March 16, 2018

Why the Senate Must Pass a Clean FOSTA-SESTA and Stand with Sex Trafficking Victims

The Senate is expected to vote early next week on H.R. 1865—legislation known as FOSTA-SESTA. This legislation restores civil rights of action to victims of sex trafficking and empowers states Attorneys General to prosecute the corporate entities and websites that facilitate online sex trafficking. The National Center on Sexual Exploitation calls on the Senate to pass a clean bill without any amendments.

It is absolutely crucial that the Senate pass FOSTA-SESTA without any amendments. It is no secret that even seemingly beneficial amendments to this legislation are intended to kill the bill. Entities in the tech sector and their allies in the Senate are attempting to undermine this legislation. If they succeed in amending FOSTA-SESTA, victims of online sex trafficking will be denied their legal right to have their day in court, and state prosecutors will restricted from bringing cases against corporations with business models based on sexual exploitation. In other words, lawlessness on the Internet will prevail.

Giving victims of online sex trafficking the ability to obtain justice from the facilitators of their abuse sue long overdue. Our U.S. Senators have an important choice to make: whether they side with the corporate kingpins of sex trafficking or with the victims of sex trafficking. I hope they choose the latter and ensure that victims of sexual trafficking are no longer sacrificed on the altar of corporate self-interest.

To learn more about the Communications Decency Act and its role in facilitating online sex trafficking See also: Does #MeToo Have the Power to Bring Down Corporatized Sex Trafficking?

Lisa Thompson

Lisa L. Thompson, Vice President of Research and Education, National Center on Sexual Exploitation

Vice President and Director of the NCOSE Research Institute

As Vice President of Research and Education for the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Lisa conducts policy analysis and advocacy, advances understanding of pornography’s public health harms, and liaises with public officials, advocates, and academics to advance strategies combating the web of sexual exploitation, including pornography, stripping, prostitution, sexual trafficking, sexual assault, and more.

Lisa joined NCOSE following two years with World Hope International where as Director of Anti-Trafficking, Lisa oversaw sex trafficking recovery programs in Cambodia, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Lisa is a contributing author to Hands that Heal: International Curriculum for Caregivers of Trafficking Survivors, as well as the book Global Perspectives on Prostitution and Sex Trafficking:  Europe Latin America, North America, and Global. Lisa also routinely speaks and trains on sexual exploitation topics for a diverse range of audiences. Lisa served for more than 12 years as the Liaison for the Abolition of Sexual Trafficking for The Salvation Army USA National Headquarters.

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