WASHINGTON, DC (September 26, 2023) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), along with 138 organizations and 22 survivor-leaders, sent Sens. Charles Schumer and Mitch McConnell a letter urging action on crucial child protection measures, including the EARN IT Act of 2023; Kids Online Safety Act of 2023; Project Safe Childhood Act; REPORT Act; and STOP CSAM Act, all of which are essential remedies to the rampant online circulation of child sexual abuse material.
The following are excerpts from the letter:
“Maya Jones* was only 12 when she began receiving direct messages on Instagram from a man she didn’t know. The man made her feel special – so when he asked her for nude photos, Maya complied. These interactions quickly escalated to meeting in person, which ultimately led to Maya being sex trafficked through Instagram. Even after she walked through the doors of a drop-in center for youth, the photos and videos her trafficker made continued to be sold online. The direct messages from sex buyers kept coming. In 2021, at the age of 15, Maya died from an overdose of drugs given to her by the man she met on Instagram. Maya would still be alive today if Instagram was required to protect our youth—if products and platforms were designed with Maya’s interests centered. Not to mention, it’s an egregious violation of federal law and human rights that criminal child sexual abuse material (CSAM) was circulated by Instagram. Maya’s story is one of many.
“The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s (NCMEC) CyberTipLine receives reports about multiple forms of online child sexual exploitation. CSAM comprises the largest reporting category by far. Over 99.5% of the reports received by the CyberTipline in 2022 involved incidents of suspected CSAM; there were 31.9 MILLION reports of child pornography in 2022, a 90% increase from 2019.1 These are astronomical numbers—and they represent real children.
“The undersigned organizations, including survivors of child exploitation and sex trafficking, urge you to bring a package of complementary child protection bills to the floor for a vote. We urge you to include EARN IT (Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies) Act of 2023; Kids Online Safety Act of 2023; Project Safe Childhood Act; REPORT Act (Revising Existing Procedures on Reporting via Technology); and STOP CSAM Act (Strengthening Transparency and Obligations to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment).
“It is time to demand accountability from Big Tech. These mega-billion dollar actors are fully aware of the harms caused by their platforms and products—as we know from multiple Senate hearings in 2022. It is time that the Senate stands up to these platforms.”
* Tragically, this case is real, although Maya’s name has been changed to protect family.
About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.