Maloney Targets Child Sex Predators

May 16, 2001
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-Manhattan, Queens) announced today she will introduce legislation giving federal agents the power to track down sexual predators, targeting those who peddle child pornography, engage in child sex-slave traffic or use travel agencies that arrange international sex tours with minors. Mrs. Maloney introduced this bill with Congresswoman Nancy Johnson (R-CT).

"We need to give law enforcement the tools they need to crack down on these rank sexual predators," Maloney said today. "Children deserve the best protection law enforcement can provide. This legislation will allow the FBI to obtain physical evidence of wrongdoing and will also spare children the often traumatic experience of testifying under oath. The FBI has told us in Congress that gaining the power to wiretap these types of offenders will enormously improve their capacity to track and convict criminals. This legislation will make the difference."

The Child Sex Crimes Wiretapping Act gives the FBI and customs agents the authority to wiretap suspected sex predators and child pornographers. Law enforcement officers say this will lead to the apprehension of offenders before they commit their heinous crimes and also provide virtually iron-clad evidence in court.

Existing law states that federal wiretapping of suspected child sex offenders can only be used in limited instances, such as when a person possesses a hard copy of child pornographic materials. Current law, however, does not give federal agents the authority to wiretap the lines of those they suspect of enticing a child into a sexual relationship or traveling domestically or internationally to have sex with children. The Child Sex Crimes Wiretapping Act will expand the scope of current wiretapping law to add these offenses to the list. A judge would have to approve these wiretaps just as he would those under current law.

The legislation addresses three major problems identified by federal law enforcement officials.

1. Problem: There are several travel agencies in the United States that specialize in arranging illegal "sex tours" with children overseas, according to Customs officials. These arrangements are made over the phone. Authorities currently cannot wiretap under these circumstances.

Bill: Allows wiretapping of customers who use these travel agencies, thereby providing evidence that ultimately could lead to the shutdown of the entire operation.

2. Problem: Americans frequently travel to foreign countries to engage in sexual activities with children, and children from foreign countries are being brought back into the United States as sex slaves by Americans visiting these countries, according to Newsweek and AP reports, respectively.

Bill: Allows agents to wiretap child sex-slave trafficking conversations when an American citizen makes arrangements to bring a child into the U.S. for sexual exploitation.

3. Problem: According to Customs and FBI officials, teenage girls are being lured away from home by so-called "boyfriends" whom they "meet" on the Internet. In reality, these boyfriends, who live in other states, are street pimps who entice these girls into a life of prostitution.

Bill: Allows wiretapping of the pimp's phone calls to learn the location of the rendezvous and rescue the girl before she is forced into prostitution. Evidence can then be used to prosecute the pimp and break up his prostitution ring.