Washington, DC — Today, Representatives Lucy McBath (D-GA-07), Barry Moore (R-AL-02), Glenn Ivey (D-MD-04), Jefferson Van Drew (R-NJ-02), Sylvia Garcia (D-TX-29), and Ann Wagner (R-MO-02) reintroduced the Eliminate Network Distribution (END) Child Exploitation Act. This bipartisan legislation addresses the troubling prevalence of online child exploitation in communities across the nation.
“Online risks are a dangerous and evolving threat to our children, and we must do more as lawmakers to protect them,” said McBath. “I am honored to lead this legislation to provide parents and law enforcement the necessary tools to stop child abuse and exploitation. I thank my colleagues for their support as we take an important step to keep kids safe, hold perpetrators accountable, and protect families in Georgia and across the United States.”
“As technology has advanced, so has the online threat to our children,” said Moore. “I am proud to co-lead legislation to ensure law enforcement, parents, and guardians have the tools they need to catch criminals and keep kids safe online. I am grateful to my colleagues for joining this bipartisan effort to protect children and families.”
“As a former prosecutor, I know all too well the difficulties of making a case when evidence has been lost. Extending the time frame for tech companies to keep the records and images compiled by online predators will be an important step in helping hold exploiters of children accountable. I commend our bipartisan leaders in the House for pursuing this legislation,” said Ivey.
“Protecting our children in an increasingly online world must be a top priority for lawmakers, which is why I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing the END Child Exploitation Act,” said Van Drew. “This is a critical first step to ensuring that law enforcement and parents have access to every resource possible to safeguard our children and guarantee perpetrators are held accountable.”
“Ensuring the safety of children is one of my top priorities. I'm proud to reintroduce the bipartisan Eliminate Network Distribution (END) Child Exploitation Act, which aims to implement necessary precautions to prevent and respond to online child exploitation,” said Garcia. “It is imperative to use the full extent of the law to hold accountable those who exploit children or violate laws related to child sexual abuse.”
“Congress must take action to address the child exploitation crisis happening in the United States. I am proud to support the END Child Exploitation Act, provisions that are included in my Child Online Safety Modernization Act and EARN IT Act. These efforts are vital to ensuring law enforcement has the ability to properly and comprehensively investigate these horrible crimes and rescue children from abuse,” said Wagner.
This legislation is endorsed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC), the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), the Fraternal Order of Police, PACT, and the END Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children Coalition.
“Law enforcement is inundated with CyberTipline reports and is habitually under-resourced when pursuing these cases,” said Samantha Cadet, Director of Federal Affairs, Appropriations, and National Coalitions for RAINN. “90 days is too short of a timeframe for law enforcement to collect the evidence needed from these reports and to investigate dangerous perpetrators who possess and distribute child sexual abuse materials (CSAM). Extending the retention period to 1 year is the first step forward in ensuring that law enforcement is effectively able to investigate these crimes and bring offenders to justice.”
“There are certain crimes that strike at the core of who we are as a society. Online sexual exploitation of children is one of the most repulsive criminal trends that plague our country,” said Patrick Yoes, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police. “The bill introduced by Representative McBath will increase the amount of time that the information sent to the CyberTipline is preserved for investigatory purposes, allowing more time for law enforcement to conduct these time-consuming investigations and to help children who are victimized and exploited online.”
The END Child Exploitation Act was first introduced in December 2019 following the release of a New York Times investigative report highlighting disturbing growth in online child exploitation across the country. The report found that technology companies reported more than 69 million images and videos depicting abuse in 2019. Currently, these companies are required to retain information on these images for 90 days after reporting the material to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). However, this time is often not enough for law enforcement to conduct the necessary investigative process. The END Child Exploitation Act increases this time frame to 1 year and ensures these companies are legally able to retain the material longer, in compliance with NIST standards, to prevent the proliferation or spread of child exploitation material in cooperation with law enforcement.