Kozakiewicz, who was sexually assaulted at age 13 by a man who befriended her online and abducted her from her Pittsburgh home. She was rescued by the FBI and the Virginia ICAC task force.
Congress is already funding this effort at only half of its authorization. Yet the law is making a difference.
So please join Congressman Shuler, Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, and me in supporting this important amendment that will give State, local, and Federal law enforcement the resources they need to protect our most vulnerable.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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