The Stopping Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (SISE Act)

On May 27th, 2021, I introduced the Stopping Internet Sexual Exploitation Act (SISE Act).

  • The SISE Act would require those making or distributing pornographic material for a commercial purpose to verify the age and consent of each person depicted.
  • It also would prevent the distribution of pornographic material when consent has been withdrawn. Those who fail to verify age and consent face escalating penalties or jail time mirroring those in the mandatory child pornography reporting laws.

For years, pornographic platforms in Canada have published sexually explicit material without any requirement to verify the age or consent of those depicted in them. As a result, egregious videos of sex trafficking, child exploitation, and sexual assault have proliferated on Canadian pornography websites. Many of these videos have been monetized, bringing in massive profits.

Consent matters. If a website is going to profit from making or publishing pornographic content, the SISE Act ensures they must verify the age and consent of every individual in every video.

Once a video of exploitation has been uploaded, it is virtually impossible to eliminate. We have heard testimony from survivors whose lives have been shattered by the reckless actions of companies like MindGeek. Countless survivors have also been forced to relive their trauma and track down their own abusers in order to have content depicting their abuse removed.

We must do more to prevent these videos from ever reaching the internet in the first place. It is time to place the burden of due diligence and corporate responsibility on companies rather than survivors and law enforcement.

The SISE Act is supported by organizations across the country:

“It’s time for pornography websites to be held accountable. Content should not be hosted without proof that all the individuals depicted are adults and have consented to both the creation and distribution of the material on that platform.”
Defend Dignity

“Canadians must take a stand and insist that our country not be a safe haven for people to financially benefit from the recorded sexual victimization of anyone – especially youth. The SISE Act is a necessary step in ensuring that those who capitalize on filmed sex crimes are held accountable for the immense harm their actions cause.”
Andrea Heinz, Activist, Exited from the Commercial Sex Trade in Edmonton, Alberta

“ It is the role of Parliament to protect its citizens from predatory industries and the SISE Act provides important tools to help accomplish this.”
Megan Walker, Executive Director, London Abused Women’s Centre

“The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC) welcomes the proposed Bill “Stopping Internet Sexual Exploitation Act” that calls for amendments to the Criminal Code to protect those whose rights are brutally ignored. ”
Patricia Leson, President, National Council of Women of Canada

“There is not a more important piece of legislation to protect victims from criminal sexual exploitation online than mandatory age and consent verification for pornography production and distribution online.”
Laila Mickelwait, Founder, Traffickinghub movement and CEO, Justice Defense Fund

“The pornography industry systemically fails to verify age or consent – leading to horrific trauma for survivors of sex trafficking, child sexual abuse, and non-consensually shared/recorded intimate images as their sexual exploitation is viewed around the world. It is time for a paradigm shift, and for survivors to be heard. This bill is an important step in that direction.”
Dani Bianculli Pinter, Senior Legal Counsel, National Center on Sexual Exploitation