Washington–Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), John Kennedy (R-La.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) released the following statements after the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2022, which reauthorizes the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program to combat child exploitation across the country, passed the Senate earlier this week:
“The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program helps train thousands of law enforcement officers every year to protect children from online threats. I was proud to support the original legislation that created this program and strongly support its reauthorization,” said Sen. Feinstein. “I thank Senators Cornyn and Blumenthal for leading this effort to ensure the program is able to continue its important work.”
“By providing the resources, officers, and technology law enforcement agencies need to counter the threat of cyber-crimes, we can build more barriers between predators and the victims they target,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I applaud my colleagues for reauthorizing this task force that prevents the perpetrators of these heinous crimes from committing future abuse, and I urge the House to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”
“Today’s vote is an important step in the fight to protect victims of online child exploitation,” Sen. Blumenthal said. “With our bipartisan measure, law enforcement will be given the resources needed to investigate these unspeakable crimes and hold criminals accountable. Reauthorization of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program cannot wait. I look forward to swift action on the PROTECT Our Children Act by the House and President Biden.”
“I’m proud to support the PROTECT Our Children Act, and to work with my colleague John Cornyn to help law enforcement agencies across Texas protect our kids from explicit content,” said Sen. Cruz.
“The ICAC Task Force has proven to be successful in fighting particularly heinous crimes against children on the internet,” said Sen. Grassley. “The bipartisan PROTECT Our Children Act will ensure federal, state and local law enforcement continue to have the resources needed to protect our children from online predators. I’m glad that this critical legislation is now one step closer to becoming law.”
“Too often children are the victims of internet predators,” said Sen. Kennedy.” I am supporting the PROTECT our Children Act to help law enforcement prosecute these criminals and prevent future crimes.”
“We must do everything we can to protect our children from online exploitation,” said Sen. Klobuchar. “This bipartisan legislation will ensure prosecutors and law enforcement officers continue to have the tools and resources they need to take on these terrible crimes. Now that this bill has passed the Senate, I look forward to seeing it signed into law.”
“I was so pleased to see the PROTECT Our Children Act of 2022 pass the Senate last night,” said Sen. Leahy. “Our bill reauthorizes the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program. As digital platforms continue to expand, an effective task force to work with law enforcement to combat technology-facilitated child exploitation and internet crimes against children is more important than ever. As the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee I will continue to protect strong funding for the ICAC and the important work they are doing.”
“The PROTECT Our Children Act will ensure that we continue to support survivors and provide law enforcement with resources needed to investigate and prosecute criminals who exploit children online,” said Sen. Tillis. “I’m proud the Senate came together to pass our bipartisan legislation.”
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) also cosponsored this legislation.
The PROTECT Our Children Act, originally passed in 2008, authorized the ICAC Task Force Program, a national network of 61 coordinated task forces that represent 3,500 federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies engaged in reactive and proactive investigations across the country. The ICAC aids local and state law enforcement in the creation and implementation of effective responses to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and internet crimes against children. In order to develop effective response strategies to online child victimization, the ICAC offers guidance on victim support, forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, and prevention and community education.
The PROTECT Our Children Act of 2022 is supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN).
For a list of ICAC task forces across the United States, click here.