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"A Victory for Survivors": Congress Passes Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill

Jennifer Wishon : Mar 22, 2018 : CBN News

With President Donald Trump's signature turning SESTA into law, police can go after website managers who knowingly facilitate the sale of sex slaves.

(Washington, DC)—[CBN News] At long last Congress has passed a bill to combat online sex trafficking now that the Senate has approved the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) 97 to 2. (Image: via CBN News)

"In an increasingly technology-driven world, it is important for us to continue working to stop the evils of sex and human trafficking. Proud to have helped pass SESTA legislation today," tweeted Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) after the vote.

Until now, websites behind the crime were unintentionally protected by the US Communications Decency Act (CDA).

As CBN News correspondent Heather Sells reported last month, "It's been a wide-open secret for years: pimps and traffickers using websites to advertise women and children for sale. Law enforcement has turned to these sites to find criminals and victims, but the prosecution of the internet companies has been largely out of the question."

With President Donald Trump's signature turning SESTA into law, police can go after website managers who knowingly facilitate the sale of sex slaves.

"Today's vote is a victory for trafficking survivors and a victory for our efforts to help stop the selling of women and children online," tweeted Sen. Rob Portman, one of the authors of the bill.

First daughter Ivanka Trump chimed in too, tweeting, "Thank you for your leadership in preventing these horrific crimes and ensuring justice for survivors."

The provision in CDA that created this loophole was intended to protect companies who acted in good faith to protect children from exploitation.

It passed in 1996 when the internet was still in its infancy, before lawmakers could have foreseen the internet would be used in this way.

Silicon Valley sent an army of lobbyists to the Hill in recent months to oppose the bill, arguing the current law promotes free speech and allows the internet to thrive.

However, supporters say SESTA is narrowly focused on bad actors.

"Hopefully it will send a signal to people that sex exploitation isn't the business to get in now," Lisa Thompson, vice president of research and education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, told CBN News.







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