Ending sex trafficking tomorrow requires preventing child abuse today

Congress and Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), in particular, want to make it easier to go after human traffickers who engage in illegal activities online using the “ruthless efficiency of the internet.” Sen. Portman is rightfully addressing the current crisis of online sex trafficking, and that’s an important move in the right direction. But until we address the root cause, the legislation signed into law Wednesday is simply a small step in protecting women and children.

Sen. Portman’s Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) aims to revoke immunity currently granted to online websites such as Backpage.com where human trafficking allegedly takes place. Backpage.com was seized last weekby federal authorizes, but immunity for these sites is protected under the Communications Decency Act (CDA). Congress was urged to amend the CDA when a California court dismissed pimping charges against Backpage.com in a case just last year. Sen. Portman’s bill, now law, seeks to do just that to, in his words, “fix this injustice.”

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