National Scene

Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act

” The Telecommunications Act of 1996 was never intended to provide legal protection to websites that facilitate traffickers in advertising the sale of unlawful sex acts with sex trafficking victims,” therefore, the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (S 1693 and companion HR 1865) amend the 1996 law so as to allow the federal government to hold internet websites criminally liable for content including user posts.   This bill will be the first to allow the federal government to prosecute a website, individual or entity, which participates “in a venture” (knowingly) promoting sex trafficking of children or trafficking by force, fraud or coercion.

Naturally the intent is to handicap or debilitate the heinous crimes associated with sex trafficking and add protection for vulnerable women and children.

Will such a measure effectively remediate the crisis is to be determined.  What is certain, the bill sets legal precedent for the government to pursue and prosecute websites and content. How might this measure effect content censorship?  Likewise, there should be careful consideration for how measures such as these jeopardize the basic principles of a free and open internet.

The bill currently has 32 Senate co-sponsors to include PA Senator Bob Casey and 148 House co-sponsors to include PA representatives Smucker, Evans, Rothfus, Brady, Fitzpatrick, Kelly and Shuster.

Complicated Issues, Difficult Solutions.