Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton on Aug. 20 called for more funding to better protect children from criminals who prey on them on the internet.

The senator said she plans to introduce legislation in the fall seeking $25 million in funding to expand the Internet Crime Against Children task force to every state by the end of 2002.

The existing New York state task force would serve as a model, she said. “This is not going to make the internet safe, but I am trying to level the playing field a little bit more to help law enforcement to stop cyberspace crime,” Clinton said.

The bill would provide additional resources to task forces that exist in New York and other states; assist local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies in setting up task forces in every state by 2002; and allow for annual funding of the federal task force instead of limiting funding to grants only.

Speaking at a news conference in New York, Clinton cited statistics by the Crime Against Children Center in New Hampshire which showed that over last year one out of every five children received a sexual solicitation over the internet. One in every 33 children was asked to meet, was called on the phone, or was sent money, candy, or gifts through the mail by a stranger met on the internet.

“These statistics are troubling enough,” Clinton said, “but they are even more terrifying to parents and the rest of us when we realize how difficult these crimes are to investigate and prosecute.”