PRESS RELEASE: Blunt joins bipartisan group of Senators to introduce legislation holding Backpage accountable, ensure justice for victims of sex trafficking

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) today joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. The legislation would help provide justice for victims of sex trafficking and ensure that websites such as Backpage(.com), which knowingly facilitate sex trafficking, can be held liable and brought to justice.

“Websites that turn a profit off the sexual exploitation of trafficking victims should not be afforded protection under the Communications Decency Act,” said Blunt. “This bill would make narrow but critical changes to the law to better protect victims and hold perpetrators accountable. I urge all of my colleagues to support this bill and provide law enforcement an important tool to combat human trafficking.”

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act would clarify Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to ensure that websites that knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held liable so that victims can get justice. This narrowly-crafted legislation offers three reforms to help sex trafficking victims. The bipartisan bill would:

·         Allow victims of sex trafficking to seek justice against websites that knowingly facilitated the crimes against them;

·         Eliminate federal liability protections for websites that assist, support, or facilitate a violation of federal sex trafficking laws; and

·         Enable state law enforcement officials, not just the federal Department of Justice, to take action against individuals or businesses that violate federal sex trafficking laws.

The legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Rob Portman (Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), John McCain (Ariz.), Claire McCaskill (Mo.), John Cornyn (Texas), Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Bob Casey (Pa.) Susan Collins (Maine), Bob Corker (Tenn.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), James Lankford (Okla.), Mike Lee (Utah), Bill Nelson (Fla.) and Marco Rubio (Fla.).

A full summary of the bill can be found here, a summary on why the bill is necessary is here, a section by section here, and the text here.

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