The following release came in this morning from the Office of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez:
WASHINGTON, D.C. â€” Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47), Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, introduced a bill to protect children worldwide from sexual exploitation. H.R. 6266, the Sex Offender Notification of International Travel Act, would help prevent, deter, and combat child sex tourism and trafficking by requiring sex offenders to notify appropriate law enforcement officials before traveling internationally.
â€œChild sex tourism is a horrific crime that exploits the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society,â€ said Rep. Sanchez. â€œThese predators often have a long history of abusing children, both in the U.S. and abroad. By requiring sex offenders to flag their travel plans, my bill will give law enforcement a powerful tool in the fight against child exploitation.â€
â€œChild sexual exploitation isnâ€™t just a problem overseas, itâ€™s flourishing here at home,â€ said Grier Weeks, the Executive Director of the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT). â€œRep. Sanchezâ€™s bill will give law enforcement the tools they need to help stop sex trafficking wherever it exists. Weâ€™ve been waiting a long time for tough, serious legislation like this.â€
â€œDuring these politically charged times, it takes real courage and vision to introduce policy that will create jobs for returning veterans, protect children from those who seek to exploit them, and to make resources for law enforcement a real priority, and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez has done just that, all in one bill,â€ said Erin Runnion from the Joyful Child Foundation â€“ In Memory of Samantha Runnion.
H.R. 6266 would strengthen existing provisions in the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). Although SORNA has been effective in targeting sex offenders, Rep. Sanchezâ€™s bill would significantly enhance the ability of Department of Homeland Security officials to identify high-risk travelers earlier and more frequently. The goal is to stop the traveler prior to the exploitation of children.
In addition to requiring sex offenders to notify domestic officials prior to travelling, the Sex Offender Notification of International Travel Act would also permit U.S. law enforcement to share such information with foreign officials when appropriate. When a registered sex offender travels abroad, the Department of Homeland Security would be able to notify the country of destination. The country of destination would then determine whether or not to allow the offender to enter, and under what conditions.
Rep. Sanchez, who represents the largest Vietnamese community outside of Vietnam, introduced H.R. 6266 in part to address an issue that is extremely important to her Vietnamese constituents. Vietnamese women and girls are trafficked throughout Southeast Asia for commercial sexual exploitation. The World Human Rights Organization and UNICEF estimate that one-third of the prostitutes in Cambodia are under the age of 18, the majority of whom are Vietnamese.
Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez is proud to represent Californiaâ€™s 47th Congressional District, which includes the cities of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Santa Ana, and parts of Fullerton in Orange County. She serves as Vice Chair of the House Homeland Security Committee and Chair of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats, and Capabilities. Rep. Sanchez is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and sits on the bipartisan, bicameral Joint Economic Committee.