Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan bill with Sen. Grassley would strengthen federal protections against sexual abuse of children, including online exploitation
Washington, D.C. — A leading child advocacy group is urging Congress to pass U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff’s bipartisan legislation to protect children from online predators and sexual exploitation.
Yesterday, in a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee about protecting our children online, Michelle C. DeLaune, President and CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, urged Congress to pass Sen. Ossoff’s bipartisan legislation to protect children online.
Sen. Ossoff’s Preventing Child Sex Abuse Act with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) will strengthen Federal protections against the sexual abuse of children, including online exploitation.
DeLaune highlighted the importance of ensuring that legislation is keeping up with technology to prevent child exploitation across state and international boundaries — which Sen. Ossoff’s bill aims to do.
“A key aspect of this bill is … to ensure that when abusers use webcams or online messaging platforms to target children, that the full strength of federal law can be brought to bear to prosecute them and to protect children from other crimes,” Sen. Ossoff said in the hearing.
Sens. Ossoff and Grassley’s bill passed the U.S. Senate in the last Congress with bipartisan support.
Please find a transcript of Sen. Ossoff’s line of questioning below:
SEN. OSSOFF: “I want to thank our panel for your testimony, in particular Ms. Bride, to you for bringing your advocacy to the Senate amidst this nightmare that you and your family have lived and continued to live.
“Ms. Lembke, thank you for your extraordinarily well considered and powerful testimony.
“Ms. DeLaune, as you know and as you mentioned in your opening statement, Senator Grassley and I have legislation to strengthen federal protections against sexual abuse of children, including online exploitation. And we were able to pass that legislation through the Senate last Congress with bipartisan support, not yet through the House. We’re hoping to do that this Congress with your help. And a key aspect of this bill is to ensure that the law is keeping up with technology, and to ensure that when abusers use webcams or online messaging platforms to target children, that the full strength of federal law can be brought to bear to prosecute them and to protect children from other crimes. Can you describe briefly please Ms. DeLaune, the necessity of ensuring that relevant federal statutes keep up with technology and how these threats evolve.”
DELAUNE: “Thank you, Senator. Thank you for your leadership on that with Senator Grassley. We look forward to you know, continuing to work with you and your staff. It is important as we’re talking about the continual evolution of threats to our children. Technology was mentioned earlier, moves much faster than the legislative process.
“And it’s very important and encouraging to be here today, to hear from all of you kind of leading the charge here of ensuring that our legislative proposals and legislative pieces that you’re considering are actually matching the technology.
“What you mentioned, Senator about live streaming that’s being considered in your bill, we have seen an evolution with children being sexually exploited when there is not a physical abuser who is actually physically touching them. And we need to ensure that the legislation actually reflects that children are being exploited, children are being sexually victimized by individuals in different countries, in different states, in different rooms.
“And this is something that we continue to see where offenders are moving children from social media platforms maybe where they introduce and then move them to a more a different platform where they would have live abuse ability. As well as individuals who are selling children for sexual performance online. So thank you for recognizing that evolution of technology needs to be reflected in legislation.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Thank you, Ms. DeLaune. The same legislation that I’ve offered with Senator Grassley also strengthens law enforcement as they prosecute those who cross state lines or international lines to abuse children. What are you seeing now in terms of trends and dynamics in so called sex tourism, particularly, as it pertains to the abuse of children?”
DELAUNE: “Sex tourism, certainly you still have people who are traveling to other countries and taking advantage of lacks laws and poverty to sexually exploit children. We do of course see now and increase if you want to call it sex tourism of individuals who are virtually streaming, live streaming, sexually exploiting children in impoverished countries, and paying them via, you know, online apps. So, this is something that we continue to see as a problem actually getting worse because of the new ways that people can communicate live streaming.”
SEN. OSSOFF: “Well our bipartisan legislation, as you know, will help to crack down on online abusers as well as those who cross state lines, international lines to attack children. I thank you for your continued support for the legislation.”