New Jersey is Latest State to Address Technology-Facilitated Sexual Extortion
This week, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed a bill referred to as S653/A343 into law, officially making sexual extortion a crime in the state. With this new law New Jersey became the 18th state (plus Washington DC) since 2017 to close a loophole created by the fact that our use of technology has outpaced our laws. Sexual extortion—coercing someone to engage in sexual acts or to create or share sexual images—is not a new form of abuse. But it is one that proliferated as people began to integrate the internet and social media into their daily lives and abusers found they could easily target victims shielded behind a device.
In 2016 Legal Momentum, with partners Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffe LLP and the Thomson Reuters Foundation, issued “A Call to Action: Ending “Sextortion” in the Digital Age” raising awareness of this form of gender-based violence, the rapid rise and manner in which perpetrators were utilizing technology to exploit victims, and some of the ways lawmakers could close loopholes in our laws that leave survivors with no way to seek accountability. Since 2017 we have supported at least 19 bills that aim to update state laws to do just that. We’re thrilled that the momentum to address this issue continues.
For more information about our work on sextortion, visit our website here.