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SESTA law shuts down sex-trafficking sites online

Apr 09, 2018

Finally, we have a president that is leading the fight against sex-trafficking. A previous law passed in 1996 gave many sex-trafficking websites “immunity from prosecution.”

The Netflix movie “I am Jane Doe” focused on the Backpage website, which receives 99% of its income from sex ads and facilitates thousands of daily ads for male and female prostitutes, as well as children being trafficked by adults. The movie made clear that section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) from 1996 gave exploitative websites like Backpage and others immunity from prosecution….

According to the International Labor Organization, the sex-trafficking industry claims 4.5 million victims worldwide. In the U.S., the $32 billion per year industry continues to increase in all 50 states. Currently, human trafficking has exceeded illegal sale of arms and, according to estimates, could surpass illegal drug sales in the next few years.

While an established number for victims of sex trafficking in the U.S. is difficult to measure, some assert that the number of trafficked children may be as high as 200,000 per year. Some 70% of survivors claim that they were advertised online at some point during their trafficking experience. Pimps and traffickers advertise in online classified ads with pictures and descriptions of victims, which are often children ages 12-17, a heartbreaking statistic….

As a result of the impending law, several online trafficking websites have already shut down. Craigslist removed its “Personals” section that was used for trafficking. The Erotic Review removed its prostitution ads. Reddit removed its “Hookers” forum webpage and instituted policies banning the sale of sexual acts and drugs. Cityvibe has shut down. Microsoft plans to issue new Terms of Service, taking effect May 1, urging users not use their platforms (including Skype and Xbox) to share pornography or criminal acts.


This is just the current step in Trump’s campaign to shut down the sex-trafficking industry. This is what has won Roseanne Barr’s admiration. Of course, Trump’s policy can be contrasted to that of previous administrations, which either did nothing or worked hard to protect the rights of sex-traffickers.

These new laws, no doubt, will be followed by some high-profile arrests.

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Category: In The News
Blog Author: Dr. Stephen Jones