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Mr. ROYCE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
International Megan's Law, to prevent demand for child sex trafficking, will bolster law enforcement efforts to combat a crime that is worldwide. It affects hundreds of thousands of young children every year. In particular, this bill addresses an issue of child sex tourism, by which adults travel overseas.
They do this to exploit children in countries that are currently struggling to deal with this influx of child predators, and part of that influx is of Americans who are child predators.
Many children victimized by this appalling crime have also been trafficked--trafficked into prostitution--recruited or transferred or sold in order to be used sexually for someone's profit.
This bill helps fight back. This bill takes care of a problem that exists at present, as there are multiple U.S. agencies seeking to combat child trafficking, but not with any coordination, and they are not doing it in time to prevent those who try to travel overseas. We could be much more effective.
This bill officially recognizes an Angel Watch Center within the Department of Homeland Security's Child Exploitation Investigations Center. Operation Angel Watch originated as a partnership with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and it currently collects and analyzes the foreign travel date of convicted child sex offenders to determine whether the notification to U.S. officials or foreign governments is warranted.
Last year alone, Angel Watch sent 1,700 leads to 100 countries as part of this effort to proactively and strategically alert international law enforcement. Angel Watch's work is time-sensitive. Travel data is sometimes not made available within the 24 hours before a flight, while other helpful information collected by the Department of Justice is, in fact, not even shared with Angel Watch or is not shared soon enough.
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This bill solidifies the Angel Watch Center as an important part of the U.S. response to child sex tourism, and importantly, it improves the timeliness of the information the center receives by requiring the Justice Department to share its travel records promptly. This will allow Angel Watch to better detect and to report the travel of child predators.
I want to thank the bill's author, the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Smith), for his persistent leadership and dedication to this issue. I would also like to recognize the chairman and ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary, as well as the ranking member, Mr. Eliot Engel from New York, for his assistance on this important measure.
Madam Speaker, I want to say something briefly about other bills that I have been involved with in today's antitrafficking package. One is H.R. 3530, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, introduced by Judge Poe, our colleague from Texas.
I want to thank the Committee on the Judiciary for consulting with the Foreign Affairs Committee to ensure that the bill makes progress both at home and also abroad.
On the Human Trafficking Congressional Advisory Committee that I established last year in southern California, I hear directly from advocates and from law enforcement and from survivors, themselves, about the insufficient resources that law enforcement has as a tool available to rescue victims and available to prosecute traffickers here in the U.S.
By ensuring a victims center allocation of resources, enhancing deterrents, and prioritizing the protection of trafficking and child pornography victims, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act represents important progress in this struggle.
I also strongly support H.R. 4225, the Stop Advertising Victims of Exploitation, or SAVE Act, introduced by the gentlelady from Missouri, Representative Wagner.
In 2013, revenue from U.S. online prostitution advertising totaled an estimated $45 million. As underscored by arrests in 22 States, those ads, such as on backpage.com, sometimes involve the marketing of children, of underage girls. This legislation will help stop this exploitation.
In March, more than 40 of us here in Congress wrote to urge Attorney General Eric Holder to take immediate action to end backpage.com's facilitation of the buying and selling of people, including of children. To date, we have not received a response. This legislation would produce that effect.
All five of the bills being considered today represent important steps towards abolishing the injustice of human trafficking, towards protecting vulnerable individuals, and towards restoring the dignity of those who have survived such exploitation. They deserve our strong support.
Madam Speaker, I submit for the Record an exchange of letters between me and Chairman Goodlatte of the Judiciary Committee regarding this bill of which I am proud to be a cosponsor, and I would ask all Members here to support it.
I reserve the balance of my time.