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Trump signs bill cracking down on websites that help sex traffickers

Claire Chretien Claire Chretien Follow Claire
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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – President Trump signed an anti-human trafficking bill into law today that cracks down on websites that enable prostitution and sex-trafficking.

The law is called “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (usually abbreviated as FOSTA). Anti-sexual exploitation groups, longtime advocates for this legislation, have received a handful of victories over the past two weeks.

“Human trafficking is a modern form of the oldest and most barbaric type of exploitation,” said Trump. “It has no place in our world.”

 “The President is standing up to Silicon Valley and standing with victims of abuse. FOSTA is the biggest anti-sex trafficking bill that has been signed into law since The Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2003,” said Penny Nance, President of Concerned Women for America. “This bill closes the loophole that allowed bad actor websites to not only knowingly facilitate prostitution and sex trafficking, but also to profit from the ads selling women and children against their will.”

On April 7, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) seized backpage.com, which essentially functioned as a Craigslist for sex. The DOJ seized it for “knowingly facilitating” and covering up prostitution and child sex trafficking. This happened during the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitations’s Global Summit, causing conference attendees and pro-human dignity leaders to celebrate.

The pro-abortion Women’s March mourned the seizure of the site, calling it an “absolute crisis for sex workers who rely on the site to safely get in touch with clients.”

“Sex workers rights are women’s rights,” the radical feminist group tweeted.

Former sex trafficking victims have explained that their abusers sold them on backpage.com. The website and its founders’ shady operations – both were former owners of Village Voice Media in New York and were involved in starting or operating alternative media companies – are explored in detail in the documentary I am Jane Doe, which is available on Netflix.

The founder of backpage.com, Michael Lacey, was charged April 7 in a “93-count indictment” related to a federal human trafficking investigation. Six other backpage.com executives were arrested as well. Their company raked in millions charging people to post “personal” classified ads and is accused of purposefully helping pimps and traffickers use vague language in the ads to avoid being too obvious about the sale of sex, including with minors.

The indictment alleges “conspiracy, facilitating prostitution and money laundering,” the Washington Post reported. “The indictment accuses Backpage of facilitating prostitution committed by those posting ads on the site, specifically citing 17 victims trafficked on Backpage, some as young as 14. Authorities also allege the company laundered some of the estimated $500 million in prostitution-related revenue the site had generated since its launch in 2004.”

“This is a huge victory for all the victims who have been impacted by the compliance, negligence and the intentional exploitation by websites like backpage.com that allowed them to be sold and repeatedly raped,” said Nance. “President Trump signed this bill today, but the reality is that even before the bill was signed, it was driving change.”

“Through strong enforcement of FOSTA, we pray that not one more child be bought and sold for sex on the net,” said Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, Legal Advisor for The Catholic Association. “Child predators have lost their online safe haven.”

As Trump signed the bill, he told sex trafficking survivors and the mother of a 16-year-old who was sold on backpage.com and eventually killed, “You have endured what no person on earth should have to endure.” 

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