Trinity Mount Ministries

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Controversial Sex-Trafficking Bill Pro and Con

Senate Passes SESTA, the Controversial Sex-Trafficking Bill

By Madeleine Aggeler

On Wednesday, the Senate voted to pass the Stop Enabling Sex-Trafficking Act, a controversial anti-trafficking bill that would make it easier for people to sue websites that “knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking.” The bill will now be sent to the White House for President Trump’s signature.

SESTA, or FOSTA (Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act) as it is sometimes known, amends Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which largely protects companies from being held liable for what people post online.

The measure, proposed by Senator Rob Portman, was drawn up following 2016 reports that adults and children were being trafficked on the classifieds website Though the bill is supposedly intended to fight online trafficking by enabling victims to sue websites, it has been widely opposed by sex workers — who say it will prevent them from being able to do their jobs safely and independently — and free-internet advocates who say it would restrict free speech online, and pose a threat to small internet companies who could now potentially be overwhelmed by lawsuits.

Here’s What’s Wrong With the So-Called Anti–Sex Trafficking Bill

by Amanda Arnold

A Senate vote is expected any day now on the Stop Enabling Sex Trafficking Act (SESTA), a bill that would clarify the country’s existing sex-trafficking laws and update Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, all to ostensibly protect sex-trafficking victims. While the bill has wide political support and a handful of celebrity endorsements, many sex workers and actual advocates for trafficking victims have spoken out against it, arguing that it will make vulnerable populations less safe.

Here’s what to know about SESTA:

What is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act?
In short, it’s a landmark piece of legislation that protects freedom of expression on the internet. As described by the ACLU: “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act immunizes websites from legal liability for the comments of their users … it defines Internet culture as we know it: It’s the reason why websites can offer platforms for critical and controversial speech without constantly worrying about getting sued.”

What exactly is SESTA?
In August 2017, Republican senator Rob Portman of Ohio introduced the first version of SESTA, which he designed to make it easier for plaintiffs and state attorney generals to sue Backpage and other websites that “knowingly assist, facilitate, or support sex trafficking.”


Sex Trafficking Bill

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