Wagner Speaks in Support of International Megan’s Law
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in support of H.R. 515, bipartisan legislation that aims to prevent child exploitation and other sexual crimes both in the United States and worldwide. Wagner is an original cosponsor of this legislation, which passed the House today.
Watch the Congresswoman’s remarks here:
Full Remarks as Prepared:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 515, the International Megan’s Law to Prevent Child Exploitation.
I’d like to thank Congressman Chris Smith for introducing this important legislation to protect innocent children from the evils of sexual predators, in the United States and worldwide.
As a mother who raised three beautiful children, I can tell you that the constant concern for their safety and protection never goes away. When they were young, I worried if they were safe at the playground down the street, if they were safe at the shopping mall, or Movie Theater.
Named after a young girl who was kidnapped, raped and murdered at just 7 years old by her neighbor, Megan’s Law and the public knowledge of predators in our communities have been critical tools in protecting our children and easing some of the many fears parents feel every single day.
I cannot fathom the anger and anguish felt by Megan’s parents and all parents whose children fall prey to such sick predators.
I would do anything to protect my children and all children from sexual predators and I feel blessed that my colleagues and I are in a position where we can make a difference.
We will be able to better identify and scrutinize sex offenders’ activity, ensuring that they do not engage in the ghastly practice of “sex tourism,” either in our own neighborhoods or in any neighborhood around the world.
The U.S. must take a leading role as a global defender of children from sexual abuse. Often planning their trips around locations where the most vulnerable children can be found, sex offenders should not be allowed to use the anonymity provided by foreign travel to help hide their hideous crimes.
A 2010 Government Accountability Office report showed that, in a single year, at least 4,500 registered sex offenders received U.S. passports to travel internationally. This is absolutely unacceptable.
During my time as a United States Ambassador, I was exposed firsthand to the horrors of child sexual abuse and human trafficking on an international level.
Mr. Speaker, as elected members of Congress we must stand up for the powerless and we must provide a voice for the voiceless, and today we are doing just that.
Passing the International Megan’s Law, which will provide advance notice of foreign travel by registered sex offenders, is critical.
We owe it to the innocent angels like Megan to take these crimes out of the shadows, and do everything we can to prevent future crime both in the United States and across the globe.
Today I will vote to pass the International Megan’s Law and I encourage my colleagues to join me in providing protection for potential victims world-wide and greater peace of mind for those who love them.
Thank you, I yield back.