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Public Statements

Child Protection Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. WASSERMAN SCHULTZ. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Child Protection Act of 2012, which I am honored to cosponsor with my good friend from Texas, Chairman Lamar Smith. Chairman Smith and I are proof-positive of what bipartisan working relationships can accomplish, especially because we both agree that protecting the safety and well-being of our Nation's children is our highest priority. That's why I am so pleased that this bill, which was reported favorably out of committee on voice vote, is before us today. This is an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of children nationwide, thousands of whom are plagued by abuse, terror, and assaults that we cannot even imagine.

In 2008, I was honored to sponsor the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2008, which provides the safety net and resources the law enforcement agents who fight child sexual predators so desperately need. This commonsense bill builds on the progress that we started in PROTECT to ensure that law enforcement can combat one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States, child pornography.

We must ensure that investigators have every available resource to track down predators and protect our children. This bill ensures that paperwork does not stand in the way of protecting our kids.

Mr. Speaker, I have learned far too much about the world of child pornography since I first took on this cause 4 years ago. There are many aspects of it that are disturbing beyond words to describe, like the fact that in a survey of convicted offenders, more than 83 percent of them had images of children younger than 12 years old, and almost 20 percent of them had images of babies and toddlers who were less than 3 years old. And let's remember that these aren't just images of naked children. These are crime scene photographs and videos taken of children being beaten, raped, and abused beyond our worst nightmares for the sexual pleasure of the person looking at the photo or video.

Let's also remember that these are children who are often being victimized by someone in their circle of trust, someone who was supposed to protect them, and someone who, instead, chose to do them harm. These children only have the law to protect them because their protectors failed them and caused them harm.

While it's not often that we have an opportunity to pass a bill here that quite literally means the difference between life or death, this is one of those times. That's why, as a Member of Congress, I know that

I, as well as Chairman Smith and the Members of Congress here today fighting to protect the children of this country, will stand strong and continue to press forward on their behalf.

I am proud and honored to be the lead Democratic sponsor of this bill, and I am thankful to my friend Chairman Smith for his continued leadership and support on this crucial cause.

While the chairman listed some of the organizations that are supporting this bill, I will add some others. This bill is supported by the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network; the National Council of Jewish Women; Men Can Stop Rape; and the Florida Council Against Sexual Violence, among the other worthy and proud organizations that Chairman Smith listed.

We are grateful to all of these organizations for their endorsement of this bill and for their continued support for all victims of sexual assault and abuse. I urge all of my colleagues to join us in supporting this critical legislation.


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