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Durbin, Graham Push Online Child Safety Legislation

EARN IT Act and other bills still await action on the Senate floor

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 23, 2024 — International Justice Mission (IJM), recognizes Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, for their leadership on the fast-growing issue of online sexual exploitation of children (OSEC). Sens. Graham and Durbin have championed multiple online child safety bills through the Senate Judiciary Committee, and yesterday, held a press conference on the need for legislation to prevent this horrific, fast-growing abuse.

“The Senate Judiciary Committee, which I chair, is not always known for bipartisanship,” said Sen. Durbin. “Yet, one year ago, all 21 members – every Democrat and every Republican on the committee – unanimously passed five bills designed to make kids safer online.” Sen. Durbin added, “We want these to be taken up and considered by the Senate as soon as possible. There’s no time to waste.”

Speakers at the press conference included:

  • Dawn Hawkins – CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
  • Lori Cohen – CEO of Protect All Children from Trafficking (PACT)
  • Katrina Massey – PACT Board member and Survivor Council Member
  • Nate King – Director of Policy and Advocacy, International Justice Mission
  • Ruby* – Global Survivor Network (* Ruby is a pseudonym used to protect her online and preserve her privacy.)

“I want to directly address the top leadership of Meta, Discord, X, Snapchat, TikTok and other American tech companies. It is time to stop talking and start taking action. We are real people, children, who are being sexually abused online,” said Ruby. “Our abuse is live-streamed, and even after we are rescued, this footage remains online. Take down the footage of our abuse living on your platforms.” Ruby added, “I urge all members of the United States Senate to support the passage of these bills today. Survivors cannot wait any longer for change.”

“It’s been 1,539 days since the EARN IT Act was first introduced in the Senate. Since then, a version of the bill has unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee on three separate occasions. Yet, it has never received a floor vote,” said Nate King, IJM Director of Policy and Advocacy. “Survivors of this crime should not have to wait a single day longer, and the American people deserve to know where their legislators stand on one of the most pressing human rights abuses of our time.”

IJM urges Senate Majority Leader Schumer to call a floor vote on the EARN IT Act and other online child safety legislation. The House also needs to act; IJM urges Chairman Jordan to schedule a markup of the EARN IT Act in the House Judiciary Committee.

Watch the press conference.

About International Justice Mission
International Justice Mission partners with local authorities in 33 program offices in 18 countries to combat slavery, violence against women and children and police abuse of power. IJM’s mission is to protect people in poverty from violence by rescuing victims, bringing criminals to justice, restoring survivors to safety and strength, and helping local law enforcement build a safe future that lasts. Learn more about IJM’s public policy and advocacy work.

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