Minority Office — Press Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2022
Leader Book Advances Legislation Targeting Cyber Trafficking
SB 1798 Renames "Child Pornography" to "Child Sexual Abuse Material"
Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book introduced and advanced legislation in the Florida Senate Criminal Justice Committee today that aims to curb the growing endemic of "cyber trafficking", a practice where both real and stolen images are uploaded to the Internet for people to buy, sell, trade, and exploit. Additionally, the legislation renames the crime of "child pornography" to "child sexual abuse material" to better identify the heinous act of this internet revictimization.
"The law has simply not caught up with technology," explained Senator Book, who recalled her own recent victimization in an exploitive digital sex crime. "This bill will transform the way the state of Florida prosecutes and enforces ‘cyber trafficking,’ where images are uploaded to the darkest corners of the Internet for people to buy, sell, trade, and use however else they see fit. Horrifically, once these images are online, they never truly go away."
As approved by the Criminal Justice Committee today, SB 1798 would:
- Prohibit someone from knowingly, willfully, and maliciously disseminating "deepfake" sexually explicit images without the victim's consent.
- Establish new standards for our state's "revenge porn" statute by criminalizing the theft of sexually explicit images off another person's phone or digital device with the intent to distribute or benefit from them in some way.
- Increase existing civil damages where victims will now be entitled to seek up to $10,000 in damages against the individual who has willfully and knowingly chosen to inflict this kind of intimate terror.
- Rename the crime of "child pornography" to "child sexual abuse material."
"Today is an excellent first step at updating our laws to reflect the added layers of terror and victimization that are emerging due to the digital world we live in," Senator Book concluded. "By updating the law to identify cyber trafficking and accurately re-identify ‘child pornography’ to its correct term of ‘child sexual abuse material,’ we have given victims of these crimes hope that they will be heard, and their abusers and traffickers will be held accountable under the law."
A survivor of childhood sexual abuse and longtime advocate, Senator Book is the founder and CEO of Lauren’s Kids – a nonprofit that works to prevent sexual abuse and help survivors heal.
“Never in a million years could I imagine that I would once again become a victim of a sex crime, and I am not alone,” said Senator Book. “It’s time to give victims some hope and bad actors a reason to think twice – not for me, but for the hundreds and thousands of other Floridians who fall victim to these dehumanizing and heinous acts.”