WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Institute Against Human Trafficking (USIAHT) today announced support for the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act (Act) to end the use of “warrant-proof” encrypted technology utilized by sex traffickers and buyers to conceal their criminal activities.

The Act was introduced yesterday in the U.S. Senate by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and U.S. Senators Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee), and will protect the Constitutional rights of all Americans while also providing law enforcement with the necessary tools to investigate and prosecute human trafficking operations and other criminal activities.

“The criminals who systematically buy and sell men, women, and children for sex have hidden for years behind the veil of privacy protection, withholding access to devices and technology from law enforcement agencies working to protect victims and bring traffickers to justice,” said USIAHT Chairman Kevin Malone. “Thanks to Chairman Graham and Senators Cotton and Blackburn, law enforcement will have access to the necessary tools to disrupt trafficking operations and provide justice for survivors of trafficking and child sexual exploitation.”

Passage of the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act would provide law enforcement with the necessary resources to effectively investigate and prosecute cases of human trafficking and child sexual exploitation, while also protecting the individual American citizen’s reasonable expectation of privacy.

“There are hundreds of thousands, and potentially over a million, victims trapped in the world of sex trafficking in the United States, and this legislation strikes the proper balance between legitmate law enforcement investigations that seek to protect survivors of trafficking while also protecting civil liberties,” added Malone.

This legislation mandates that service providers and device manufacturers assist, through probable cause warrants approved by a neutral magistrate to allow law enforcement to recover encrypted information stored on a device, operating system, remote computing service, or wire or electronic communication services.