Washington D.C., Mar 10, 2018 / 04:00 am
The House of Representatives passed a bill this week that aims to combat online trafficking, targeting the sites that host ads relating to sex work. The bill has received a mixed reception, however, with some arguing it may be ineffective at achieving its goal.
The "Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act" would allow survivors of human trafficking to sue websites like Backpage, where people post advertisements for prostitution. Some of these ads, supporters of the bill claim, are actually for people who are victims of traffickers.
This new bill would amend the Communications Decency Act to allow lawsuits against websites like Backpage if they are found to be in violation of sex trafficking laws.
Knowingly promoting sex trafficking is currently a crime. Previously, however, the Communications Decency Act would have shielded the sites against these suits as websites were not considered to be liable for content posted by their users.