STATEMENT – Second Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse Sues Twitter

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Washington, DC (April 8, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center (NCOSE), The Haba Law Firm, and The Matiasic Firm are suing Twitter on behalf of a second survivor of child sexual abuse who was trafficked on the social media platform.

The plaintiff, John Doe #2, joins the federal lawsuit originally filed by John Doe #1, alleging that both boys were trafficked by Twitter. The First Amended Complaint, John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 v. Twitter, Inc. was filed on April 7 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Both plaintiffs were harmed by Twitter’s distribution of material depicting their sexual abuse and trafficking, and by Twitter’s knowing refusal to remove the images of their sexual abuse (child pornography) when notified by John Doe #1 and his parents.

“Twitter has profited from the knowing distribution of child sexual abuse material depicting these two young men when they were children, and it must be held accountable. Twitter cannot sweep under the rug the fact that it both allowed child sexual abuse material on its site and refused to remove it,” said Peter Gentala, senior legal counsel for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation Law Center.

Plaintiffs John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 together were solicited and recruited for sex trafficking as minors. After they escaped from the manipulation, child sexual abuse material depicting them was disseminated on Twitter.

When Twitter was first alerted to this fact and the ages of the children, Twitter refused to remove the illegal material and instead continued to promote and profit from the sexual abuse of the children. Twitter even reported back to John Doe #1 that the video in question did not in fact violate any of their policies. This lack of care and proper attention resulted in the child sexual abuse material of John Doe #1 and John Doe #2 accumulating over 167,000 views before direct involvement from a law enforcement officer, who was finally able to have Twitter remove the child pornography material.

The plaintiffs are suing Twitter for its involvement in and profiting from their sexual exploitation, which violates the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act and various other protections afforded by law.

“These two young men have suffered severe anguish and trauma at the hands of Twitter. Twitter had everything it needed to do the right thing and prioritize the safety and privacy of these children before its own profits. Our lawsuit seeks to hold Twitter accountable for knowingly profiting from the sexual abuse and trafficking of children and the re-victimization of these two boys,” said Lisa Haba, partner at The Haba Law Firm.

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.

About The Haba Law Firm, P.A.
The Haba Law Firm is a law firm in Greater Orlando area of Florida, that provides excellence in civil litigation on behalf of human trafficking and sexual abuse survivors. Haba Law prides itself on its aggressive and effective representation, honesty, and trauma-informed, victim centered advocacy. The unparalleled knowledge and experience with human trafficking and sexual abuse has resulted in partner Lisa Haba receiving numerous awards and recognitions for her work with survivors of human trafficking and sexual abuse.

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The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

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