April 11, 2018

President Trump Signs Historic "Fight Online Sex Trafficking" Act

Statement by Donna Rice Hughes, CEO and President, Enough Is Enough® on the Signing of H.R. 1865, The Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act

Great Falls, VA. – Today’s signing of H.R.1865, the Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA) by President Trump represents a titanic victory for sex trafficking survivors, law enforcement, and anti-trafficking advocates. FOSTA effectively signals the draining of the cyber-swamp of commercial sexploitation by websites who for years have put profit over human dignity and viewed women and children as dollar signs, not as human beings. 

Enough Is Enough®® (EIE) has been fighting alongside other advocates, survivors and law enforcement to hold websites accountable who put profit over human dignity.

This law fulfills a promise by candidate Trump, who in 2016 signed EIE’s Children’s Internet Safety Presidential Pledge in which he promised to advance public policies and provide law enforcement with the resources and tools needed to investigate and prosecute Internet crimes involving the sexual exploitation of children. The Pledge also called out the need for Congress to amend section #230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) which is exactly what FOSTA accomplished.

This landmark legislation was nothing short of a David and Goliath victory against the multi-billion dollar trafficking industry and the tech giants who lobbied against the bill’s passage. Within hours of the Senate passing FOSTA, Craigslist removed its "Personals" section, and other sites like Reddit and Erotic Review followed suit. The biggest domino, Backpage--whom prosecutors have referred to as an “online brothel” hosting a majority of the ads enabling sex trafficking--fell last Friday when the website was seized by federal law enforcement agencies.

Historically, websites who have knowingly facilitated the sale of women and children for sex have been shielded by the unintended consequences of section #230 of the CDA, which has been used as a Trojan horse for blanket immunity from irresponsible and even criminal actions. Survivors and state prosecutors will now have the legal tools to successfully pursue civil and criminal actions against these websites who have knowingly allowed for the buying and selling of women and children for sex online while making millions of dollars in profits.

Congress, the White House, and the Judiciary working together to make laws, update laws, uphold the rule of law and sign good legislation into law, it’s a beautiful thing…..for the sake of our citizens and America. Congratulations everyone!