This week, the House passed the Senate version of a bill that would help child sex trafficking abuse victims. Florida Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar (R) and Philadelphia Rep. Deborah Ross (D) led the bipartisan legislation, which also included California Rep. Eric Swalwell (D) and Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R).
The bill, called the Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act, was directed to President Joe Biden’s (D) desk for him to sign. According to a press release from Salazar’s office, the bill “eliminates the federal civil statute of limitations for child sexual abuse claims and allows certain survivors of child sexual abuse to seek civil damages in federal court, regardless of how long it takes to prosecute and disclose the abuse.”
In a statement, Rep. Salazar praised the bill, commenting that “victims of child sexual abuse, exploitation, and sex trafficking have gone through unfathomable trauma.” Adding that the country “must have zero tolerance for the perpetrators of these horrific crimes,” Salazar shared that she’s proud “that this vital legislation has been passed to ensure that the vile humans who take advantage of the most vulnerable do not get away unpunished.”
The press release from Salazar informs that, under the current federal law, “the statute of limitations allows for prosecution of criminal offenses related to child sexual abuse at any time while the child victim is alive or 10 years after the offense.” However, the statutes of limitations has been an issue for survivors under the federal civil remedy statute.
In 2018, congress voted to increase the statute of limitations for federal civil claims that extends it until the victim turns 28 or until 10 years after the violation or harm has been discovered, “but this statute of limitations still does not reflect current statistics on when childhood sexual abuse is reported.”