Trump signs law designed to fight sex trafficking
President Donald Trump has signed a new law aimed at curbing sex trafficking.
During a White House signing ceremony Wednesday, the president said the survivors "are very brave."
Among those at the ceremony were Trump's daughter, Ivanka, several members of Congress and families of victims.
The law passed Congress overwhelmingly. It weakens a legal shield for online services that host abusive content, including sex trafficking.
The protections made users of such sites as Facebook liable for the content. The legislation grew out of frustration that classified-ad sites can claim they aren't the publisher of questionable content but are merely transmitting posts by others.
Trump called the issue "a tough one," and handed one signing pen to the mother of a victim of the sex trade.
Attorney General Morrisey-Backed Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill Signed Into Law
CHARLESTON —West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey backed federal legislation aimed at combating online sex trafficking as part of his broader focus on better identifying and ending human trafficking in the Mountain State.
The Attorney General commended President Trump for Wednesday’s signing of the legislation – Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act of 2017 (FOSTA).
“This legislation promises to ensure citizens and children across the country are effectively protected from sex trafficking,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “It is my belief that states, localities and territories must retain authority to investigate and prosecute facilitators of child sex trafficking wherever they operate, including online.”
Attorney General Morrisey joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general last year in calling upon Congress to address concerns that the Communications Decency Act (CDA) was being used as a shield by those who profit from prostitution and crimes against children.
The intention of the CDA is to protect children from indecent material online. It was never intended to place facilitators of child sex trafficking outside the reach of law enforcement.
FOSTA amends the CDA to hold accountable online classified ad sites that promote and profit from human trafficking.
FOSTA enables prosecution of such websites, themselves. In particular, sites that knowingly feature sex ads for trafficked — and frequently, underage — persons can now be prosecuted due to reforms brought by FOSTA.
In some cases, courts had previously interpreted certain provisions of the CDA to provide immunity from state prosecution to sites such as the now shuttered Backpage.com.
Human trafficking is defined as commercial sex or labor that is induced by force, fraud or coercion. It is considered the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world today, second only to drug trafficking according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The West Virginia Attorney General’s Office is dedicated to fighting human trafficking and actively offers training to law enforcement officers and others on the subject. West Virginia’s increased rate of drug addiction, poverty and its large number of children in foster care make the state especially susceptible to human trafficking.