Dear Mr. Chairman,
I am writing on behalf of the members of the Fraternal Order of Police to advise you of our support for S. 1199, the “Strengthening Transparency and Obligation to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment (STOP CSAM) Act.”
From March 2009 to February 2022, the number of victims identified in child sexual abuse material (CSAM) rose almost ten-fold, from 2,172 victims to over 21,413 victims, and this figure continues to increase at an alarming rate. This legislation will help law enforcement officers combat these horrific crimes by supporting victims and increasing accountability and transparency for online platforms where this material is unlawfully shared.
Currently, Federal law requires certain youth athletic programs to report child abuse. This legislation would impose this same requirement on all programs that receive Federal grants of more than $10,000 within a year that provide service to children and establish a supplemental grant program to provide additional funds to the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Forces in States that have child abuse reporting laws that apply to organizations that provide services to children.
The legislation will provide special privacy protections to certain child victims and witnesses in criminal prosecutions and create a statutory framework to permit courts to appoint a trustee to manage restitution payments for certain vulnerable victims who are entitled to restitution for victims of child exploitation, human trafficking, sexual assault, and crimes of violence.
The bill will also make it easier for victims to ask technology companies to remove child sexual abuse material and related imagery from their platforms and create an administrative penalty for the failure to comply with a removal request. Additionally, the bill would expand the Federal civil cause of action for victims of online child sexual exploitation to bring a civil cause of action against companies, platforms, and apps that promoted or facilitated the exploitation. The bill also strengthens current CyberTipline reporting requirements by eliminating any discretion about reporting a planned or imminent child exploitation offense and requiring that certain basic information be included in a CyberTip. The legislation also amends the CyberTipline statute to provide a variety of tools to promote compliance with the statute’s mandates and creates a new criminal provision prohibiting the use of technology platforms to promote or facilitate online child sexual exploitation.
This is a thorough and comprehensive bill that will help law enforcement protect our children from online exploitation. On behalf of the more than 364,000 members of the Fraternal Order of Police, we thank you for your leadership on this important issue. If I can be of any additional assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or Executive Director Jim Pasco in our Washington, D.C. office.