WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar has announced that bipartisan legislation she introduced with a bipartisan group of senators, the PROTECT Our Children Act, has passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation reauthorizes the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force Program, a national network of 61 coordinated task forces that combat child exploitation across the country. The PROTECT Our Children Act was also introduced by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Dean Heller (R-NV).

“The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program is critical to combating child exploitation and keeping communities safe in Minnesota and across the nation,” said Klobuchar. “This vote brings us one step closer to passing this bipartisan legislation to ensure that law enforcement agencies can continue to investigate and prosecute those who exploit children on the internet.”

The PROTECT Our Children Act, originally passed in 2008, authorized the ICAC Task Force Program, a coordinated group of task forces representing 3,500 federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies engaged in reactive and proactive investigations across the country. The ICAC aids local and state law enforcement in the creation and implementation of effective responses to technology-facilitated child sexual exploitation and Internet crimes against children. In order to develop effective response strategies to online child victimization, the ICAC offers guidance on victim support, forensic and investigative components, training and technical assistance, and prevention and community education.

Organizations who support the PROTECT Our Children Act include the National Association to Protect Children (PROTECT), National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network), National Children’s Alliance, Rights4Girls, Shared Hope, Fraternal Order of Police, National Association of Police Organizations, Sergeants Benevolent Association, Major County Sheriffs of America, Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, National Sheriffs Association, Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, National District Attorneys Association, National Criminal Justice Association, and Major City Chiefs Police Association.