Wicker Votes for Landmark Legislation to Combat Online Sex Trafficking

Markeshia Ricks

Markeshia Ricks

(Sec. 4) The bill amends the federal criminal code to specify that the violation for benefiting from "participation in a venture" engaged in sex trafficking of children, or sex trafficking by force, fraud, or coercion, includes knowingly assisting, supporting, or facilitating the violation.

The Senate-passed bill would allow online platforms - everything from Facebook to Craigslist - to be held criminally and civilly liable if they knowingly facilitate sex trafficking.

"Sex trafficking is an unconscionable practice and it's happening closer to home than we even realize, Fischer said through a released statement". A Washington Post investigation previous year revealed that Backpage representatives actively solicited ads from prostitutes who advertised on other sites, and created ads for them on Backpage. Some companies and websites have been using loopholes in the law to facilitate and profit from these crimes. "I look forward to seeing President Trump sign this bill into law".

"Human slavery and trafficking are wicked to the core", Moore told Baptist Press in written comments.

Heitkamp helped write the bill with Sen. But Portman and others said it was created to kill the bill.

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John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a statement the legislation will hold websites accountable for engaging in prostitution and sex trafficking.

Linda Smith, founder of Shared Hope International, an anti-sex trafficking group, said she began providing research to Congress in 2007 about online sex trafficking, but the information wasn't taken seriously. Backpage.com, which has always been a hub for sex trafficking, is the impetus behind the law (Arc Technica). The migratory nature of this crime has been underscored by the lack of federal laws necessary to enable investigators and prosecutors to bring online child sex traffickers to justice. He proposed an amendment that would set up additional funds for the Justice Department to prosecute sex traffickers, but it was voted down. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) told a series of whoppers about USA sex trafficking, starting with an assertion that "there is a federal law that now permits trafficking online". He and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., were the only two lawmakers to vote against FOSTA. He said, however, the measure "will punch a hole in the legal framework of the open Internet" and "will prove to be ineffective, it will have harmful unintended consequences, and it could be ruled unconstitutional".

In addition, the subcommittee reported Backpage's growth in gross revenue from $5.3 million in 2008 to $135 million in 2014 "was attributable to "adult" advertisements". The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said that 73 percent of the 10,000 child sex trafficking reports it receives from the public each year involve ads on Backpage.

In the Southern Baptist Convention's most recent resolution opposing human trafficking, messengers to the 2013 meeting approved a proposal that included a call for Southern Baptists to support government policies to fight trafficking.

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