Congressman Zach Wamp hailed the U.S. House of Representatives’ unanimous vote Tuesday approving H.R. 4472, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006.
“Today America faces a clear and present danger from an old form of terrorism, newly virulent and preying upon our children,” Congressman Wamp said. “The rise of the Internet has facilitated a multi-billion dollar market for the sexual exploitation of children. This criminal trade feeds an insatiable demand by pedophiles, at home and abroad, for images of children being degraded and raped. Law enforcement reports that this unspeakable ‘product’ is becoming more violent and sadistic, involving younger victims than ever before. Many predators also hunt for direct access to unsuspecting children and teens.
“The fact that violence against children is such a difficult issue to discuss brings to mind a passage from author Cormac McCarthy’s The Crossing: ‘the wicked know that if the ill they do be of sufficient horror men will not speak against it. That men have just enough stomach for small evils and only these will they oppose.’ ”
Today, Congress opposed the “horror” wrought by child predators. The Child Protection and Safety Act will enact new protections for children and impose strong penalties against those who seek to harm them.
Among other things, H.R. 4472 will:
Create a new office within the Justice Department to monitor and track sex offenders and authorizes Project Safe Childhood program
Adopts stiff penalties for the killing of children or violent attacks against them – death penalty for murder and mandatory minimum of 25 years for kidnapping or maiming a child, and a mandatory minimum of 10 years for causing serious bodily injury to a child or using a weapon to attack a child
Establishes tough 30-year mandatory minimum penalties for having sex with a child under 12 or sexually assaulting a child between 13 and 17
Increases mandatory minimum penalties for coercing or enticing a child to have sex, transporting a child to engage in criminal sexual activity, sexual exploitation of a child, and sex trafficking of children
Creates new criminal offense against child exploitation enterprises and punishes members of such enterprise with mandatory minimum of 20 years incarceration
Authorizes additional prosecutors and computer forensics to prosecute child exploitation and child sex abuse cases
Improves record-keeping requirements and inspection regimes to any person or entity that produces pornography to ensure that children are not used or exploited in such depictions
Prohibits the production of obscene materials as well as the transportation, distribution and sale
In addition to H.R. 4472, the House also passed an identical Senate companion bill. As a result, this important legislation now goes to the president to be signed into law.