Those who seek sex with children may be prosecuted at a federal level in the future if a bill introduced in Congress last week becomes law.
In the wake of an FBI operation that rescued over 100 children from sex trafficking, Texas Rep. Ted Poe formally announced new legislation to help end what he termed “modern-day slavery,” the Houston Chronicle reported.
The FBI announced that it had saved 100 sexually exploited children in Operation Cross Country, an operation that spanned the breadth of the nation. It led to the arrests of 150 “pimps” who were accused of profiting from the sexual exploitation of minors.
Poe, who is a former state district judge from Humble, introduced the End Sex Trafficking Act of 2013, H.R. 2805, to “ensure that the buyers are subject to the same punishment as the trafficker,” stated the Houston Chronicle.
The bill expands the language of the existing legislation to allow police to carry out interstate prosecutions of those involved in sex trafficking cases.
“Our culture in this country needs to understand that when young girls are forced into prostitution against their will, especially minors, they are not prostitutes, they are victims of crime, and we should regard them as victims of crime,” Poe was quoted as saying.
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., have introduced similar legislation in the Senate, to make it a federal crime to purchase sexual acts from a trafficker.
Almost 100 organizations are supporting the bill. They include Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, Texas CASA and World Vision International.
Federal penalties are typically harsher than those at state level. For example, the Federal penalties for possession of child pornography are extremely harsh. In some cases there are likely to be evidential difficulties in proving someone who seeks out sex with a child was aware she or he was a minor.
It is vital that a person charged in federal court retains a law firm that is familiar with these types of cases and how to obtain the best resolution.