President Bush Signs Child Protection Bill Into Law


Protect Our Children Act: Requires Internet Companies To Report Child Pornography



MIAMI (CBS4) – President Bush has signed brand new legislation into law that is designed to keep internet sex predators away from children. Mr. Bush signed the “Protect Our Children” Act late Monday.

The “Protect Our Children” Act creates the largest law enforcement army, ever, to combat online child pornography. It requires Internet companies to report child pornography and adds more than $320 million to the Justice Department to fight Internet crimes against kids. The money will be used for new crime labs and to hire more investigators to work on child exploitation cases. It also provides a grant program and bolsters support for the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

The landmark legislation was a bipartisan effort led in Congress by Florida’s Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (D-Fl.), Senators Joe Biden and Orrin Hatch and also Congressman Joe Barton of Texas.

The law was created after a young girl was abducted and held as a sex slave, by a man she met online. CBS4 I-team investigator Laurie Stein first brought you her exclusive story.

At 13 years old, Alicia Kosekevitch was abducted and raped by a man she thought was her online friend. She was held for four days before an online tip led to her rescue.

She spoke to CBS4 in her first television interview last year.

According to Congresswmoan Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, “Alicia’s recent testimony to support the new law moved seasoned politicians to tears but while the bill sailed through the house, it stalled terribly in the Senate.”

With extra publicity from a recent appearance on Oprah the bill finally passed the Senate and was signed into law Monday October 13th.

“I have three kids as you know and nothing is more important than government protecting children because they can’t protect themselves,” added Wasserman-Schultz.

The FBI estimates there are 500,000 individuals now trafficking in child pornography on the internet. But it’s estimated the Department of Justice is only going after 2-percent of those cases. With the new law, the prosecution and conviction rate is expected to rise dramatically.

The president on Monday also signed the Keeping the Internet Devoid of Sexual Predators Act, which requires a sex offender to provide the National Sex Offender Registry with all of his Internet identifiers, such as e-mail addresses.

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