NCMEC has issued the following letter of support to Senators Lindsey Graham and Richard Blumenthal; and Representatives Sylvia Garcia and Ann Wagner for their legislation, the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2022 (EARN IT Act of 2022).
Dear Senator Blumenthal, Senator Graham, Representative Garcia and Representative Wagner:
On behalf of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) and the children and families we serve, I am writing to express our support for your legislation, the Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act of 2022 (EARN IT Act of 2022).
For over twenty years, NCMEC has been at the forefront of the battle against online child sexual exploitation and has witnessed the escalating volume of horrifying images and videos of online child sexual abuse. From 1998 to the present date, NCMEC’s CyberTipline, the national mechanism for the public and electronic service providers (ESPs) to report child sexual exploitation, has handled over 115 million reports relating to child sexual abuse material. In 2021, NCMEC received more than 29.3 million CyberTipline reports containing over 84.9 million images, videos, and other content related to suspected child sexual exploitation. In light of the increasing high volume of child sexual exploitation material being traded online, legislative initiatives are needed now more than ever to address the increasing distribution of child sexual abuse material online and the harm this distribution inflicts on child victims and their families.
NCMEC supports the EARN IT Act because it provides ESPs with voluntary best practices developed by industry and subject matter experts to prevent, reduce, and respond to the online sexual exploitation of children. The bill also enables children who have been sexually exploited online, as well as State Attorneys General, to seek legal recourse against online platforms that engage in the distribution and circulation of sexually abusive images across the internet.
This legislation also recognizes the grievous impact of online child sex trafficking and online enticement of children for sexual abuse and the need to ensure ESPs report these crimes to the CyberTipline. Finally, this legislation also achieves a long sought-after and over-due measure to replace the term “child pornography” with “child sexual abuse material” throughout the criminal code. NCMEC strongly supports this legislative measure because child sexual abuse material most accurately reflects what is depicted in these images – the rape and sexual abuse of children.
NCMEC is proud to lend our support to this important legislation. Thank you for your leadership and continued dedication to the safety of our nation’s children.
John F. Clark