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PROTECT Act of 2003

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The PROTECT Act was signed into law by President George W. Bush on April 30, 2003

"No child should ever have to experience the terror of abduction, or worse... This law marks important progress in the protection of America's children."

Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2003, Book I)
Remarks on Signing the Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003
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"PROTECT" is a backronym which stands for "Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today." This act marked important progress in the protection of America's children, and gave law enforcement authorities valuable new tools to prevent, deter, investigate, prosecute and punish violent crimes committed against children as well as strengthening programs, and addressing deficiencies in Federal sentencing policies and practices.  President George W. Bush greets Tamara Brooks after signing the S. 151, PROTECT Act of 2003, in the Rose Garden Wednesday, April 30, 2003. Brooks, 17, was rescued after an AMBER Alert was issued throughout Orange County, Calif., alerting the community of her abduction.
The PROTECT Act codified the previously established National AMBER (America's Missing:Broadcast Emergency Response) Alert Coordinator's role in the Department of Justice, and tasked the Coordinator with facilitating the development of the AMBER network, providing regional coordination and establishing guidance on criteria for issuing an AMBER Alert. Most state guidelines adhere closely to the U.S. Department of Justice's recommended guidelines.
Sources: White House Archives and, AMBER Alert Timeline (Dept. of Justice)

117 Stat. 650 (Public Law 108–21) - Prosecutorial Remedies and Other Tools to end the Exploitation of Children Today Act of 2003
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AMBER Alert Statistics

  • As of April 2019, 957 children rescued specifically because of AMBER Alert
  • As of March 2019, there are 83 AMBER Plans throughout the United States
  • As of April 2018, 56 children have been rescued because of Wireless Emergency Alerts

(Source: U.S. Department of Justice)

Related Publications

34 U.S.C. 21111 - Establishment of National Strategy for Child Exploitation Prevention and Interdiction
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34 U.S.C. 205 - AMBER Alert
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22 U.S.C. 78 - Trafficking Victims Protection
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6 U.S.C. 473 - Cyber Crimes Center, Child Exploitation Investigations Unit, Computer Forensics Unit, and Cyber Crimes Unit
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120 Stat. 587 - Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (To honor the memory of Adam Walsh and other child crime victims)
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117 Stat. 800 (Public Law 108–36) - Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003
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114 Stat. 1464 (Public Law 106-386) - Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act of 2000 (Aimee's Law)
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Statue Compilation of Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (What's a Statute Compilation?)
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Additional Resources