The bill would hold big tech accountable and provide families with the tools, safeguards, and transparency they need to protect children’s well-being online.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, UNITED STATES, September 21, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — The Exodus Road, global anti-trafficking nonprofit with programs operating in the United States, has announced their support for the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA).
The bipartisan bill, introduced by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), was created in response to growing concerns for children’s well-being amid skyrocketing exploitation and mental health crises tied to online activities.
The Exodus Road has reported a significant rise in digital exploitation within the trafficking cases they successfully investigate. In fact, 77% of their 2022 cases that resulted in intervention by law enforcement included evidence of exploitation found on social media. These findings are consistent with data reported by other entities in the United States. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children received 32 million reports of suspected child sexual exploitation in 2022. More than 95% of those reports involved suspected Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM).
KOSA seeks to improve safety for kids by requiring “platforms to make safety the default and to give kids and parents tools to help prevent the destructive impact of social media.” The bill also seeks to ensure “that parents and policymakers can assess whether social media platforms are taking meaningful steps to address risks to kids.”
In support of the bill, The Exodus Road’s CEO and Co-founder, Laura Parker, added her endorsement to a Child Protection Letter co-signed by 130 organizations, including the National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). The letter featured endorsements from 20 survivors of child exploitation and called on the Senate to “bring a package of complementary child protection bills to the floor for a vote.” Organized by NCOSE, the Kids Online Safety Act is one of five bills supported by co-signees of the letter.
“We have heard heartbreaking testimonials from parents who have lost children to the dangers of online platforms. We see this reality in every country we work in, and it’s a critical safety issue we must address intentionally. KOSA isn’t about curbing rights or freedoms; it’s about building a safer digital world where children can learn, connect, and grow without the looming threats that currently pervade these spaces, “ says Parker. “The Exodus Road is calling on lawmakers to protect children during critical years of development.”
In addition to Parker’s endorsement, The Exodus Road’s Government Relations and Policy Advisor, Bill Woolf, announced his support of the bill. “As a former child exploitation and human trafficking detective, I have seen the impact firsthand, and it is life-altering. We are excited to see Congress take the necessary steps to keep kids safe while online and put necessary protections in place to prevent online exploitation and cyberbullying,” says Woolf.
Woolf’s experience as Special Advisor to the White House for Human Trafficking and the U.S. Department of Justice Human Trafficking Programs Director makes him uniquely positioned to recognize the value of KOSA in the fight against exploitation. “At The Exodus Road, we believe that every child should be able to achieve their full potential without the threat of being trafficked or exploited, and we will continue to fight for commonsense measures like KOSA to achieve that vision.”
For more regarding The Exodus Road’s support of KOSA, refer to their in-depth article, “In Defense of the Kids Online Safety Act”
About The Exodus Road
The Exodus Road is a global nonprofit disrupting the darkness of modern-day slavery by partnering with law enforcement to fight human-trafficking crime, equipping communities to protect the vulnerable, and empowering survivors as they walk into freedom. Working side-by-side with local staff, NGO partners, and law enforcement around the world, The Exodus Road fights to liberate trafficked individuals, arrest traffickers and provide restorative care for survivors. Since its founding in 2012, the organization has assisted police in the rescue of 2,400 survivors and the arrests of more than 1,200 offenders, numbers that grow almost daily. The Exodus Road’s approach to freedom incorporates intervention, training and education, and aftercare efforts.
In education, The Exodus Road offers TraffickWatch Academy: U.S., a free, online training module that unpacks the complexities of human trafficking, and TraffickWatch: Brazil, a similar program specifically for law enforcement partners. The organization is also preparing to launch “INFLUENCED,” a curriculum equipping parents and teens to participate in the online world while avoiding the dangers of exploitation.
The Exodus Road combats human trafficking in the U.S., Thailand, the Philippines, India, Brazil, and another undisclosed Latin American country. In Thailand, the nonprofit operates Freedom Home, a survivor care center that houses and supports adult female survivors and their dependents.
For additional information or to make a donation to help stop human trafficking, please visit The Exodus Road’s website at https://theexodusroad.com/, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube.
The Exodus Road, VP of Global Communications
Preston Goff, 719-941-9755
The Exodus Road
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