Students Raise Their Voices for Online Safety

advocate for child safety onlineIn a significant advocacy effort, One More Child Anti-Trafficking Team Supervisor Olivia Littleton teamed up with Wired Human in Washington, D.C., to guide a group of 65 youth in advocating for crucial legislation for child safety online at a roundtable event with key senators.

The Roundtable and Kids Online Safety Act

The teenagers from various parts of the country who converged on Capitol Hill know firsthand the dangers of internet content. Many shared personal stories of experiencing harassment and grooming online, emphasizing the negative impact on mental health and self-perception.

Unfortunately, these stories echo the ones our trauma-informed counselors, advocates, and peer mentors hear from the trafficking survivors we support.

Leading this initiative are Senators Marsha Blackburn and Richard Blumenthal who are spearheading the Kids Online Safety Act. A bipartisan effort with 50 senators’ support aims to empower parents and teens with tools to protect their data. It offers the option to opt-out of algorithm-generated recommendations. Earlier this year, the Surgeon General’s advisory underscored the urgency of such legislative measures. It linked social media use to adverse mental outcomes among adolescents.

Littleton personally spoke with Senators Blackburn and Blumenthal along with other representatives to stress the importance of combating human trafficking. She discussed the new legislation and emphasized the significance of One More Child’s anti-trafficking initiatives.

Why Online Safety for Children Matters

Thankfully, online safety has gained national attention in recent years. According to the Human Trafficking Institute, defendants accused of criminal sex trafficking charges used the Internet as a primary method to solicit buyers in 83% of the new cases filed. 41% of victims in active sex trafficking cases are recruited online.

Cultivating Valuable Partnerships for Children

Partnerships between like-minded organizations promise to be impactful ones. One More Child has been providing life-changing services to vulnerable children – not unlike those who are drawn to traffickers online – since 1904. Last year, we directly served 265 survivors through 24/7 mobile teams, provided 1,000 meals, and impacted an additional 3,756 individuals through education, advocacy, and awareness efforts. Wired Human is a nonprofit organization serving schools to support parents and teachers in empowering youth to overcome destructive media habits.

One More Child is grateful that our country recognizes the importance of this work. We commend Wired Human, Olivia Littleton, and the 65 courageous students who demonstrated their dedication to a safer online environment for children. We look forward to continuing to address the critical issue of human sex trafficking and promote online safety.

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