Bill would let sex traf­fic vic­tims sue web­sites

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - — Stephen Dinan

Se­na­tors in­tro­duced leg­is­la­tion Tues­day that would let sex traf­fick­ing vic­tims sue web­sites they blame for help­ing their traf­fick­ers, and would free fed­eral, state and lo­cal law en­force­ment to go af­ter them more freely.

The goal is to pre­vent a re­peat of the scan­dal in­volv­ing Back­page.com — one of the in­ter­net’s largest pur­vey­ors of adult ser­vices — which now stands ac­cused of know­ingly let­ting it­self be used for sex traf­fick­ing of chil­dren.

Back­page had claimed it was the equiv­a­lent of a clas­si­fied ads sec­tion in a news­pa­per, run­ning oth­ers’ advertising but not in­volved in the ac­tual ser­vices be­ing sold. The com­pany claimed pro­tec­tions un­der the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions De­cency Act.

But Sen. Rob Port­man and nearly two dozen other se­na­tors are try­ing to change that.

“For too long, courts around the coun­try have ruled that Back­page can con­tinue to fa­cil­i­tate il­le­gal sex traf­fick­ing on­line with no reper­cus­sions,” the Ohio Repub­li­can said.

Back­page faces crim­i­nal charges in Cal­i­for­nia, sev­eral fed­eral law­suits and the af­ter­math of the long

Se­nate in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which pried tens of thou­sands of pages of doc­u­ments from the se­cre­tive com­pany.

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