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Sen. Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
September 22, 2006


Experts to Testify on the Effectiveness of U.S. and International Initiatives

(Washington) - Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ), Chairman and Co-Chairman, respectively, of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a hearing on “Protecting Children: The Battle Against Child Pornography and Other Forms of Sexual Exploitation” on September 27, 2006, at 2:00 pm. The hearing will be held in room 2200 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

The hearing will examine U.S. Government efforts to protect children from commercial sexual exploitation, as well as discuss international initiatives by Helsinki Commissioners to combat child pornography and trafficking. Key findings from a recent review of U.S. Government programs designed to combat child sex tourism, child prostitution, child pornography and sex-trafficking of children will first be released at the hearing. Panelists will highlight the shifting trends of child commercial sexual exploitation, including the changing role of technology in these crimes. The testimony is also expected to include a discussion of demand, the proliferation of child pornography, cooperation between civil society and law enforcement, development of legislation, and resources needed to combat these forms of child abuse and exploitation.

Helsinki Commission members will discuss U.S. and international initiatives to combat child pornography and child trafficking in the region covered by the 56-nation Organization for Security and Cooperation Europe (OSCE). A recent survey by the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children revealed that many OSCE countries have significant gaps in their existing legal framework that hamper the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies to combat the pornography networks operating across borders, principally via the Internet.

The results from the Mid-Term Review of the United States on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) will be made public. The Review organized by Shared Hope International, ECPAT-USA and The Protection Project at The Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) assessed efforts by government and civil society taken to combat commercial sexual exploitation of children. In 2007, the Mid-Term Review will be presented at the United Nation’s 3rd World Congress on the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children. 

     Panel One: 

           James Plitt
           Unit Chief
           Cyber Crimes Center
           Immigration and Customs Enforcement
           James E. Finch
           Assistant Director
           Cyber Division
           Federal Bureau of Immigration

      Panel Two: 

           Linda Smith
           Founder and Executive Director 
           Shared Hope International 

           Carol Smolenski
           Executive Director 

           Mohamed Mattar
           Executive Director
           The Protection Project
           Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies

           Ernie Allen
           President and Chief Executive Officer
           National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
           International Center for Missing and Exploited Children

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the U.S. Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Final Act and other commitments of the 56 participating States in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Media Contact: Shelly Han or Mark Kearney
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Chairman Chris Smith and the OSCE ODIHR Director Michael Georg Link shake hands at the Winter Meeting of the OSCE PA in Vienna, Austria. (Feb. 2015)