Durbin Visits Chicago Children's Advocacy Center to Discuss Legislation to Crack Down on Online Child Sex Abuse

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today visited Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center (CCAC) to discuss his Strengthening Transparency and Obligations to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment Act of 2023 (STOP CSAM Act), which supports victims and increases accountability and transparency for online platforms.

This comes following a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Durbin led on Wednesday entitled “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis,” featuring testimony from the CEOs of Discord, Meta, Snap, TikTok, and X (formerly known as Twitter).

“Social media platforms, while transforming the way we connect and communicate, have unfortunately become breeding grounds forpredators seeking to exploit the innocence of our children,” said Durbin. “My STOP CSAM Act stands as a critical tool in our collective effort toprotect our kids, while holding accountable those who seek to exploit and harm them. The stand against online child sexual exploitation is bipartisan and necessary, and I’m hopeful Congress can come together to pass this legislation and get it to the President’s desk.”

“The Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center and our partners work every day to eliminate the suffering of abused children across our community and to instill hope for the future,” said Char Rivette, Chief Executive Officer, Chicago Children’s Advocacy Center. “Together, we continue to stand in full support of the Strengthening Transparency and Obligations to Protect Children Suffering from Abuse and Mistreatment Act (STOP CSAM Act) introduced by Senator Durbin and believe the legislative bill has far-reaching impact for children and families in Illinois and nationwide. Online child sexual exploitation is a growing concern across the country, we are grateful for Senator Durbin’s advocacy, proactive leadership, and commitment to expand protections to keep children safe.”   

Durbin’s STOP CSAM Act expands protections forchild victims and witnesses in federal court; facilitates restitution for victims of child exploitation, human trafficking, sexual assault, and crimes of violence; and empowers victims by making it easier for them to ask tech companies to remove child sexual abuse material and related imagery from their platforms and by creating an administrative penalty for the failure to comply with a removal request.

The STOP CSAM Act is endorsed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, National Children’s Alliance, PACT, Raven, Child Rescue Coalition, the National District Attorney’s Association, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the National Criminal Justice Training Center, the Youth Power Project, Hope for Justice, Street Grace, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, ChildFund International, and the End Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children (OSEAC) Coalition.

From March 2009 to February 2022, the number of victims identified in CSAM rose from 2,172 victims to more than 21,413 victims.  From 2012 to 2022, the volume of reports to the National Center forMissing & Exploited Children’s CyberTipline concerning child sexual exploitation increased from 415,650 reports to more than 32 million reports.  Locally, the number of CyberTips received by the Cook County ICAC Task Force doubled from 6,063 CyberTips in 2020 to 12,369 CyberTips in 2022.