The bipartisan legislation improves the process for child pornography victims to seek restitution from defendants and gives child pornography trafficking victims the alternative of a one-time payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund
WASHINGTON- U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced that the Amy, Vicky and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act of 2018 has unanimously passed the Senate and now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law. The bipartisan legislation, led by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and introduced alongside Senators Klobuchar (D-MN), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Pat Toomey (R-PA), improves the process for child pornography victims to seek restitution from defendants and gives child pornography trafficking victims the alternative of a one-time payment from the existing Crime Victims Fund.
“Child pornography and trafficking are unacceptable, and these much needed reforms will help support the victims of these terrible crimes,” Klobuchar said. “The Senate passed this bipartisan legislation unanimously and we will continue the fight to protect trafficking victims.’”
“I’m thrilled the Senate and the House have passed this important bill. This is a momentous day and many years in the making.” Hatch said. “This bipartisan legislation will help provide meaningful assistance for child pornography victims to support their recovery and allow them to reclaim their lives. I am proud of this bill and look forward to seeing it signed into law.”
“Sexual abuse and exploitation of children are indefensible and heinous crimes. Victims like Amy will be affected for the rest of their lives,” said Toomey. “I’m pleased that the House and Senate came together and passed this bill to improve access to restitution for victims from the sick individuals who produce, distribute, and possess this exploitative filth.”
The bill is named after victims depicted in some of the most widely circulated child pornography series in the world. “Amy,” “Vicky,” and “Andy” all strongly support the bill.
Additional cosponsors include Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), John Boozman (R-AR), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John McCain (R-AZ), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Bob Casey (D-PA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), John Hoeven (R- ND), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), John Kennedy (R-LA), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Ed Markey (D-MA), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The Amy, Vicky, and Andy Child Pornography Victim Assistance Act includes the following provisions:
- Findings that focus on the unique nature of child pornography crime and how it harms victims
- A more relevant and predictable definition of “full amount of a victim’s losses”
- Child pornography production: victims receive full amount of their total losses
- Child pornography trafficking: victims receive from each defendant a minimum of $3,000
- Victims of child pornography trafficking are entitled to receive a one-time payment of $35,000 in defined monetary assistance (which is indexed to inflation) from a Child Pornography Victims Reserve (CPVR) within the federal Crime Victims Fund (CVF)
- Caps fees for attorneys representing a victim seeking defined monetary assistance at 15%
- The court must assess defendants in child pornography cases to contribute to the CPVR: up to $17,000 for possession, up to $35,000 for distribution, and up to $50,000 for production crimes
- The CPVR will be capped at $10 million
- Victims of child pornography trafficking will enjoy the same priority in restitution payments as victims in other restitution statutes
- Child pornography victims have equal rights with criminal defendants to review the child pornography depicting them at a government facility or court for the purposes of furnishing expert testimony
- The Department of Justice must deliver a report to Congress within two years after passage about the Act’s implementation including an assessment of the funding levels for the Child Pornography Victims Reserve
Additionally, the Amy, Vicky, and Andy Act has been endorsed by the National Organization for Victim Assistance, National Association of Attorneys General, National Crime Victims Law Institute, National District Attorneys Association, National Center for Victims of Crime, National Association of VOCA Assistance Administrators, National Crime Victims Bar Association, CHILD USA, RAINN, APSAC in partnership with The New York Foundling, Enough is Enough, Thorn, Academy on Violence and Abuse, DV LEAP, Utah Crime Victims Legal Clinic, Utah Coalition against Sexual Assault, and the Children’s Justice Fund.
As a member of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce Committees, Klobuchar has been a leader in the fight to combat human trafficking. Last year, the bipartisan Abolish Human Trafficking Act she introduced with Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) passed the Senate. The legislation strengthens and reauthorizes key programs that support survivors of human trafficking and provide resources to federal, state, and local law enforcement officials on the front lines of the fight against modern-day slavery. The bipartisan Trafficking Victims Protection Act Klobuchar and Cornyn introduced with Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) also passed the Senate last year. The legislation would establish and reauthorize critical programs to prevent human trafficking, promote justice for survivors, provide services to victims, and increase federal coordination to enhance the federal government’s response to the crisis of exploitation. In addition, Klobuchar and Cornyn authored the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, a 2015 law that increased the resources and tools available for combating human trafficking in the United States. The law ensures that American law enforcement is equipped to fight this crime, while helping victims rebuild their lives by using fines and penalties against their exploiters to fund restorative services and compensation.