Good things are happening in Washington and on Capitol Hill. In a historic move, Congress has introduced five crucial pieces of legislation aimed at revolutionizing the landscape for survivors of child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Each bill zeroes in on distinct aspects of online child sexual exploitation, collectively presenting a robust framework to protect survivors, streamline reporting mechanisms, and empower law enforcement to combat these crimes effectively. The surge of online sexual exploitation and the abuse of children has emerged as one of the swiftest growing threats globally especially after COVID-19 lockdowns.
To grasp the severity of the issue, statistics from 2021 reveal alarming figures: the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) received 21 million reports of online child sexual abuse, with over 29 million reports through its Cyber Tipline. Additionally, a groundbreaking survey conducted by the Finnish human rights group Protect Children delved into the psyche of individuals who consume CSAM online and found that 42% of respondents admitted to seeking direct contact with children after viewing such material, while 58% expressed fear that their consumption might escalate into physical abuse. These findings underscore the urgent need for legislative interventions to stem the rapid rise of online sexual exploitation and abuse of children.
The volume of CSAM distributed and shared online has seen an exponential surge in recent years. These are crime scene records which capture the appalling sexual abuse and assault of children and once unleashed online, these images perpetually circulate causing enduring trauma for survivors.
The battle against this dark reality requires a collective effort, involving both the public and policymakers. Fortunately, viable legislative solutions are currently on the table. The five pivotal child protection bills are:
These form a comprehensive strategy to curtail the dissemination of illegal content, support survivors, and fortify laws to prosecute offenders. As we navigate these challenging waters, it’s pivotal for us all to rally behind these legislative efforts and stand united against the scourge of online child sexual exploitation. By supporting these bills, we not only strengthen legal frameworks but also lend our voices to survivors who seek justice and a future free from the shadows of their past trauma.
Your voice matters. Please contact your Representative, and ask them to support these child protection bills.
To find your Representative click HERE.
To find your Senators click HERE.