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S.3103 – The Eliminating Limits To Justice For Child Sex Abuse Victims Act Of 2022 Eliminates The Statute Of Limitations For Filing Certain Federal Human Trafficking And Sex Offenses
On September 16, 2022, President Biden signed federal legislation entitled The Eliminating Limits to Justice for Child Sex Abuse Victims Act of 2022. The Act eliminates the statute of limitations for a minor victim of the following federal human trafficking or sex offenses to file a civil action in the United States District Court to recover damages under Section 2255 of Title 18 of the United States Code:
- Forced labor (18 U.S.C. § 1589);
- Trafficking with respect to peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or forced labor (18 U.S.C. § 1590);
- Sex trafficking of children or by force, fraud, or coercion affecting interstate or foreign commerce (18 U.S.C. § 1591);
- Aggravated sexual abuse of children, which crosses state lines (18 U.S.C. § 2241);
- Sexual abuse occurring on federal land or property (18 U.S.C. § 2242);
- Sexual abuse of a minor or ward in federal custody (18 U.S.C. § 2243);
- Sexual exploitation of children affecting interstate or foreign commerce (18 U.S.C. § 2251);
- Sale of a child by their parent or legal guardian (18 U.S.C. § 2243);
- Certain activities relating to material involving the sexual exploitation of minors affecting interstate or foreign commerce (18 U.S.C. §§ 2252 & 2252A);
- Production of sexually explicit depictions of a minor for importation into the United States (18 U.S.C. § 2260);
- Transportation of a person in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution or sexual activity (18 U.S.C. § 2421);
- Coercion and enticement of a person to travel in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in prostitution or sexual activity (18 U.S.C. § 2422); and
- Transportation of minors in interstate or foreign commerce to engage in certain sexual activities (18 U.S.C. § 2423).
It is unlikely that any of these claims would be brought against a private K-12 school, college, or university. Also, the Act does not affect state law.
Under prior law, the statute of limitations for these claims was no later than 10 years after the date on which the plaintiff reasonably discovers the violation or injury, whichever occurs later, that forms the basis for the claim, or no later than 10 years after the date on which the victim reaches 18 years of age. While the Act took effect on September 16, 2022, it does not revive claims that would have already been barred as of September 15, 2022, by the prior statute of limitations. The Act only applies to claims or actions not previously barred that arise after September 16, 2022.
A person who suffers a personal injury related to one of the included federal human trafficking or sex offenses and brings a claim under Section 2255 may recover the person’s actual damages or liquidated damages in the amount of $150,000, reasonable attorney’s fees and other litigation costs, punitive damages, and any preliminary and equitable relief the court deem appropriate.
(The Act amended Section 2255 of Title 18 of the United States Code.)