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WATCH: Sen. Ossoff Presses FBI Director to Protect Children from Online Predators

WATCH: Sen. Ossoff Presses FBI Director to Protect Children from Online Predators

This week, Sen. Ossoff introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen Federal protections against child sexual abuse

Washington, D.C. — Following disturbing warnings by the Atlanta FBI of a rise in sextortion cases targeting children in Georgia, U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff today pressed FBI Director Christopher Wray to protect children from online predators.

The Atlanta division of the FBI recently warned parents of a rise in “sextortion” cases, where adult predators pose as teenagers online to solicit explicit photos or videos from minors and later attempt to extort them for money.

This week, Sens. Ossoff and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bipartisan Preventing Child Sex Abuse Act of 2022 to strengthen Federal protections against the sexual abuse of children, including online exploitation.

In a U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearing today, Sen. Ossoff asked Director Wray for his commitment to continue prioritizing enforcement to protect children from online predators and sexual exploitation.

“Senator Grassley and I recently introduced legislation to strengthen federal protections of children subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation online. And in fact, the Atlanta Field Office recently issued a warning to Georgia parents and children about an increase in sextortion cases, where adult predators pose online, manipulate minors, into engaging in sexually explicit activity, or posting explicit photos, then extort those children or their families for money,” Sen. Ossoff said.

“I think you’re absolutely right, it’s an important priority, and it has only increased in importance. Sextortion, in particular, we’ve been mounting a very aggressive public awareness campaign, about what we’re seeing there,” FBI Director Wray told Sen. Ossoff. “One of the things that we’re seeing that’s particularly troubling, is an uptake on sextortion cases, not just against little girls, which has been happening for a long time, but against little boys as well.”

Click here to watch Sen. Ossoff’s line of questioning.

Please find a transcript below of Sen. Ossoff’s questions:

SEN. OSSOFF: “Senator Grassley and I recently introduced legislation to strengthen federal protections of children subjected to sexual abuse and exploitation online. And in fact, the Atlanta Field Office recently issued a warning to Georgia parents and children about an increase in sextortion cases, where adult predators pose online, manipulate minors, into engaging in sexually explicit activity, or posting explicit photos, then extort those children or their families for money. So, I want to ask you, first of all, will you commit to continue to prioritize the protection of children from online abuse at the FBI and tell us a bit about what you’re doing to that end?”

DIRECTOR WRAY: “I think you’re absolutely right, it’s an important priority, and it has only increased in importance. Sextortion, in particular, we’ve been mounting a very aggressive public awareness campaign, about what we’re seeing there. In fact, I, not that long ago, filmed a public service advertisement with the head of NCMEC, the National Center for Missing Exploited Children, trying to reach out to parents all over the country. One of the things that we’re seeing that’s particularly troubling, is an uptake on sextortion cases, not just against little girls, which has been happening for a long time, but against little boys as well. And we are seeing a certain number of these kids, male or female, turn to suicide, because they feel like there’s no way out. And so, it’s incredibly important that we, as a society, figure out a way to make sure that those kids know that there is an answer, that there are people that they can turn to, and that we will do everything we can to protect them.”

SEN. OSSOFF: “And you’ll commit to continuing those efforts?”

DIRECTOR WRAY: “Yes.”

SEN. OSSOFF: “I appreciate that, Director Wray.”

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