Sexual violence against our children runs rampant on the internet and has only worsened during the COVID pandemic. Too often online video providers get away with posting images and videos that show illegal actions and violent sexual activity against our children. One specific website, OnlyFans, has been exposed by law enforcement for such content, known as Child Sexual Abuse Material, for not doing enough to stop this vile and disgusting material from appearing on their site. OnlyFans answer? Raise more capital to spread more smut.
Three months ago, I called on Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice to investigate OnlyFans regarding the prevalence of Child Sexual Abuse Material on its platform.
I, along with over 100 of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, asked Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice to ensure that OnlyFans is taking necessary steps to ensure children are not being exploited on their platform.
And for three months, Attorney General Garland and the Department of Justice have failed to respond. Silence.
Our request was simple: investigate the measures - or lack thereof - used to prevent, reduce, and respond to Child Sexual Abuse Material on its platform, examine the prevalence of missing or abducted children linked to content on OnlyFans, and look into the use of direct messaging on OnlyFans to solicit prostitution, specifically that involves minors.
Why isn’t the federal government being responsive to child victims of sex crimes? Why isn’t the Biden Administration taking the threat posed by OnlyFans seriously? In the time it will take them to act, how many more children will be exploited on OnlyFans? If the Federal Government would do anything, you’d think it would protect children from sexual predators.
This isn’t conjecture. Serious sex crimes, including human trafficking, selling Child Sexual Abuse Material, kidnapping, battery, and child rape, involving OnlyFans have occurred across the country this year.
I’m a mother and a grandmother, and I believe that we have a moral obligation to protect the most vulnerable. Frankly, I’m infuriated that the Department of Justice seems to be willing to turn a blind eye to the serious threat OnlyFans poses to minors.
I will not stop just because the Department of Justice is ignoring our plea to look into OnlyFans. I have also called on the Department of Treasury to conduct an immediate, thorough investigation into the so-called “assurances” OnlyFans secured from its financial partners.
You’ll remember OnlyFans announced a ban on sexually explicit material on its platform in August saying it needed to do so because banks would not do business with them due to the content being sold, but days later, OnlyFans changed its position, claiming it had “secured assurances” from its financial partners and no longer needed to address the content sold on its platform.
If an agreement was made between OnlyFans and financial institutions to shield businesses from scrutiny or liability for sex crimes involving OnlyFans, it would constitute a severe breach of public trust and a possible violation of federal anti-money laundering statutes and regulations. The Department of Treasury should absolutely investigate that. Profit should never trump the safety of our children.
Let me be clear: I will not stop. The threat posed by OnlyFans to our young people is too grave to ignore. So once again, I am calling on Attorney General Garland, the Department of Justice, the Department of Treasury, and the Biden Administration as a whole to take that threat seriously and investigate OnlyFans and stop allowing them to harm our children.
Rep. Ann Wagner is a Republican representing Missouri’s 2nd District. She serves as vice-ranking member on the House Financial Services and Foreign Affairs committees and is a member of the Congressional Human Trafficking Caucus.