October 30, 2020

EIE Awaits Signature from Biden in Support of the Children's Internet Safety Presidential Pledge

The Next President Must Continue to Prioritize Children’s Safety in the Digital World as Reports of Sexual Exploitation Soar During COVID

Great Falls, VA, Oct. 30, 2020 -- Enough Is Enough® (EIE) issued the bi-partisan Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge to Democratic Presidential Nominee, Joseph Biden, for his signature, calling upon him if elected President, to pledge to defend the innocence and dignity of America's children, which includes the aggressive enforcement of existing federal laws and advancement of public policies designed to prevent the sexual exploitation of children online. While the Pledge has been in the hands of the Biden campaign for weeks, EIE has not yet received a response; President Donald J. Trump already signed the Pledge in 2016 as the Republican candidate. EIE is a non-partisan, non-profit organization and does not endorse or oppose candidates for office.

“Protecting children in the digital world during a pandemic in which sexual exploitation online has skyrocketed must be a top priority of the next President,” said Donna Rice Hughes, President and CEO of Enough Is Enough®, a non-partisan organization dedicated to making the Internet safer for children and families. “One of COVID’s unintended consequences is the ambush of the innocence of American’s children by sexual predators, traffickers and pornographers, adding another level of horror for parents trying to protect their children from those who are preying on kids as they spend more time on digital devices, social media and virtual learning. Parents are looking to the candidates running for the highest office in the land to exercise the rule of law against virtual criminals seeking to destroy the innocence of vulnerable children.”

Prior to COVID, the online sexual exploitation of children was already at pandemic levels. The month following lockdown, reports of sex trafficking crisis cases to the Trafficking Hotline increased by more than 40 percent. Over half of U.S. sex trafficking involved children with 55 % of minors meeting their traffickers through a website or mobile app. 

In 2019, 69 million images and videos of suspected child pornography were reported via the CyberTipline, depicting victims as young as infants. In April 2020, one month after the lockdown, the Tipline reported a four-fold increase in reports over April 2019. By July of this year, Google Trends reported an 80% increase in parents searching for online help in dealing with cyberbullying. 

Today’s multibillion-dollar online pornography industry depicts themes of teen rape, incest, torture, group sex, strangulation and eroticized racism. Alarmingly, kids under 10 years old comprise of 22% of online porn use of minor consumers. The onslaught of illegal pornography snowballed after the Department of Justice (DOJ) Obscenity Prosecution Task Force, set up originally to combat adult obscenity, was shut down during the previous Administration, around the same time a bi-partisan group of 41 Senators asked DOJ to bring criminal cases against “all major distributors of adult obscenity.”

The Trump Administration has made discernable strides in fulfilling many of the Pledge commitments, including comprehensively tackling the scourge of human trafficking by approving the largest DOJ grant package in history. Additionally, the President signed nine pieces of bipartisan legislation to combat trafficking, both domestically and internationally. 

“Protecting the dignity of children is a unifying issue, on which citizens of all races and religions agree, and both parties have historically supported. Mr. Biden has the opportunity to follow his predecessor Secretary Clinton, by supporting the Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge in advance of the election,” concluded Hughes. “Despite the progress that has been made under the current Administration, the safety of children in the digital world must continue to be front and center, no matter which candidate takes office in 2021. Their innocence and America’s future depends on it.”