WFB: Victims, Advocacy Groups Press Wyden to Lift Hold on Anti-Sex Trafficking Bill
More than 100 sex trafficking victims and advocacy groups are asking Sen. Ron Wyden (D., Ore.) to stop trying to block a bipartisan bill that would give families of victims and states the ability to sue websites that allow advertisements selling sex with minors on their platforms.
After the Commerce Committee unanimously passed the measure in mid-November, Wyden placed a hold on the measure, arguing that it could harm start-up Internet companies, the tech economy, and innovators.
Victims and their advocates sent Wyden a letter Wednesday, demanding that he remove the hold “immediately.”
“As survivors of sex trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation, we know the deep and profound harms caused by sex trafficking,” the victims and advocates wrote to Wyden. “We lead organizations that provide services and advocacy for exploited individuals, and continue to see first-hand the irreparable harms caused by online sex trafficking.”
Google has not said publicly whether it now supports the modified bill.
Sen. Kamala Harris, a Democrat from California, supported the bill only after the Internet Association announced its support.
Harris attempted to prosecute Backpage as California attorney general, and had asked Congress to go even further in changing federal law to allow such lawsuits to move forward.
The National Center on Sexual Exploitation criticized Harris’ reticence over the past few months on the bill and questioned whether Google and their donations to her were influencing her decision to stay on the sidelines for month until announcing her support last week.