Protect Our Children Act of 2008

Waters said studies indicate 30 to 40 percent of people who view child pornography online are child molesters, that the images make them feel OK about what they’re doing, as if it’s normal because so many other people are doing it too. They sometimes even share tips about how to do it and how to avoid being caught.

Last Monday “The Oprah Winfrey Show” focused on child molestation, providing gut-wrenching detail about how pervasive child pornography trafficking has become in America.

A Cheyenne man, Flint Waters, commander of the Wyoming Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, spoke about new technology that allows his task force to track child pornography images being sent online.

He said 15,000 such images are traded online every day, and that in the past two years 300,000 to 500,000 computers in the United States have sent such images.

Waters said studies indicate 30 to 40 percent of people who view child pornography online are child molesters, that the images make them feel OK about what they’re doing, as if it’s normal because so many other people are doing it too. They sometimes even share tips about how to do it and how to avoid being caught.

The good news is that such task forces exist now in every state, so that Waters can send tips about the most prolific traffickers to them for investigation.

But because there are so many offenders, the task forces can’t go after them all.

A bill now before the Senate, the Protect Our Children Act of 2008, also known as the “Protecting Children from Pornography and Internet Exploitation Act of 2008,” would start a five-year effort to increase the ability of those task forces to respond to the problem.

It would establish a National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program, provide training to local and state task forces and increase their abilities to conduct investigations.

The Senate bill would seek $320 million over the next five years to fund increased law enforcement investigations of child exploitation.

Winfrey said she wants the Senate to declare war on child pornography and molestation, and asked viewers to pressure the Senate to pass the bill before it goes into recess on Sept. 26.

Dedicating $1.6 billion to declare a war to protect our children would be a worthy and timely investment.

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