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Posts Tagged ‘Child Exploitation Act of 2008’

Do you remember when I urged you to contact your congressmen to pass the Protect Our Children Act? Our efforts are already bearing fruit. I received the following email from the National Association to Protect Children, which is the organization that provided me with specific information about how to get that bill passed into law. To learn more about this wonderful organization, click here.

The call from the police officer came late at night. His voice cracking, and tears in his eyes, he said he had just carried a three year old girl out of her home in his arms. In handcuffs was her “father”… a monster who had committed unspeakable crimes.

He was calling to thank PROTECT for making that child rescue possible.

Now we’re thanking you.

New proof is rolling in from the U.S. Justice Department that PROTECT members get children protected…

Thanks to a major PROTECT victory last February in Congress, 124 very special jobs are being created across America right now. These jobs, being filled as this message is written, are dedicated solely to rescuing children from the horror of child pornographers and sexual predators.

That’s 124 new warriors… 124 new soldiers in the war to protect our children. Each will do his or her part to work thousands of new cases, bringing down an iron curtain between predatory pedophiles and tens of thousands of child victims.

We’ll be watching and reporting.

What will never be reported are the countless boys and girls who will be given a chance to flourish and grow up happy, free from abuse, because of you.

Without PROTECT members, these 124 new soldiers would simply not exist. The investigations would never get started. Arrests would never be made. Children would never be rescued. In a world full of “feel-good” talk about children, I thought you would want to know this concrete proof that your investment in PROTECT is paying off.

You did this, PROTECT members. And I’m so proud to be on your side.

–David Keith

PROTECT

Image credit: National Association to Protect Children

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Those of you who follow this blog know that I have been advocating heavily for the passage of the Protect Our Children Act, also known as Senate Bills 1738 and 3344. I wrote about the importance of this legislation for abused children in all of these posts:

The Senate just passed the bill!!!!!!! See this article: Protect Our Children Act Passes Senate!

I can’t find any further details online yet, but I wanted you to know that we made a difference. It did not look like the Senate was going to do the right thing, but we child abuse survivors rallied along with other U.S. citizens, and the Senate heard us. Thanks to us, law enforcement will now have the funds to track down child predators and save abused children from being abused on camera.

Here are the details I received in an email from the National Association to Protect Children:

Just minutes ago, Congress passed the PROTECT Our Children Act.

It was a long, hard campaign… one that started with committed PROTECT members like you and then grew to over half a million Americans after it was featured on the Oprah Winfrey show. Many Washington insiders said we would never win. We wanted you to be the first to know that we did!

As our campaign showed America, law enforcement now knows how to locate and stop hundreds of thousands of criminals who assault children and traffic in child pornography. But despite years of empty rhetoric from politicians, less than 2% of these cases are even being investigated. That begins to change today, with the passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act.
In the coming days, we’ll share many of the details about this landmark bill and how it was passed. But we didn’t want you to wait to hear this news. Please take time today to celebrate what we’ve accomplished together, because this never would have happened without you!

–The Staff and Volunteers at PROTECT

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write to your senators. We did something good today. We did for abused children today what should have been done for us. We made a difference.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I wrote about Senate Bills 1738 and 3344 last week in the following posts:

I was quite blunt about my disgust over the Democrats and the Republicans using abused children as pawns in their own political games. Thank goodness, others are disgusted with this as well, and they are doing something about it.

If you are as disturbed as I am about the political games, please click over to the following site:

Don’t let the PROTECT Our Children Act Die!

It does not matter if you are a Republican or a Democrat. This issue transcends politics. The issue is protecting children, and everyone, whether a Republican or a Democrat, should care about that.

The link has a proposed email to send to two senators who have the power to get a child protection bill passed. It does not have to be Senate Bill 1738 or Senate Bill 3344 — We just want the legislation passed. This email tells both sides to get it together. You can also tailor the email to say anything that you, personally, want to add.

Here is the proposed email, which you can alter yourself on that site before you send it:

Children who are victims of child pornography and sexual abuse don’t care about Senate procedure… they just want help. I’m writing to ask that you please set aside Senate concerns and pass the PROTECT Our Children Act before it’s too late.

Senator Coburn, if a compromise to the SAFE Act can be worked out that the Senate will pass, it will be because of your determination. However, if it cannot, I hope that you will not hold up passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act, which could save many children.

Senator Reid, I know that as Majority Leader, you hold the ultimate power over whether this landmark legislation passes… or dies. The PROTECT Our Children Act now has 52 Senate sponsors, and a vote on the Senate floor would pass by a landslide!

Senators, please, don’t let the Senate go home without passage of the PROTECT Our Children Act. America is watching… and counting on your leadership.

Please help us pressure the Senate to pass legislation to protect our children. This isn’t about politics — it is about children.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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This week, I have been writing about Senate Bill 1738, also known as the Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008, which Oprah profiled on her show on Monday. To me, it was such a no-brainer to pass this bill, so I have been taken aback by all of the controversy surrounding Senate Bill 1738 and the Oprah show.

Apparently, the Democrats and Republicans have decided to get into a p@$$ing match over whose version of the bill will be passed into law. People are pointing out that Oprah supports Senate Bill 1738, Barak Obama, and Joe Biden.

Let me be clear – I am a card-carrying Republican, so nobody can make those claims about me. However, that is going to change if the Republicans vote down Senate Bill 1738 as part of their political agenda. I cannot and will not support a party that sacrifices our children for their own political agenda.

According to Oprah Criticized for Senate Bill 1738, Unrelated to GOP Boycott, the Democrats are trying to bundle Senate Bill 1738 (which was submitted by Senator Joe Biden) with a bunch of unrelated legislation that the Republicans will not support. Meanwhile, Senator Tom Colburn M.D. worked with Senator John McCain to write a similar bill, Senate Bill 3344, called the Securing Adolescents from Exploitation-Online (SAFE) Act of 2007, which was also voted down. So, we have both parties sacrificing our country’s children for the sake of their own political agendas.

Abused children are not pawns in the big political game – they are children whose lives are a living hell, and it is apparently going to stay that way as the Democrats and Republicans are using abused children’s very deep pain to further their own political agendas. This makes me nauseous. Voters need to take a very strong stand that we will not sacrifice our children for their political posturing.

I did not need to watch the Oprah show to know how abused and exploited children are treated. I lived it.

++++ graphic sexual abuse and animal rape triggers ++++

I was eight years old. I was taken from my bed at night and driven to a remote location. I was stripped naked and laid down on a table under the stars in the woods. I was shivering, not only from the cold but from sheer terror. These people had already slaughtered my dog right in front of me and threatened to do the same to my sister if I ever told. I was not going to resist, especially with my sister present that night.

They brought out a dog – a tan boxer. They pulled my legs apart and invited the dog to rape me vaginally. It did. Cameras were clicking as the dog did this to me. I couldn’t see past the flashbulbs in the dark.

Who knows how many perverts saw those pictures? For all I know, they are still in circulation today. Nobody saved me from these people, and that was far from the only time I was photographed being sexually assaulted.

According to Oprah’s guest, he only has the manpower to follow up on 2% of the leads. He chooses the 2% by those that law enforcement is most likely to catch. My photographs were taken in the dark, not in a bedroom like the man discussed on Oprah’s show. My picture would have fallen in the 98% pile.

And, thanks to the Republicans and Democrats, that is where my picture would stay. While they pointed finger at each other and ultimately accomplished nothing, I would be pulled out of my bed at night again … and again … and again to be raped, tortured, and exploited on camera for perverts all over the world to view and use in their own sick fantasies.

The children who are being exploited daily cannot speak for themselves, but I can speak for them. Those children need to be saved. I don’t care if it costs $6.30 or $89.59 for a family of four, depending upon which version of the bill is voted into law. (See Oprah Criticized for Senate Bill 1738, Unrelated to GOP Boycott.) We need to save our children.

I was only eight years old when that dog raped me on camera. Isn’t saving an eight-year-old little girl from years of exploitation worth $100 a family? If it was your child being raped on camera, wouldn’t you pay $100 to save him or her?

Please write to your congressmen and tell them to pass a bill to enable law enforcement to stop child predators. I don’t care if they pass Senate Bill 1738 or Senate Bill 3344 – I just want one passed.

Hey, here’s a novel concept. How about working together for once and focusing on saving the children? I will be watching my Congressmen. If a child exploitation bill is not passed into law this year, I will be voting no to every single representative of mine who is running for reelection, regardless of party affiliation.

*** Updated 9/23/08 — See Update on the Protect Our Children Act for a way to help pressure the Senate into passing the legislation to protect children without having to get into party politics. We need to act fast. ***

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Photo Credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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I watched Oprah’s show on Senate Bill 1738: Child Protection Act yesterday. All I can say is, “Wow!!” Good job, Oprah!!

Oprah knocked that ball right out of the park. I would not be surprised if Senators from all over the country have their inboxes and mailboxes flooded with support of Senate Bill 1738.

I did not know this when I wrote my post yesterday, but we really need the Senate to hear this bill before they recess at the end of the month. So, time is of the essence. Don’t wait – send a message to your senators today.

You can email your senators by going to this link. Select your state from the pull-down menu. The website will provide you with the contact information for both of your senators. You can send them a snail mail letter, place a phone call, or send them an email by clicking on the link. Just contact them!

Back to Oprah’s show – Nothing in what she shared surprised me due to all that I suffered as a child as well as the stories of other abuse survivors that I have heard over the years. However, I did hear “new” information about ways that some of these child predators groom the children for abuse.

Child predators provide one another with “how to” instructions for abusing children of different ages. They create sexually-explicit “training videos” in which they make cartoon characters do sexual acts between a child character and an adult cartoon character. It is really sick stuff.

One of Oprah’s guests was a man who invented a new software program that is very effective in tracking down child predators who distribute child pornography over the Internet. She also had three teenage girls on the show who were victims of the same predator. That predator was caught through this software. I think they said that the predator had posted over 800 photos and videos of child abuse involving multiple girls.

The man who tracks down predators through his software said that he only has the man power to follow up on around 2% of the leads. This is where Senate Bill 1738 comes into play. That bill would appropriate up to one billion dollars toward resources that focus exclusively on catching these child predators and saving those children.

Nothing can be done for me at this point in my life. I suffered from child pornography and severe abuse. Nobody saved me, but I can save someone else. My heart goes out to the children who are living in the middle of the h@#$ that I endured throughout my childhood. No child should have to live that way.

We child abuse survivors have been looking for a way to make a difference. This is one way to do it. Please, please, please click on this link and contact your senators today.

*** Updated 9/23/08 — See Update on the Protect Our Children Act for a way to help pressure the Senate into passing the legislation to protect children without having to get into party politics. We need to act fast. ***

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Be sure to watch today’s Oprah show. She is going to be exploring “Internet Predators: How Bad is It?” Here is the description of the episode from her website:

No one knows how bad it really is or [how] fast it spreads…it’s time we all found out. Online sex predators—we’ve got to change the law.

One issue she will be covering is a proposed change in the law. The Senate is considering Senate Bill 1738, which would appropriate millions of dollars toward fighting Internet kiddie porn. Here is a summary of the bill, which is also known as the Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008:

A bill to establish a Special Counsel for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction within the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, to improve the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, to increase resources for regional computer forensic labs, and to make other improvements to increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute predators. – Govtrack.us

The statistics in the bill are disturbing but not surprising to me. The bill cites research by the Department of Justice, the University of New Hampshire, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that found that those arrested for possession of child pornography included the following:

  • 83% have images of children 6-12 years old
  • 39% have images of children 3-5 years old
  • 19% have images of children under the age of 3 years old

See Sec. 2 Findings under subsection (2) in Senate Bill 1738.

It gets worse.

The images and videos being trafficked typically depict sexual assaults that are both graphic and brutal. The same research indicates that 80 percent of known child pornography possessors have images of children being sexually penetrated and 21 percent have images depicting children bound, gagged, blindfolded, or ‘‘otherwise enduring sadistic sex.’’ Just 1 percent restricted their collecting to images of simple child nudity.

See Sec. 2 Findings under subsection (3) in Senate Bill 1738.

These people are not only taking nude photographs of children. They rape every orifice. They take pictures of children being sexually assaulted by animals. This type of abuse is not limited to older children. Very young children, even toddlers, are photographed experiencing this type of severe sexual abuse.

Every single person reading this blog needs to contact your senator in support of this bill. As someone who was once a victim of a kiddie porn ring, I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is that we invest money in stopping these kiddie porn rings from continuing to hurt innocent children.

Kiddie porn has been a problem for decades, and it has only gotten worse. While the Internet has brought many positives into our lives, it has also enabled kiddie porn rings to more easily distribute their pornography. This needs to stop. The Combating Child Exploitation Act of 2008 is a good step in the right direction.

*** Updated 9/23/08 — See Update on the Protect Our Children Act for a way to help pressure the Senate into passing the legislation to protect children without having to get into party politics. We need to act fast. ***

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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