Aug 21 2018
Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) today introduced the bipartisan Missing Children’s Assistance Act. The bill would reauthorize the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and continue the fight against child abduction and exploitation.
“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children does critical work to protect children from abuse, exploitation and abduction and to help with their recovery. This bill will improve the group’s efforts and deserves to be passed as soon as possible,” Feinstein said.
“Every instance of a missing child is a tragedy and we cannot let up on our fight against child abduction and exploitation,” Grassley said. “The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children works every day to help families, caregivers, schools and communities prevent the exploitation of children and aid in their recovery. This is an important bill to support and modernize that work. I look forward to helping it become law very soon.”
“For more than 30 years, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has played a critical role in the fight to protect our children. Over those years, NCMEC has kept pace with evolving threats ranging from online enticement of children to child pornography and sex tourism. I am proud to support this legislation to modernize NCMEC’s authorities and ensure that the organization has the resources it needs to continue this important work,” Hatch said.
“As a former prosecutor, I know how important it is to protect children from kidnapping, exploitation, and abuse. This bipartisan bill will ensure that the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has the resources and support necessary to track down missing children and prevent future abductions,” Klobuchar said.
“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children is on the frontlines protecting the most vulnerable children in our country. NCMEC brings expertise and resources to local communities across the country and is committed to children who are missing, trafficking, abused, or exploited. I am proud to support this legislation to reauthorize the national hotline and to prioritize funding so that NCMEC can continue its important work,” Portman said.
The legislation updates terms that are used in the Missing Children’s Assistance Act to reflect the latest research and trends. It extends funding for five more years, at the current level of $40 million, for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and other organizations that help prevent and respond to offenses committed against vulnerable children.
The bill also ensures continued federal support of efforts by state and local entities to recover missing and exploited children—including children who are the victims of kidnapping and child pornography crimes. And the bill includes measures to ensure that school personnel, law enforcement, individuals and other non-governmental organizations can receive technical assistance and training on how to prevent, recover and help missing, abducted or exploited children.
The legislation will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee alongside related measures in the coming weeks.
In a letter to the bill's sponsors, the current president and CEO of NCMEC offered his strong support for the bipartisan legislation and thanked the senators for their continued work fighting child exploitation and their efforts to modernize the law to combat new and emerging issues like sextortion.
Full text of the bill can be found here.