Digital platforms have made it easier to conceal trafficking and other illegal activities that harm children, and are challenging the ability of law enforcement to keep up. Traffickers adapt to the latest technology to perpetrate crimes against children. Building a better Internet means being aware of this abuse, and supporting users who might be at risk.
The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (S. 1693), a bipartisan piece of legislation in the U.S. Congress, would eliminate the provision that shields operators of websites from being held liable for knowingly allowing or promoting human trafficking. It would also allow state prosecutors — not just federal law enforcement — to take action against individuals and businesses that use websites to violate federal human trafficking laws.
At UNICEF USA, we are defenders of child rights, and we understand that free speech and access to a free and open Internet are very important for children and young people. But we also recognize our responsibility to protect children from violence, exploitation, and abuse. Preeminent anti-trafficking and law enforcement organizations believe that this legislation is necessary to help protect children.
Please join us by urging your federal legislators to cosponsor this important legislation and help end online child sex trafficking.
Dear Member of Congress:
I am writing to ask you to protect children by cosponsoring legislation that fights online child sex trafficking.
Some "interactive computer service providers," such as Backpage, have knowingly promoted and facilitated child sex trafficking and abuse through online ads, with no legal repercussions. Multiple courts have ruled that operators of Backpage and other such sites cannot be held liable for the actions of their users due to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act – even when the operators knew or participated in child sex advertising.
Bipartisan legislators want to close that loophole. The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (S. 1693) would help hold operators who knowingly facilitate child exploitation accountable, while protecting those who work to ensure child safety online. This bill gives human trafficking survivors the ability to seek the justice they deserve.
I strongly urge you to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation, and advocate for its immediate passage. Together, we can ensure that every child has the chance to live a life free from exploitation.
Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to your response.
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