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Martha Roby leads in passage of bill combating child sex trafficking

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL2)

House Resolution 1862, known as the Global Child Protection Act, would expand the definition of “illicit sexual conduct” to cover “sexual contact.” The small addition to the nation’s law is set to make a big impact: it will allow authorities to crack down on global sex tourism and empower them to punish criminal abusers.

Additionally, the legislation is poised to protect victims under the age of 12 by broadening the sentencing code to ensure that offenses against young children are treated with the same severity as crimes against those between the ages of 12 and 18.

“Loopholes in current law are allowing child predators to evade punishment for their abuse of children in the United States and overseas,” Rep. Roby said during a floor speech. “Certain types of sexual contact with children are not explicitly covered under the criminal definition of ‘illicit sexual conduct.’ This allows child predators engaged in global sex tourism to evade punishment for acts that are clearly abusive.”

Roby credits White House officials and the Justice Department for making the issue a top priority. She also pointed to the contribution of Ivanka Trump, who last week hosted the Congresswoman at a bipartisan roundtable addressing human trafficking.

“I appreciate Ivanka Trump inviting me and my fellow lawmakers to be a part of this exchange,” Roby said. “I believe her involvement and leadership on this issue can be instrumental to achieving results. It also wasn’t lost on me that in his first official act after being sworn-in, Attorney General Sessions presented the President with an executive order strengthening the enforcement of federal law on international trafficking.”

Sex trafficking remains a pervasive issue abroad, but also hits much closer to home. The stretch of I-20 between Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, which is used by over 10 million people each year, has been named as the “Sex Trafficking Superhighway.” Devastatingly, it’s frequently reported to be America’s number one road for human sex trafficking.

The Global Child Protection Act passed the House by a vote of 372-30, and now moves to the Senate for consideration.