March 23, 2018

Baptist Press: Congress passes online, anti-trafficking bill

Congress has given overwhelming approval to legislation designed to thwart sex trafficking by holding accountable online sites that facilitate the crime.

The Senate adopted the bill in a 97-2 vote March 21, barely three weeks after the House of Representatives had passed it Feb. 27 in a 388-25 roll call. The bill will go to President Trump, who is expected to sign it.

The Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) would amend a 1996 anti-obscenity federal law to authorize the prosecution of websites that support the sale of people in the sex trade. The proposal -- which includes provisions from the Senate's Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) -- also would clarify trafficking victims have the right to bring civil action against such online sites as the classified advertising company

Donna Rice Hughes, president of the internet safety organization Enough Is Enough®, described the Senate vote as "a critical step towards draining the cyberswamp of commercial sexploitation." In a written statement, she described it as "nothing short of a David and Goliath victory against the multibillion dollar trafficking industry and the tech giants who lobbied against the bill's passage."

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