Galgiani's Child Exploitation Legislation in Committee

April 28, 2008

Sacramento, CA—Assemblymember Cathleen Galgiani (D- Livingston) at a Capitol press conference today continued her fight to protect children from sexual predators. Galgiani called for passage of Assembly Bill (AB) 1475, which would require computer technicians to report child pornography and abuse. AB 1475 is up for a vote in the Senate Committee on Public Safety April 29.

“Child porn is a $3 billion dollar industry, fueled by images of sexual abuse, rape, and torture of children,” said Assemblymember Galgiani. “With today’s digital technology, perpetrators are able to easily photograph and videotape children being forced into sexual acts, download these images onto their computers, and upload them onto the Internet for everyone to see. We have reached a point of crisis, with tens of thousands of abusers trafficking – worldwide – the most sadistic and brutal child porn images and movies imaginable.”

Current law already requires teachers, firefighters, doctors and others to report child abuse when they suspect as much during the course of their employment. Film processors are required to report child porn and abuse; however, commercial computer technicians are not.

Child Actress Allison Arngrim, best known for her role as “Nellie” on “Little House on the Prairie”, now spokesperson for the National Association to Protect Children, also joined to testify in support of AB 1475. “This is not the 1800’s. This is not “Little House on the Prairie”. This is 2008. Life is now lived on the computer and the Internet. The laws cannot be different than they are in “real life”, explained Arngrim. “The rape and torture of children is real life, not just an image on a screen”.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, child pornography has become a $3 BILLION annual industry. Internet child pornography images have increased 1500% since 1988. More than 20,000 images of child pornography are posted on the Internet EVERY WEEK. Among arrested child pornography possessors, 40% had sexually victimized children.

“This is a common sense approach piece of legislation that will help law enforcement rescue children, and put those who exploit children behind bars” declared Merced County Sheriff Mark N. Pazin. “Every 3 arrests, leads to the recovery of a child who has been victimized.”

Digital photography has practically replaced traditional photography, and the storage and printing of pictures can now be completed entirely through the computer rather than in a photo-printing shop. This ever-growing reality has reduced both the visibility of production, and the risk that child pornographic materials might be discovered and reported by conventional film processors. Laws designed for traditional “print” media are no longer adequate in the digital age.

“AB 1475 will provide us with an additional tool in our fight against child exploitation,” stated Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christensen.

Galgiani concluded, “Times have changed. Today’s world is a brand new digital world. Many policymakers have been in the dark about how severe the child porn epidemic really has become because it has been hiding in the shadows, in the privacy of home computers. We need the help of computer technicians to help us shine the light on child porn industry.”

Supporters include the National Association to Protect Children, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Crime Victims United of California, the California State Sheriffs Association 24 California County Sheriffs, among many others. More information is available at Assemblymember Galgiani’s website, www.assembly.ca.gov/galgiani.

Contact: Reichel Feicht @ (916) 319-2017