Barletta Votes to Combat Online Sex Trafficking

Feb 27, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 1865, Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act.  The legislation would create a new federal anti-trafficking law to specifically target bad-actor websites that have engaged in the promotion or facilitation of prostitution, yet continue to escape criminal and civil liability.  The bill passed by a vote of 388 to 25.  Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) is a cosponsor and voted in favor of the legislation. 

“The sickening practice of human trafficking is a continued disgrace to our society,” Barletta said.  “Taking steps to combat those who use the internet to skirt around the law is a necessary step to hold human traffickers accountable.  Illegal immigration exacerbates this problem, which is why it is critical for the United States to reassert control over the porous southern and northern borders.  America must make it clear the only acceptable entry into our nation is through legal pathways.  Human traffickers prey on vulnerable migrants who risk their lives to pay smugglers for entry into the country.  By failing to enforce immigration law, Washington has failed these migrants and incentivizes them to put their lives at risk by entering illegally.  We must take a strong stand against human trafficking.  I am pleased the House passed this legislation; however, I will continue to demand the government fight illegal immigration to truly fight the root causes of human trafficking.”

Under current law, interactive computer services, such as Backpage, which provides a connection between users, are not treated as the publisher or speaker of information.  This immunity has allowed the facilitation of sex trafficking on such websites.  The bill provides aggravated penalties against individuals who promote the prostitution of five persons or more, or act in reckless disregard of conduct contributing to child sex trafficking.