Most of us are familiar with the Jared Fogle case involving child exploitation and child pornography. Jared was caught with the possession of over 600 images of child pornography. On top of that, he had numerous sexual encounters with minors between the ages of 12 and 17 years old. As one of his punishments, Jared paid his “victims” $100,000 each, which totaled $1.4 million. Jared is currently serving a 15-year sentence. But is that even a good enough punishment for the crime that was committed?
Senate Bill 14, authored by Sen. Randall Head, was recently passed to up the convicts of child exploitation and child pornography crimes. This takes child exploitation crimes to a level 5 felony and child pornography crimes to a level 6 felony. Yes, many of you may read this and say, “why is this relevant?” or “this is not an issue that even happens in Indiana, let alone the U.S.” Unfortunately, this is not the case at all.
There have been quite a few reported cases of teens and children being trafficked in Indianapolis. Some of these young girls are “pimped out” by their own mothers and families. I am shocked by the fact that this is an issue underreported here in Indiana.
Through research on this topic, I was unable to find any true statistics because they place this issue under child abuse and child neglect. This is important to talk about. If we continue to sweep this issue under the rug and not talk about it, how are we very going to protect these children from these disgusting crimes?
How are we going to give a voice to children and empower them when we turn a deaf ear to issues that no person at any age should ever have to experience? We speak a lot about how children are the future of this country. For our future to be “successful,” we need to protect, care, educate, and empower our youth. The passing of this bill is a step in the right direction.