Hyde-Smith Authors Bill that Would Criminalize the Selling of Children for Any Purpose, Not Just Sexual Exploitation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) today introduced legislation to make it illegal to sell a child for any purpose, an expansion of current federal law.

The Keeping Infants Domestically Safe (KIDS) Act would establish a federal law to outlaw the selling of minors for financial gain.  The crime is currently only covered by a patchwork of laws enacted by various states, including Mississippi.  It is cosponsored by Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

“It’s hard to believe any parent or guardian would sell a child, but it happens and it warrants federal attention,” Hyde-Smith said.  “The KIDS Act would give federal officials the ability to fight black market adoptions and encourage the legal adoption process.”

“The government has a responsibility to protect children, especially from individuals who would try to profit from exploitation of a child,” Wicker said.  “This legislation would give federal prosecutors another tool to stop black market adoptions and punish individuals who abuse the legal adoption process.”

“It’s unconscionable to believe children in America—or anywhere—could be bought and sold,” Capito said.  “I’m proud to join my colleagues in addressing this horrible practice.  All children deserve the full weight of the federal government behind them, fighting for their lives and wellbeing.”

“It is abhorrent that children are being sold on the black market.  It is unacceptable,” Blackburn said.  “This legislation ensures that appropriate federal attention is given to keeping vulnerable children out of harm’s way.”

“Montana and the United Sates is suffering from a meth and drug epidemic that is tearing our families apart. We need to ensure that we’re protecting our children from the horrors that can happen when a parent is suffering from drug addiction. This bill will give the federal officials the tools they need to fight against the selling of children for any reason,” Daines said.

There have been specific cases in Mississippi and Texas where guardians have attempted to sell children to fund drug habits and for other financial gains.  Under the KIDS Act, both the seller and the buyers of minors would be subject to same federal imprisonment and fine penalties imposed on those who sell minors for sexual exploitation (18 U.S. Code § 2251A).

The legislation would ensure no federal interference with the legal adoption process, surrogacy, or gestational carrier agreements conducted in accordance with State law.

A copy of the KIDS Act (S.1164) is available here.