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Published On: Thu, Mar 1st, 2018

House passes human trafficking bill, targeting online sex trade, sites like backpage.com

The U.S. House of Representatives passed an historic legislative package to fight online sex trafficking, by a vote of 388 to 25. The legislation included H.R. 1865 the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, and an amendment sponsored by Rep. Mimi Walters which incorporated the vital reforms contained in S. 1693 the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), sponsored by Senators Portman, Blumenthal, and McCaskill.

Photo/Sawso.org

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation applauds the U.S. House of Representatives for passing this legislative package which, if also passed by the Senate, will restore rights to victims of sex trafficking and empower states Attorneys General to prosecute powerful sex traffickers.

“People are not objects to be sold online,” said Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

“We thank House Leadership, including Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, and Representatives Ann Wagner, Carolyn Maloney, Mimi Walters, Chris Smith, Joyce Beatty, Sheila Jackson Lee, and Martha Roby, as well as all the members of the House of Representatives, who cast their votes in support of this fundamental principle,” Thompson added. “Yesterday’s historic vote puts us on the cusp of restoring rights to victims of sex trafficking and empowering state Attorneys General to prosecute the kingpins of sex trafficking.”

“The National Center on Sexual Exploitation calls on the U.S. Senate to join with the U.S. House of Representatives, survivorsAttorneys General from 48 Statesa state legislaturecelebrities, and advocacy groups from across the country in standing with victims of sex trafficking. We hope they live up to their duty to protect the vulnerable.”

To learn more about the Communications Decency Act and its role in facilitating online sex trafficking visit endsexualexploitation.org/cda.
On the bill….
Some Internet groups, including Google, continue to oppose the law as dangerously broad and damaging to the landmark CDA, which they say enabled the growth of the Internet. The Electronic Frontier Foundation wrote that the new law would open websites to “increased criminal and civil liability at both the federal and state levels” and “would not require a platform to have knowledge that people are using it for sex trafficking purposes.”
That opposition is likely to continue in the Senate.
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