By Pacific Island Times News Staff
Guam Del. James Moylan has introduced a bill that would raise to 25 years the minimum prison term for those convicted of child trafficking to “convey the serious nature of their crime.” Current law sets different minimum prison terms for child trafficking depending on the victim’s age: 15 years if the victim is under 14, and 10 years if the victim is between 14 and 17.
Moylan noted that “a child is still a minor and there should not be differentiation.”
The CHILD Act of 2023 is co-sponsored by Reps. DonDavis (NC), Buddy Carter (GA-01), Diana Harshbarger (TN), Don Bacon (NE) and Aumua Amata Radewagen (AS).
“My message is clear, sex trafficking is a heinous crime that will not be tolerated. Current laws are too soft on these criminals. I am committed to ensuring stricter laws and harsher punishments are implemented for anyone who harms innocent children,” Moylan said.
Child sex trafficking remains a pressing issue in the United States. In 2021, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received over 17,200 reports of child sex trafficking in all 50 U.S. states, affecting every type of community including cities, rural areas, and tribal land. According to an NCMEC report from 2021, out of the 25,000 missing runaway children, one out of six are likely to be victims of sex trafficking.
Offenders often target vulnerable children who are of lower income, live in dangerous circumstances, and seek out better lives for themselves. Victims come from all backgrounds and become trapped in a never-ending cycle of threats, abuse, false promises, isolation, shame and debt.
The bill’s authors said that more stringent penalties would bring justice for the victims and families affected by child trafficking and send a strong statement to traffickers. “Anyone who is found guilty of trafficking children must face justice,” Davis said.
Congress must protect our children from exploitation, sexual abuse, and other unspeakably evil acts at all costs.”
“Human trafficking is one of the greatest crimes imaginable, yet it is a sad reality that we must defeat. Thank you to Congressman Moylan for his leadership on this important issue as we fight for the lives and futures of vulnerable children,” said Radewagen said.
“Those engaged in trafficking innocent children and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” said Bacon. “Anyone under the age of 18 is particularly vulnerable, and we should be making every effort to protect minors from this evil, and raising the mandatory minimum sentencing will help protect children."
“Joe Biden’s open borders policies continue to aid cartels and criminals in their human trafficking operations, and are putting the lives of American children at risk,” Harshbarger said.
“Stealing a child’s future is an unforgivable act. This bill will bring justice to the millions of innocent families and victims who have been abused by human traffickers by ensuring that these criminals are punished to the fullest extent possible,” Carter said.