Lee Bill Protects Victims of Image-Based Sexual Abuse

September 30, 2022


Washington, D.C. – Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) introduced the PROTECT Act, which would require pornography sites to verify the age of all participants in pornographic images; require sites to obtain verified consent forms from individuals uploading content and those appearing in uploaded content; and mandate that websites quickly remove images upon receiving notice they uploaded without consent.


Sen. Lee’s bill comes as Utah law enforcement announced a 600% increase in cases involving child pornography and sexual contact with minors since 2020. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children reported a 35% increase in child sexual abuse material compared to 2020. Online pornography is one of the most lucrative and fastest growing industries yet has remained largely immune from regulation.


Of the bill, Sen. Lee said, “Pornography sites need to do more to prevent the exploitation that is occurring on their platforms and allow individuals to remove images shared without their consent. The PROTECT Act is a step in that direction.” 


The PROTECT Act has garnered the support of several organizations, in addition to hundreds of victims of image-based sexual abuse. The following victims met with Senator Lee and provided important feedback on the PROTECT Act. 


Of the bill, Survivor Katelynn Spencer said, “When I found out there have been two sexual videos of me posted on Pornhub and other pornography websites for the past 12 years, not once did I feel protected by the law. There are no laws in my state to protect survivors of image-based sexual abuse, but if this bill was and is put in place, it could help so many survivors like me.”


Of the bill, Survivor Uldouz Wallace said, “Technology is updating everyday but the laws haven’t changed. We need the Protect Act because it will protect the future of our children, women, men and ensure that the internet is a safer environment.”


Of the bill, Survivor Victoria Galy said, “Online criminal enterprises have been allowed to flourish unregulated for over a decade. Technology has surpassed the reach of our current laws. The internet and technology have become weapons in digital violence. We desperately need a federal law to protect victims against online image-based sexual abuse including edited and deepfake content. The Protect Act would provide this protection. Similar laws have already been passed in other countries and the U.S. is falling behind.”


For full text of the bill, click HERE.