Power of FOSTA-SESTA Felt within 48 Hours of Senate Passage: Websites Move Swiftly to Shutter Prostitution Ads

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

Within 48 hours of the U.S. Senate’s passage of legislation combating online sex trafficking, several websites have shuttered their prostitution ads. The historic legislation passed the Senate in a landslide 97-2 vote on Wednesday. H.R. 1865 was a legislative package that combined the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA), sponsored by Rep. Ann Wagner, with an amendment incorporating reforms contained in S. 1693 the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA), sponsored by Senators Portman and Blumenthal. The legislative duo takes direct aim at websites that facilitate and profit from prostitution and sex trafficking by amending both the Communications Decency Act and Mann Act.

The handwriting is on the wall. Thanks to FOSTA-SESTA, it’s no longer business as usual for the kingpins of sex trafficking.

The swift actions taken by websites such as CraigslistRedditCityvibe, and Erotic Review to shut down their U.S. prostitution ads is indicative of the major role Internet companies play in promoting prostitution and sex trafficking. Moreover, it’s proof of FOSTA-SESTA’s power to hold them legally responsible for facilitating these criminal activities.

Prior to FOSTA-SESTA, websites were shielded from criminal liability even if they knowingly engaged in criminal conduct. This impunity from the law resulted in mass sexploitation. In Seattle alone, law enforcement officials have identified more than 130 websites where people—many of whom are sexually trafficked women and children—are bought and sold for sex.

As ‘businesses’ that help arrange prostitution transactions and which derive earnings from them, there can be no doubt that their executives and owners are the functional equivalents of sex traffickers (a.k.a. pimps). These businesses and their owners represent corporatized sex traffickers, who until last Wednesday were a protected class of criminals.

Now, even before the bill has been signed into law, we can see that the era of tolerance and immunity for online sexual exploitation and sex trafficking coming to a close. This is as great a moment in the fight to free our country from sexual exploitation, as the Emancipation Proclamation was in ending the scourge of slavery.

To learn more about the Communications Decency Act and its role in facilitating online sex trafficking visit endsexualexploitation.org/cda.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email

The Numbers


NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.


The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.


NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.



13yo girl was abused and exploited on Instagram in her own home. It could have been prevented.

Young boy was groomed for sex trafficking via an online video game

Carmen Caliente Explains How Grooming, Sex Trafficking Led to Life in Pornography

Sharing experiences may be a restorative and liberating process. This is a place for those who want to express their story.

Support Dignity

There are more ways that you can support dignity today, through an online gift, taking action, or joining our team.

Defend Human Dignity. Donate Now.

Defend Dignity.
Donate Now.