Tebow to Congress: Save the ‘most vulnerable’ from ‘monsters’ sexually exploiting them

In powerful testimony to a House committee, former NFL star Tim Tebow testified this week that thousands of children in America who are missing are being exploited by human sex…

In powerful testimony to a House committee, former NFL star Tim Tebow testified this week that thousands of children in America who are missing are being exploited by human sex trafficking.

Tebow, appearing before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance, was urging support for federal resources to create a rescue team to help identify and free some of the 50,000 missing and exploited children worldwide who have been captured in images and video.

The Homeland Security Investigations Cyber Crimes Center’s Child Exploitation Investigations Unit completed an operation, called Operation Renewed Hope, that helped identify 311 previously unknown child victims, with “several confirmed victim rescues from active abuse.” 

“It was an incredible operation. But that’s a tiny dent,” Tebow told the committee. “It was amazing work, but it was so small in comparison. And so, why we’re here today is to be able to ask you to say yes to a bill that we’re going to present. And this bill really has one goal: to build a rescue team.”   

Images and videos of the children have been previously captured, but the identities remained unknown prior to the operation.  

Tebow testified these children are being “abused and raped” daily by human traffickers in the U.S.  

“You see, when Operation Renewed Hope identified  [those children] … out of all those that were rescued, more than half of them were right here in the U.S. And when you extrapolate those numbers, that means that there’s thousands of boys and girls that are starving for hope in our backyard,” he said. 

The former Heisman-winning quarterback quoted from a letter of one rescued girl “who went through extreme abuse for seven years and almost every night she got raped.” 

She wrote:  

Rescue me. Help me. Monsters are chasing. Can’t you see? Monsters are whispering Can’t you hear? Monsters are shouting “You’re nothing.” Can you feel my pain? Monsters are pushing it all. Just jump. Can you hear all the ways I’m asking? Monsters are laughing: “You’re all alone in this.” Can someone please rescue me?  

The Tim Tebow Foundation has set up a website for members of the public to urge Congress to pass a bill that would “enhance the capability to identify and locate the more than 50,000 unidentified children who are being abused, raped and tortured.”    

The foundation says 2.6 videos or images of child abuse are shared every second.   

“Child sexual abuse material (CSAM) is the crime scene recording of the actual sexual abuse of a child. These photos and videos are shared, traded, and circulated across the internet. They memorialize a child’s worst moments,” the foundation says.  

Law enforcement agencies worldwide have identified 50,000 individual children in the images whose identities and locations are unknown. Tebow hopes that by passing legislation to give law enforcement more resources, more child victims can be identified and rescued.   

Through signage and geographic keys found in one image, a Danish victim-identification specialist was able to provide enough clues about the location in the image that agents were able to determine one 11-year old victim’s location in Kansas, said another committee witness. 

The victim was quickly identified and rescued, testified Jim Cole, a retired federal agent, who established the Victim Identification Program and Laboratory at Homeland Security Investigations’ Crimes Center. 

The testimony drew bipartisan support.  

“The United States has a duty to protect our children from becoming victims of these despicable acts,” said committee chair, Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Arizona.   

It remains to be seen if legislation will be passed regarding either child-victim identifications or child-victim rescues. So far, no member of Congress has actually introduced a bill to address the issues raised by Tebow and other witnesses.