AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — U.S. Sen. John Cornyn and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott celebrated a new federal law to fight child pornography, sexual predators and human trafficking that President Barack Obama signed Friday.
Cornyn sponsored the Child Protection Act, which increases the penalties for child pornography, protects child witnesses and gives U.S. marshals new authority to obtain time-sensitive documents. The law also extends federal funding for regional Internet task forces that focus on cyber-crimes.
"It also allows the task forces to prioritize cases where there is strong evidence that the suspect has engaged in human trafficking for the actual production of child pornography," Cornyn said. "I'm glad to see the president quickly singed this measure into law to bring greater justice and protection to victims and allow law enforcement to take immediate steps to stop child predators."
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., co-sponsored the measure. U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, R-San Antonio, and Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz sponsored it in the U.S. House.
Cornyn said the president's signature showed that common sense still trumps partisanship.
"Bipartisanship is living and thriving on many issues like this, where I think we can all agree this is not a controversial matter unless you happen to be a child pornographer," he said.
Abbott said the bipartisan law will increase the effectiveness of his Cyber-Crimes Unit, which is a national leader in finding and prosecuting child predators on the Internet. Since 2003, the unit has arrested 304 suspects for using child pornography and the Fugitive Unit has arrested 1,247 sex offenders for violating parole.
"Predators that are prosecuted federally are now going to face tougher sentences," Abbott said.
The Attorney General's office operates the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force for 134 counties in southern Texas, using federal funds to help local law enforcement agencies that do not have enough money to operate independently.