Image by NCOSE (National Center on Sexual Exploitation)
By Marion Kendall
As an anti-trafficking advocate, I fully support the recently reintroduced EARN IT Act.1 This strong piece of bipartisan legislation, reintroduced in the House by Representatives Ann Wagner and Sylvia Garcia, seeks to hold online platforms accountable for the spread of child sexual abuse material (CSAM) and the facilitation of sex trafficking.
The Eliminating Abusive and Rampant Neglect of Interactive Technologies Act (EARN IT Act) removes blanket immunity for violations of laws related to online child sexual abuse material.2 As such, it is an essential tool in the fight against human trafficking. Online platforms have become breeding grounds for the exploitation of vulnerable individuals, and they have allowed traffickers to operate with impunity on a global scale. The use of online platforms has made it easier for traffickers to recruit, groom and exploit their victims, and to hide their activities from law enforcement.3 Moreover, children have become more and more vulnerable to online predators,4 who exploit their innocence for personal gain.
By holding online platforms accountable for the spread of CSAM and the facilitation of sex trafficking, the EARN IT Act provides an effective mechanism for disrupting the operations of these criminal organizations. The bill would create a national commission to devise best practices for preventing the online exploitation of children, and it would withhold liability protection from online platforms that fail to implement these best practices.
This legislation is a necessary step to protect vulnerable individuals and children from online predators and traffickers. It also ensures that online platforms are held accountable for the content that they host, and that they take the necessary steps to provide a safe environment for their users.
The reintroduction of the EARN IT Act is a crucial step toward ending the scourge of human trafficking, and I urge Congress to pass this vital piece of legislation. We must continue to work together to provide protections to vulnerable populations and hold those who facilitate human trafficking accountable for their actions.