WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Tuesday, Representatives Ann Wagner (R-MO) and Sylvia Garcia (D-TX) reintroduced the bipartisan Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies (EARN IT) Act. This legislation is the House companion bill to the bipartisan Senate version, reintroduced by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
“There is nothing more horrific than the sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Predators are targeting young girls and boys in our community and across the country at unprecedented rates, and explicit images and videos of these underage children are bought, sold, and distributed over the internet every day. I will not stand idly by while websites that facilitate this criminal behavior evade accountability,” said Congresswoman Wagner. “That is why I have joined Rep. Sylvia Garcia to introduce the EARN IT Act, legislation that will give survivors and law enforcement the ability to take legal action against websites that sell or distribute these illegal images and videos. Victims of online child sexual abuse and exploitation endure unfathomable trauma. It is long past time for Congress to support these survivors and to confront the websites monetizing child abuse.”
“As elected officials, there is no greater responsibility than making sure that we are keeping our children safe,” said Congresswoman Garcia. “That is why I am proud to reintroduce the bipartisan EARN IT Act, which will ensure that we are taking the necessary precautions to protect our children by preventing and responding to online child sexual abuse material. We must use the full force of the law to hold those accountable that would take advantage of our children or violate child sexual abuse laws.”
“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.” – John F. Clark, President and CEO, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
“Protecting children from online sexual exploitation is an urgent task. It is abundantly clear: while criminals choose to live stream and share the rape and sexual abuse of young children online, those victimized children do not have the same choice. It is time, therefore, for a victim-centered approach that protects children from abuse and prioritizes the privacy of online sexual exploitation victims. International Justice Mission (IJM) welcomes the reintroduction of the EARN IT Act, which will pave the way for the creation of best practices by a congressionally-appointed, multi-disciplinary commission of experts to guide the technology industry in proactively detecting, disrupting, and reporting online sexual exploitation of children on their platforms.” – Jon Tanagho, Executive Director, International Justice Mission’s Center to End Online Sexual Exploitation of Children
The EARN IT Act will facilitate the creation of best practices to prevent and respond to online child sexual abuse material; enable online companies to be held civilly liable and subject to state prosecution if they violate child sexual abuse laws; enhance reporting to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) CyberTipline; and modernize language to ensure these crimes are referred to as child sexual abuse, rather than child pornography.