News Releases

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Isakson Praises Senate Passage of Bill to Help Stop Modern-day Slavery

‘Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act’ helps protect victims

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today praised the Senate’s passage of bipartisan legislation he cosponsored to help stop the scourge of online sex trafficking and help victims of this crime by closing a loophole that has allowed operators of sex trafficking websites to evade legal repercussions for their actions. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act passed the Senate by a vote of 97-2. 

“I’m pleased that the Senate has done the right thing by overwhelmingly passing this bipartisan legislation to hold those who enable perpetrators of online sex trafficking accountable and help prevent this vile crime,” said Isakson. “This legislation helps further our efforts in the fight against modern-day slavery by strengthening the law while keeping the internet open. I hope the president will quickly sign this legislation to help hold perpetrators accountable and allow victims to seek justice.” 

The legislation, which was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, would ensure that operators of websites who knowingly facilitate sex trafficking can be held liable, and that victims can pursue legal recourse in their struggle for justice. 

Congress put in place criminal penalties to guard against sex trafficking in 2015 under the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, which Isakson supported. However, recent court rulings have made it clear that Congress must act to amend the Communications Decency Act of 1996 to hold owners and operators of Internet sites that facilitate sex trafficking civilly and criminally accountable for their crimes.  

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act is the result of a two-year inquiry led by Portman and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., that culminated in a report entitled, “Backpage.com’s Knowing Facilitation of Online Sex Trafficking.” This report found that Backpage.com knowingly facilitated criminal sex trafficking of vulnerable women and young girls and then covered up evidence of these crimes to increase its own profits. 

The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act was introduced by Portman and McCaskill in the Senate. It previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 388-25 on Feb. 27, 2018. 

Related:

Isakson Continues Fight Against Modern-Day Slavery

Senators Isakson, Perdue Praise Passage of Legislation to Help Victims of Human Trafficking

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