Owens Joins Bipartisan Push to Protect Victims of Child Sexual Abuse

WASHINGTON – Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04) co-sponsored the Child Online Safety Modernization Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Ann Wagner (MO-02) to enhance reporting of online child exploitation and streamline investigations of child sex trafficking on online platforms. 

“There is nothing more important than protecting our kids,” said Rep. Owens. “With over 32 million cases of online child sexual crimes reported in 2022, the evils of exploitation are far too prevalent. The fight to eradicate these heinous crimes requires complete collaboration between law enforcement and technology companies, and the Child Online Safety Modernization Act is a critical step toward executing timely and effective investigations. I’m proud to support this bill and will continue to be a leading advocate for anti-trafficking efforts in Congress.” 

Background: 

The Child Safety Modernization Act: 

  • Modernizes the NCMEC CyberTipline
    • Requires reports from online platforms to include information to help law enforcement identify and locate the child depicted in CSAM as well as the individuals involved in posting the imagery.
    • Requires online platforms to report instances of child sex trafficking and the sexual enticement of a child.
    • Allows NCMEC to share technical identifiers associated with CSAM to nonprofits for the sole and exclusive purpose of preventing and curtailing online sexual exploitation.
  • Preserves CyberTipline Reports for Investigation
    • H.R. 5182 extends the required preservation of CyberTipline reports from 90 days to 1 year. Due to the immense volume of reports and the deliberative and time-consuming process that an investigation of these cases requires, extending this preservation gives law enforcement more time to properly and comprehensively investigate crimes against children.
  • Replaces the term “child pornography” with “child sexual abuse material”
    • H.R. 5182 replaces the term “child pornography” with “child sexual abuse material” throughout U.S. federal statutes. “Child pornography” is an inaccurate and misleading term to describe an image or video of a child being raped or sexually abused. Whereas “pornography” refers to imagery of consenting adults engaged in sexual acts, the child victims depicted in such imagery have no consent and no control over their sexual exploitation. U.S. federal law should accurately reflect this abuse.

The Child Online Safety Modernization Act is supported by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Children’s Alliance, the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, International Justice Mission, Raven, the Ending Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children (OSEAC) Coalition, Protect All Children from Trafficking (PACT), Missouri KidsFirst, and the Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (MOCADSV). 

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