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H.R. 4573 (113th): International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking

The text of the bill below is as of May 6, 2014 (Introduced).


I

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4573

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 6, 2014

(for himself, Mrs. Ellmers, and Mr. Wolf) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and in addition to the Committee on the Judiciary, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned

A BILL

To protect children from exploitation, especially sex trafficking in tourism, by providing advance notice of intended travel by registered child-sex offenders outside the United States to the government of the country of destination, requesting foreign governments to notify the United States when a known child-sex offender is seeking to enter the United States, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title and table of contents

(a)

Short title

This Act may be cited as the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Demand for Child Sex Trafficking .

(b)

Table of contents

The table of contents for this Act is as follows:

Sec. 1. Short title and table of contents.

Sec. 2. Findings.

Sec. 3. Definitions.

Sec. 4. Angel Watch Center.

Sec. 5. Authority to restrict passports.

Sec. 6. Sense of Congress provisions.

Sec. 7. Enhancing the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Sec. 8. Assistance to foreign countries to meet minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.

Sec. 9. Rules of construction.

2.

Findings

Congress finds the following:

(1)

Megan Nicole Kanka, who was 7 years old, was abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered in 1994, in the State of New Jersey by a violent predator living across the street from her home. Unbeknownst to Megan Kanka and her family, he had been convicted previously of a sex offense against a child.

(2)

In 1996, Congress adopted Megan’s Law ( Public Law 104–145 ) as a means to encourage States to protect children by identifying the whereabouts of sex offenders and providing the means to monitor their activities.

(3)

Law enforcement reports indicate that known child-sex offenders are traveling internationally, and that the criminal background of such individuals may not be known to local law enforcement prior to their arrival.

(4)

The commercial sexual exploitation of minors in child sex trafficking and pornography is a global phenomenon. The International Labour Organization has estimated that 1.8 million children worldwide are victims of child sex trafficking and pornography each year.

(5)

Child sex tourism, where an individual travels to a foreign country and engages in sexual activity with a child in that country, is a form of child exploitation and, where commercial, child sex trafficking.

(6)

According to research conducted by The Protection Project of The Johns Hopkins University Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, sex tourists from the United States who target children form a significant percentage of child sex tourists in some of the most significant destination countries for child sex tourism.

(7)

In order to protect children, it is essential that United States law enforcement be able to identify child-sex offenders in the United States who are traveling abroad and child-sex offenders from other countries entering the United States. Such identification requires cooperative efforts between the United States and foreign governments. In exchange for providing notice of child-sex offenders traveling to the United States, foreign authorities will expect United States authorities to provide reciprocal notice of child-sex offenders traveling to their countries.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Appropriate congressional committees

Except as otherwise provided, the term appropriate congressional committees means—

(A)

the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Homeland Security of the House of Representatives; and

(B)

the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on the Judiciary, and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate.

(2)

Center

The term Center means the Angel Watch Center established pursuant to section 4(a).

(3)

Child-sex offender

(A)

In general

The term child-sex offender means a sex offender described in paragraph (2), (3), or (4) of section 111 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16911 ) who is convicted of a child-sex offense.

(B)

Definition of convicted

In this paragraph, the term convicted has the meaning given the term in paragraph (8) of section 111 of such Act.

(4)

Child-sex offense

(A)

In general

The term child-sex offense means a specified offense against a minor as defined in paragraph (7) of section 111 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16911 ), including—

(i)

an offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving kidnapping;

(ii)

an offense (unless committed by a parent or guardian) involving false imprisonment;

(iii)

solicitation to engage in sexual conduct;

(iv)

use in a sexual performance;

(v)

solicitation to practice prostitution;

(vi)

video voyeurism as described in section 1801 of title 18, United States Code;

(vii)

possession, production, or distribution of child pornography;

(viii)

criminal sexual conduct involving a minor, or the use of the Internet to facilitate or attempt such conduct; and

(ix)

any conduct that by its nature is a sex offense against a minor.

(B)

Foreign convictions

A foreign conviction is not a child-sex offense for purposes of this Act to the same extent and in the same manner as a foreign conviction is not a sex offense for purposes of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (42 U.S.C. 16911) as described in section 111(5)(B) of such Act.

(5)

Jurisdiction

The term jurisdiction means any of the following:

(A)

A State.

(B)

The District of Columbia.

(C)

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

(D)

Guam.

(E)

American Samoa.

(F)

The Northern Mariana Islands.

(G)

The United States Virgin Islands.

(H)

To the extent provided in, and subject to the requirements of, section 127 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16927 ), a federally recognized Indian tribe.

(6)

Minor

The term minor means an individual who has not attained the age of 18 years.

(7)

Passport card

The term passport card means a document issued by the Department of State pursuant to section 7209 of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 ( Public Law 108–458 ; 8 U.S.C. 1185 note).

4.

Angel Watch Center

(a)

Establishment

Not later than 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall establish within the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) of the Department of Homeland Security a Center, to be known as the Angel Watch Center, to carry out the activities specified in subsection (d).

(b)

Leadership

The Center shall be headed by the Director of ICE, in collaboration with the Commissioner of United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and in consultation with the Attorney General.

(c)

Members

The Center shall consist of the following:

(1)

The Director of ICE.

(2)

The Commissioner of CBP.

(3)

Individuals who are designated as analysts in ICE or CBP.

(4)

Individuals who are designated as program managers in ICE or CBP.

(d)

Activities

(1)

In general

The Center shall carry out the following activities:

(A)

Receive information on travel by child-sex offenders.

(B)

Transmit notice of impending or current international travel by child-sex offenders to the Secretary of State, accompanied by an advisory regarding whether or not the period of validity of the passport of the child-sex offender should be limited to one year or such period of time as the Secretary of State shall determine appropriate.

(C)

Establish a system to maintain and archive all relevant information, including the response of destination countries to notifications under subsection (e) where available, and decisions not to transmit notification abroad.

(D)

Establish an annual review process to ensure that the Center is consistent in procedures to provide notification to destination countries or not to provide notification to destination countries, as appropriate.

(2)

Information required

The United States Marshals Service’s National Sex Offender Targeting Office shall make available to the Center information on travel by child-sex offenders in a timely manner for purposes of carrying out the activities described in paragraph (1) and subsection (e).

(e)

Additional activity related to transmission of notice

(1)

In general

The Center may transmit notice of impending or current international travel of child-sex offenders to the country or countries of destination of such child-sex offenders, including to the visa-issuing agent or agents in the United States of such country or countries, as follows:

(A)

The notice may be transmitted through such means as determined appropriate by the Center, including through an ICE attaché.

(B)

If the Center has reason to believe that transmission of the notice poses a risk to the life or well-being of the child-sex offender, the Center shall make every reasonable effort to issue a warning to the child-sex offender of such risk.

(2)

Sunset

The authority of paragraph (1) shall terminate with respect to a child-sex offender beginning as of the close of the last day of the registration period of such child-sex offender under section 115 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16915 ).

(f)

Complaint review

The Center shall establish a mechanism to receive complaints from child-sex offenders affected by notifications of destination countries of such child-sex offenders under subsection (e).

(g)

Consultations

The Center shall seek to engage in ongoing consultations with—

(1)

nongovernmental organizations, including faith-based organizations, that have experience and expertise in identifying and preventing child sex tourism and rescuing and rehabilitating minor victims of international sexual exploitation and trafficking;

(2)

the governments of countries interested in cooperating in the creation of an international sex offender travel notification system or that are primary destination or source countries for international sex tourism; and

(3)

Internet service and software providers regarding available and potential technology to facilitate the implementation of an international sex offender travel notification system, both in the United States and in other countries.

(h)

Technical assistance

The Secretary of Homeland Security and the Secretary of State may provide technical assistance to foreign authorities in order to enable such authorities to participate more effectively in the notification program system established under this section.

5.

Authority to restrict passports

(a)

In general

The Secretary of State is authorized to—

(1)

limit to 1 year or such period of time as the Secretary of State shall determine appropriate the period of validity of a passport issued to a child-sex offender; and

(2)

revoke the passport or passport card of an individual who has been convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a child-sex offense.

(b)

Limitation for return to united states

Notwithstanding subsection (a), in no case shall a United States citizen convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction in a foreign country of a child-sex offense be precluded from entering the United States due to a passport revocation under such subsection.

(c)

Reapplication

An individual whose passport or passport card was revoked pursuant to subsection (a)(2) may reapply for a passport or a passport card at any time after such individual has returned to the United States.

(d)

Time limitation

The time limitation on validity or revocation of a passport or passport card under subsection (a) may not exceed the applicable registration period for the child-sex offender to register pursuant to section 115 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16915 ).

6.

Sense of Congress provisions

(a)

Bilateral agreements

It is the sense of Congress that the President should negotiate memoranda of understanding or other bilateral agreements with foreign governments to further the purposes of this Act and the amendments made by this Act, including by—

(1)

establishing systems to receive and transmit notices as required by title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16901 et seq. ); and

(2)

establishing mechanisms for private companies and nongovernmental organizations to report on a voluntary basis suspected child pornography or exploitation to foreign governments, the nearest United States embassy in cases in which a possible United States citizen may be involved, or other appropriate entities.

(b)

Notification to the United States of child-Sex offenses committed abroad

It is the sense of Congress that the President should formally request foreign governments to notify the United States when a United States citizen has been arrested, convicted, sentenced, or completed a prison sentence for a child-sex offense in the foreign country.

7.

Enhancing the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking

Section 108(b)(4) of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 ( 22 U.S.C. 7106(b)(4) ) is amended by adding at the end before the period the following: , including cases involving nationals of that country who are suspected of engaging in severe forms of trafficking of persons in another country.

8.

Assistance to foreign countries to meet minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking

The President is strongly encouraged to exercise the authorities of section 134 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 ( 22 U.S.C. 2152d ) to provide assistance to foreign countries directly, or through nongovernmental and multilateral organizations, for programs, projects, and activities, including training of law enforcement entities and officials, designed to establish systems to identify sex offenders and provide and receive notification of child sex offender international travel.

9.

Rules of construction

(a)

Department of Justice

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preclude or alter the jurisdiction or authority of the Department of Justice under the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16901 et seq. ) or any other provision law, or to affect the work of the United States Marshals Service with INTERPOL.

(b)

Angel Watch Center

Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preclude the Angel Watch Center from transmitting notice on sex offenders as defined in section 111 of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 ( 42 U.S.C. 16911 ).