Rep. Loretta Sanchez Introduces Bill to fight child sex trafficking and tourism

The following release came in this morning from the Office of Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez:

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana)

WASHINGTON, D.C. — 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.

“Child sex tourism is a horrific crime that exploits the most innocent and vulnerable members of our society,” said Rep. Sanchez. “These 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.”

“Child sexual exploitation isn’t just a problem overseas, it’s flourishing here at home,” said Grier Weeks, the Executive Director of the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT). “Rep. Sanchez’s bill will give law enforcement the tools they need to help stop sex trafficking wherever it exists. We’ve been waiting a long time for tough, serious legislation like this.”

“During 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,” said Erin Runnion from the Joyful Child Foundation – 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. Sanchez’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 California’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.

  2 comments for “Rep. Loretta Sanchez Introduces Bill to fight child sex trafficking and tourism

  1. James Endicott
    October 2, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Dear Congresswoman Sanchez:

    While I have not yet read H.R. 6266, I would appreciate reading the evidence that prompted you to introduce the legislation. Is there clear evidence that sex offenders, as a homogeneous group, are involved in sex trafficking? I suspect the answer is clearly NO.

    Are there high risk convicted offenders who are involved in sex trafficking? The odds are certainly likely. But, has either Federal or State governments implemented uniform assessments to determine who is a high risk offender? NO.

    In some states, a citizen who twenty years ago committed a single offense against a minor they knew (93% of all child abuse, according to DOJ), is listed as a violent sex offender, just like a repeat offender or predator.

    The facts, as noted in Dr. Richard Wright’s book, Sex Offender Laws: Failed Policies, New Directions, are that the greatest risk to children is absolutely NOT from a homogeneous, marked group of registered sex offenders, but from family and friends who know the victim. Before burdening our citizens and the legal system with another feels-good, sounds-good piece of politically-expedient legislation, I recommend that:

    1. The identification of those labeled as high risk in sex trafficking be objectively determined through unbiased risk assessments,
    2. No registered sex offenders, having already served their sentences, be restricted from freely traveling internationally unless 1. above applies,
    3. Legislation be introduced that permits registered sex offenders to travel without restriction within the United States, unless 1. above applies. You will note that each state now has different registration and notification requirements for sex offenders as a homogeneous group, none of which is evidence-based regarding risk posed to our children and communities.
    4. Your staff, the citizens of your district and the citizens in these great United States be educated regarding the facts about registered sex offenders, and
    5. Legislation be introduced that will assist in protecting children by educating them about the proven risk from family members, friends and acquaintances whom they trust, not from registered sex offenders.

    Your assistance is appreciated.

  2. Howard be my name
    October 2, 2010 at 10:19 am

    “In some states, a citizen who twenty years ago committed a single offense against a minor they knew (93% of all child abuse, according to DOJ), is listed as a violent sex offender, just like a repeat offender or predator.”

    This law follows federal guidelines that define sex offenses, not state guidelines.

    “the greatest risk to children is absolutely NOT from a homogeneous, marked group of registered sex offenders, but from family and friends who know the victim.”

    The purpose of this bill is not to protect children in the US from those they know, but rather to protect children overseas. Child sex tourists travel primarily to impoverished countries from Europe and North America. Many have been prohibited from contact with children in their own countries, so they go abroad where they can enjoy unfettered practice of pedophilia.

    You may not care for Rep. Sanchez, but your cavalier attitude toward the international victims of the child sex trade is inexcusable. Perhaps you figure that many of them are just “little brown ones” who don’t deserve protection. I hope there is a special place in hell for you and your ilk.

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