U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement after President Trump signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA), which includes the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017 (SESTA) and will give law enforcement and victims new tools to fight sex trafficking. This bipartisan legislation was also cosponsored in the Senate by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John McCain (R-AZ), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND).
“It is long past due that we update our laws to hold accountable those websites and technology providers that knowingly abet online sex trafficking,” said Sen. Cornyn. “I am grateful to the President and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this law to ensure trafficking victims get the justice they deserve.”
The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act will allow sex trafficking victims to get the justice they deserve by eliminating federal liability protections for websites that knowingly assist, support, or facilitate online sex trafficking, and allow state and local prosecutors to prosecute websites that violate federal sex trafficking laws. The bill was introduced after the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations’ two-year inquiry which culminated in a report entitled “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking,” which found that Backpage.com knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and children and then covered up evidence of these crimes in order to increase its own profits.
Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.