Hyde-Smith’s ‘KIDS Act’ aims to expand child protection laws

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith has 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’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.”

U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) is an original cosponsor, as are Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).

“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.”

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 (S.1164) would ensure no federal interference with the legal adoption process, surrogacy, or gestational carrier agreements conducted in accordance with State law.